Now that you’ve awakened, do you find that people are having spiritual experiences in your presence?
After spiritual awakening, people may be affected by your energy field in unexpected ways. You become a conduit of some kind of primordial energy flow. You’re not intentionally doing anything, but you know this energy is pouring through you. You can feel it. People can feel it.
Can people have spiritual experiences by being in the presence of an enlightened person?
There is a long tradition of seeking out the darshan of a guru, enlightened being, or a person of exceptional spiritual attainment. People will spend their life savings, travel vast distances, queue for long periods just to gain admittance to the presence of such a being. There is a woman who hugs hundreds of people in a sitting, another man who gazes for a few seconds into the eyes of hundreds of people in one sitting. There are much sought after lamas and holy men in every religious tradition. They are not sought for their words of wisdom per se, but rather for the direct transference of their rays of enlightenment.
And they don’t apparently even have to be alive to have a profound impact on you. People report having spiritual experiences by looking into the eyes of a photograph of a dead Indian guru.
Do I doubt that people have experiences? No. But here is something to consider. If you do research into cults, you’ll find that cult members describe nearly identical feelings and experiences. They describe a similar powerful energy pulsing through their cult leader. They describe feelings of expansiveness, oneness, receiving grace, instant healing from past traumas, freedom from their old narratives of self, ecstasy, purification, breakthrough. Even after they leave the cult, the breakthroughs, the spiritual experiences are still held to be valid, to stand on their own merit even after a person sees the cult for what it is and rejects it.
I suspect that anyone who has this kind of heightened energy signature will stir up the energy of the people around them, whether they are a saint or just a very charismatic person with a powerful magnetic energy field.
While people living in an awakened state likely have this powerful energy, it does not follow that everyone who has this powerful energy is spiritually awakened, or even a good and safe person to be around. And yet, people have profound spiritual experiences in the presence of both the saint and the cult leader. They believe that having spiritual experiences in the presence of a person validates or even accredits the spiritual attainment of the source.
The addictive nature of spiritual experiences
When you are truly healed of an ailment, you don’t keep going to the doctor, taking pills, researching medical information online.
I broke several fingers a few years ago and did a lot of research on why that might have happened, what supplements would promote bone healing and bought several kinds of splints online to see which would be most practical and comfortable to use. Once I was healed, I no longer did these things. I was done and there was no longer any need. Awakening is like being healed. You are done, you get up and move on. People who can actually confer enlightenment do not have repeat customers.
Being a spiritual seeker is a bit like having a chronic illness. You keep looking for the cure, sometimes in the most unlikely places. You find some pills that seem to give you relief for a while, but they don’t cure you. Inevitably you develop a tolerance for them and have to take more and more. Or you find some practitioner, like a chiropractor, who provides a window of relief, but you have to keep coming back to be adjusted. These windows of relief give you a glimpse of what it would be like, what life would be like, to be cured.
People are confused and believe that awakening is the natural end result of acquiring more and more of these peak moments of clarity or oneness or bliss. They chase the promise of having spiritual experiences all over the globe, at great cost. They accumulate initiations, empowerments, guru paraphernalia, go to retreat after retreat, get divine hugs, receive the divine gaze, chant the divine mantra. Indeed, the experiences can feel amazing, life changing, cathartic. But spiritual experiences are not the same as enlightenment, and enlightenment is not the sum or tally of your spiritual experiences. Spiritual experiences are not the building blocks of enlightenment.
I was never a spiritual seeker, but after I awakened, I got to know a lot about this complex through other people close to me. My late husband, who never evinced any real interest in a spiritual path suddenly became a seeker. He did the “circuit” that seems to magnetize white people: various ashrams, temples and holy cities in India; Dharamsala; monastery retreats in Nepal; vipassana retreats of increasing length; 6 month stays at Bon Tibetan monasteries and the like. Through him I got to know other seekers on the circuit and their jargon.
They evaluated each new guru, lama, holy man by how much “juice” he had. Some had no juice, others had some juice, and a very few had lots of juice. I was told I had lots of juice, though I was joined by one other Dzogchen master on this exalted pedestal of juiciness. I guess it was a tie.
People wore their uniform of the red puja string and their mala. They bathed in sacred rivers. They became the devotees of certain juicy holy men, or they went from one to the next.
I’m not suggesting that all spiritual seekers are this extreme. And some spiritual seekers do not chase after spiritual experiences at all. But those who do have very much the same underlying feel about them.
Want some of my juice?
Some of the things that people attribute to me: I come to them in their dreams and give them spiritual experiences; people experience emotional release; people go into trance; the room disappears and all they see are my eyes floating before them; they become temporarily inedic; they experience primordial, impersonal love; some feel compelled to make spontaneous confessions that have nothing to do with me; temporary release from selfhood; time dilation; alteration of sensory perception; so called Kundalini stirring.
There is probably more, but this is what I could get off the top of my head. I did not “do” anything to anyone on purpose. People just believe these things emanate from me, that I am the source of these phenomena. Notice that I didn’t include enlightenment. Whatever fascinating and unlikely things happen “in my presence,” enlightenment is not one of them.
People seeking experiences have sidled right up to the juice bar. You may find that people feel really calm and peaceful and whole when they are with you. But when they are on their own it wears off and they need to come back to top up. Some of you will decide not to concern yourself with it. This energy flows through you and you don’t feel the need to be involved in any way with how it is perceived or acted upon by others. Some of you will look around to find that you are attracting people with vampiric natures and seek to limit either your contact with people or to find a way to turn off the flow or cloak it so that it doesn’t attract this kind of attention.
This is addressed to you, the awakened. Especially the newly awakened. I felt very naked and vulnerable after waking up. I had always had good boundaries and a healthy dose of skepticism and innate pragmatism, but those were gone suddenly and I was open and so innocent in a way. Everyone who appeared before me felt like my very own self, I deeply felt the need, the suffering of people around me, and I felt the relief they felt when they were held in my tractor beam, so to speak. Seeing people calm and at peace, even momentarily, seemed an unqualified improvement, a definite win.
But people are complicated and convoluted and tangled up, and the AI program that holds the world in a state of stupor diverts that experience of calm and peace into the addiction loop, or some other loop. And the next thing you know there are hundreds of people queuing around the block for the chance to look into your eyes.
How are you dealing with this? For me it is always evolving, a work in progress. I am much more aware now of how I affect people and how quickly things can spiral into weirdness. I cloak my energy as much as possible, and if anyone strays even a step over the line, I put a stop to it. I’ve found that otherwise the natural course is usually for them to gain momentum faster than I would have imagined. Also, all the vampiric people from the early days are no longer in my life at all, so in a sense I was able to start over completely. I don’t talk directly about my own spirituality to anyone, so at least no one is predisposed to attribute their unusual experiences to me.
Have any of you seen the movie Kumare? If you haven’t, I recommend it. It’s funny, but also very eye opening. There is also a documentary series coming out soon called How I Started a Cult. It’s about Andrew Cohen and his followers. His story is a very interesting one, not in a black and white sort of way, either. There is much there to learn and consider.
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