Monday, February 7, 2011

The Satsang Know-It-All

If you've attended a few satsangs, you're probably familiar with The Satsang Know-It-All.  This person is an attendee at the meeting.  Typically he or she sits at the front of the room.

While it's possible for The Satsang Know-It-All to be a woman, I've noticed that in almost every instance The Satsang Know-It-All is a man.  I'm not quite sure why.  For convenience, I'll refer to The Satsang Know-It-All as "he" throughout this message.

The Satsang Know-It-All wants each person at the meeting -- including the teacher -- to be impressed with the depth of his knowledge and insight.  To accomplish this objective, The Satsang Know-It-All will raise his hand early in the meeting and you're likely to hear from him several times throughout the satsang.  He loves to talk and to be the center of attention.

His questions and comments are never short and to the point.  Instead, he launches into a long, detailed speech to demonstrate the scope of his knowledge and wisdom.

While most people at satsang raise their hand to ask a particular question, The Satsang Know-It-All doesn't usually have a burning question.  Instead, he wants to offer comments and tell stories about his experiences and in-depth knowledge of nonduality teachers, books and ancient spiritual texts.

The Satsang Know-It-All always quotes the sages and likes to make sure you know that he has been in the presence of many masters.  You'll hear him say something like:

"As Ramana Maharshi said..."
"As Adyashanti said in a retreat I recently attended..."
"While I was having breakfast with Douglas Harding in his house, he told me......"
"While I sat at the feet of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj in India forty years ago,..."

As The Satsang Know-It-All nears the end of his speech, he will often say to the teacher, "What is your opinion of that sage's statement?" (referring to the sage he just quoted)

The Satsang Know-It-All also likes to ask the unanswerable "WHY" questions, such as "Why does God play this game of hide and seek?"  Whatever answers are offered by the teacher will be of absolutely no use to The Satsang Know-It-All in terms of self-realization.  Then again The Satsang Know-It-All doesn't seem all that interested in self-realization.  He's having too much fun talking about realization and spiritual matters -- and drawing comparisons between teachings and teachers.

Ironically, from the non-dual perspective, The Satsang Know-It-All is none other than YOU...and ME.  The "person" I am judging and making fun of is none other than myself.  Yet we're allowed to play a little and have fun at the relative level of existence.

By the way, as much as I poke fun at The Satsang Know-It-All, I sometimes find myself approaching him during the meeting breaks.  You know what I've found?  The Satsang Know-It-All is actually a very interesting, kind, and generous person.

The Satsang Know-It-All is an integral part of the satsang.  Being in his presence will offer opportunities for your own self-inquiry.  The annoyance you may feel at the antics of The Satsang Know-It-All can teach you.  Allow the annoyance to be there.  It will quickly melt.

Notice your judgment of The Satsang Know-It-All.  You may ask yourself, "Who or what in me is judging this person?  Is there really a judger, or is the judger simply a thought?"

You'll also recognize that you have the same traits that The Satsang Know-It-All exhibits, although to a lesser degree.  After all, do you ever talk on and on about something to demonstrate your knowledge on a particular topic?  Granted, there are few who can match the ego of The Satsang Know-It-All, but he is a mirror for traits that all of us demonstrate now and then.

There are infinite levels of insight you can gain from your encounters with The Satsang Know-It-All.  Be open to the possibilities.

By all means, find the humor in The Satsang Know-It-All.  He's part of the show at satsang, and often a very entertaining part!