Is it possible for an enlightened person to do bad things?
There’s a scandal unfolding around a spiritual teacher. People who once revered him are now accusing him of being a serial scammer, a con artist, hiding from the law and…more. I’m not interested in the sordid details of this particular drama, but I wanted to address the generally held belief that once you cross the threshold of enlightenment, you are inherently decent and trustworthy. This is bollocks. This is Disney.
Enlightenment has naught to do with morality or ethical concerns. Nothing. Moreover, unless you are already an extremely grounded and wise person, enlightenment can make you a charismatic monster, totally detached from true empathy with other people.
I’m not going to go into detail here about why this is the case, perhaps this will be a subject for later if warranted. But obviously these types will naturally gravitate toward gathering followers.
Another, less dramatic, effect is that the energy of enlightenment (especially at first) can augment any small speck, any dirty little smear, left over on your Personal Lens. Everything else has been cleared, except this tiny little speck, but because the energy coming through you is so heightened and so many octaves higher (and because you don’t know how to handle your /shit/), this becomes a huge distortion. The manifestation of this speck becomes The Everything.
There is the aspect of awakening that is too amazing to even try to explain, but there are dangers and pitfalls. That’s why the idea that enlightenment is some kind of cure for your personality defects or your mental or emotional instability is just nuts, at least to those of us who have actually been though it and come out the other side.
It’s a really good idea to get your mental/emotional house in order, gain some wisdom, decency and in general learn to master your so called demons ahead of the Big Event. Learn to control yourself. Learn to be unflinchingly and uncompromisingly honest with yourself. Be a professional human, be human like it matters…not like it’s a weekend hobby.
I have no idea how a person who is not enlightened can tell for certain if another person is enlightened. But let’s say that you could somehow do that. You’ve got your Enlightened Radar going. Now what?
First of all, what exactly do you believe an enlightened person can give you? Seriously and thoroughly and honestly investigate your answer here. What do you believe, and what is that belief based upon?
Secondly, how do you determine if you trust a teacher? If it’s just because they passed your Enlightenment Radar test, please think again. Trust must be developed and maintained. You cannot trust a person just by reading their books or seeing how they are on videos or in talks. That’s certainly a pre-stage of trust building, but it’s not even close to what’s needed.
You need to have a relationship with a person, interact with them in some meaningful way, to develop trust. They might not be warm and fuzzy. God knows that enlightenment can burn out a lot of that affect, and also leave people with little patience to deal with Sleepwalkers.
A teacher might be curt with you, or even stern, but do they ultimately always come from a place of goodwill? It’s not about love or kindness. If I’m coming from a place of goodwill toward you…even if I need to say “no” or insist on a boundary, even if I need to give you some straight talk that doesn’t feel good to hear…if I’m in a place of goodwill, I’m not going to abuse you. So forget about kindness. It’s nice and it feels good, but really you’re looking for goodwill.
Never trust anyone implicitly. Let’s say we’ve worked together for a while and I have been really consistent in meeting you with goodwill. Then suddenly things change. A little here and there. Manipulation. Power tripping. Whatever. Never smother your intuition, your ability to recognize red flags, no matter how much good history you have with a teacher (or anyone, for that matter).
Develop your own wisdom and inner guidance. Even if it is wrong sometimes, you can and should learn from that. The worst thing you can do is outsource your wisdom to another person.
Consider never having spiritual teachers, ever. Just putting yourself in that teacher/student paradigm initiates juvenile power dynamics. Consider having a companion, who walks with you sometimes and shares insights, experiences and observations.
And in the end, please understand that you find your level. If you’ve been taken in by some less than scrupulous person, it provides a lot of valuable information about you, not them. When a guru goes through some public scandal, there is a huge outcry of victim hood by the students. Unless you were a minor, or were forcibly harmed, you are not a victim. The big story is not all the sordid details about how immoral the teacher is…the story is about you, your part, the mechanics of what brought you to this place. Mine that like it’s a deep vein of gold. Don’t stop until that vein is exhausted.
It’s natural to be aghast for a while, natural to pore through the details for a while, but if you stay there, horrified and indignant, caught up in the drama, getting perhaps even more involved, focusing on the faults of the teacher, you will miss out on the really valuable information, which is always and ever about you…not someone else. It’s in here, not out there.
And please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here. I’m NOT saying teachers are not responsible for their behavior. They absolutely are. I’m saying that once you discover malfeasance, make a clean and absolute break.
People, it’s a jungle out there! Please keep your wits about you, always. Keep nurturing your wisdom and intuition. Always be your own best friend, guardian and advocate. And don’t believe the myth that enlightened people can’t hurt you.