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The Road to Self Discovery PDF Print E-mail

Article by Laura McDermid

I am not ashamed to admit that I have been a spiritual seeker for many years. I have been exposed to many incredible teachings and teachers, but unfortunately a lot of it was just spiritual porn. I too was waiting for some cosmic orgasm which was always just out of my reach. As mystical as the unicorn, this eternal pursuit of enlightenment is often carefully set up by crafty "guru's" who's intentions are to keep you ignorant, ever dependent on the meager scraps they discriminately dole out to the desperate students who are left feeling empty, bereft and broken as though it is somehow THEIR fault that they failed. You just weren't good enough, didn't try hard enough or couldn't rid your mind of the thoughts while you were sitting twisted like a pretzel whilst chanting OM.

Before I get burnt at the stake, I was one of these naive people who were in awe of the Siddhi's as they closed the door of the 'Flying Room' behind them preparing to levitate with other like-minded enlightened beings, whilst we sat agonizingly in lotus pose for hours trying to get 'it'. For 'it' was the reserve of a chosen few who had paid their dues and had finally been bestowed with  status and acknowledged by the Powers That Be.

I have attended 'silent' retreats where emaciated lentil-munching waifs swathed in diaphanous white robes walk around with beatific smiles plastered on their faces whilst their eyes belie what they're really thinking - 'I am better than you'. You are given the impression that you are lucky to be in the same room as them considering that you're just a sniveling, bottom-dwelling, unenlightened cretin like Golum from The Lord of The Rings. They generally go by the name of Moon Lily or Standing Deer and should you be unfortunate enough to ask them a question, they'll cast you a look that's usually reserved for the mentally challenged or the homeless.

Unfortunately, this spiritual arrogance is rife, in fact my experience has shown that the people who claim to be the most enlightened are often the biggest jerk-offs. I had a friend who belonged to a cult. The leader of this cult claimed to have created this reality whilst casually standing on the edge of an abyss. How fortunate we are that he humbled himself to live amongst us mere mortals instead of observing us from his throne in the sky. The cult leader used to whisk his minions away to secret locations where they were made to strip down to their underwear whilst standing in front of a crowd in order to eliminate the EGO. My friend was often in tears as a result of the humiliation and constant belittling that they were subjected to.

I have another friend who belonged to a cult called "end point" (or something as ridiculous). For a generous monthly contribution, this cult leader encouraged his students to reside in his commune where he could exert maximum brainwashing and control. He was even kind enough to have carnal relations with a few chosen acolytes in order to help them raise the kundalini. What an honour to be chosen for this special task, pity the women who were overlooked, I guess they just weren't good enough.

And then of course there are all the conspiracy theories of which there are too many to mention. I'm particularly fascinated by the whiskey swilling, chain-smoking, Botox-lipped woman who claims to channel some ancient alien who seems to know better about human lives than we do. One of my favourites is The Secret. The CD's and books can be found in the 'self-help' section of  most book stores. These will teach you how to attract everything that you desire. Your dream house, dream car and lots of money (this assuming that you don't already work for the South African government). However, heaven help you if you are robbed or are involved in an accident as this indicates that YOU have invited this trauma into your life. Naughty, naughty, best you get back to your vision board!

Yup, been there, got the ochre robe. And then a few years ago, like a breath of fresh air, James (finally, a normal name) came into my life. A silver-maned, flip-flop wearing man who bought with him a wicked sense of humour and a wealth of information and experience. And the best of all is that I didn't have to bankrupt myself or have sex with him in order for him to graciously share his knowledge, which is not some closely guarded secret reserved for a few chosen ones. The information he gave was simple, yet profound, ancient yet as relevant today as it was 5000 years ago. The things I enjoy most about these teachings is that it involves a lot of intellectual contemplation which particulary suits those who have a burning desire for the TRUTH.

Ultimately, I don't regret the trajectory that my spiritual path has taken. Had I been exposed to James' teachings 20 years ago, I wouldn't have been ready. Plus I really enjoyed some of the classes and books, it helped to cultivate an open mind and to suspend my disbelief. Magic is a part of life and I have had many mystical experiences which allowed me a glimpse through the veil between this world and the next. What James' teachings have clarified for me is that NO experience can ever be taken for enlightenment, no matter how profound, as they are all temporary and transitory. So if you'd like to learn how to distinguish between what's real and what is illusion, then Vedanta is the teaching for you!