Well, as usual Jeff Wells breaks it open again. In this case it’s scientology and The Firm . He dragged up a lot of stuff I had half forgotten and frankly I don’t need to plumb for myself all that much. You only need to read so much to see where L. Ron was coming from pretty clearly.
and you know what strikes me about these guys? how grounded in the flesh they are. Not just the corporeal manifestation of the body, but the physical meat of the body, in it’s desires, it’s sickenesses, it’s responses. There also seems a very strong emphasis on asserting your personal will, even in a case where they totally destroy your ability to use it. I’m struck by how totally a non-physical subjective interior dimension is cut out of things like scientology. Your ‘spiritual progress’ is measured off of instuments like the e-meter. Your success in the path is gauged in terms of your worldly prosperity, your physical health, so on, so forth. Your autonomous will and power in the world is paramount to the point that you might be told you’re some godlike intelligence with vast powers, but still locked into this reality of flesh and bodies. But let’s be clear here: in cases like this your will is only as autonomous and liberated as the leader-guy tells you it is. He or she is the arbiter of the standard which measures your so-called free will.
Now, in certain segments of guru yoga or master relationships, it is a method to transfer all one’s authority to the master, as an intermediary to surrender one’s ego to the infinite. The success and efficacy of this practice depends on two things: one that you have a very good idea of what the fuck you’re doing when you surrender to the master, and two, that the master be as impecable in his own attainment as possible. It’s a trust thing and it’s supposed to be broached carefully. Buddhism for example never seeks out converts, and the tradional opening to a master student relationship is a long period of feeling each other out. No harassing phone calls or hard sells here.
Now I hope I don’t have to go into how far away the tactics I describe above are from the ideal of jesus, or the buddha, hermeticism or most strands of gnosticism. the farthest groups like this might go is to say that your spiritual progresss might be reflected in your life circumstances or your physical body, or the power to exert your will. But at the end of the day it’s not important, because you are so much more than your physical body, the power of your will is the subtlest trap to keep you tied to your ego. It’s nice to be healthy to experience prosperity and success, but it’s not the main thing. It’s a distraction, and pursuing the path for those reasons is a distortion.
Now I’m well aware of the party line on thetans and all that. But when it comes right down to it, the thetans are measured off the body, not the other way around. But enough about scientology, I’m getting kind of sick of it actually.
What I’m trying to point out here is that what most of us instinctively think of as a spirituality is just that: the spirit. the essential element. the non-physical, the transcendental, the part of us that is eternal and unchanging.
So what I think gets overlooked, what the real foundation of these degenerate psuedo and counter-traditions really is, is a breaking of the relationship between the life we live right here on earth, and the element that transcends all of that. Instead they lure people into power fantasies, health fantasies, lust gratification, science fiction fireworks, money, drugs and influence. Even when they’ve got access to the tools seekers have used for thousands of yours to contact higher and deeper realities, it’s all hitched back to the cart of your own desires.
All to hide the fact that, without a spirit, you’re just a piece of meat shambling around, feeding on other pieces of meat. You might be all powerfull, rich and flush with all the pleasures of the world. But you might as well be a zombie.