Monday, December 5, 2011

Teachers Who Are Not Fully Cooked

As a result of the miracle of the internet, people all over the world now have access to hundreds of teachers who discuss non-duality.  You can read thousands of articles, listen to podcasts, or watch video segments from those who claim to be self-realized.

This technology has made non-dual teachings available to just about everyone -- and that is truly a blessing.  However, there's another side to this explosion of teachers.  Some of these self-proclaimed teachers of non-duality do not have an abiding realization of their true nature.  Almost all of them have had powerful glimpses of their true nature, but there's a significant difference between glimpses of Truth -- and a stable, abiding realization.

There are a number of non-duality "teachers" who are now disavowing their previous teachings or admitting that their views about non-duality have changed.  Some speak of working through psychological issues and suffering.

I applaud these teachers for their honesty.  Better to admit when your teachings were not entirely accurate.  Furthermore, it has been my experience that the vast majority of such teachers are loving, sincere people.  They never set out to mislead anybody or to make money from false teachings.  Many of them make little or no money at all.  They share their message out of love for the Truth -- and the benefits they have gotten by seeing life in a new, expansive way.

I am not saying that their teachings have no value.  A person who has had powerful glimpses of Truth can help you with your non-dual inquiry.  However, if that teacher does not have an abiding self-realization -- and has not worked out their psychological issues and suffering -- their teachings will be of limited value to the student seeking self-realization.

Those people (students or teachers) who have not worked out their own psychological issues are commonly referred to as not being "cooked."  If we're engaging in self-inquiry, we know that the process involves being "cooked."  I have been simmering for years.

Even the sages go through this "cooking" phase.  If you have engaged in self-inquiry for any length of time, you know that the feelings and emotions you have repressed for decades are going to bubble up to the surface.  It feels like you are being cooked, that the heat is being turned up.  This is a very healthy, natural part of self-investigation.  These psychological issues are being burned up in the light of Awareness.

My point is this:  if you are still cooking and have psychological issues to resolve, perhaps you are not suited to call yourself a "teacher" of non-duality.  This is simply my view -- admittedly my judgment -- and I am not calling for these people to stop teaching.  I am not saying you shouldn't follow these teachers.

What I am recommending is to be vigilant in choosing teachers.  If you want fun discussions and find a teacher you like to listen to or hang out with, that's fine.  However, if you have a burning desire for self-realization, I would suggest making sure that the teacher you follow has a stable self-realization and is free of psychological turmoil.

I am not saying that the teacher with an abiding self-realization is not gaining new insights or modifying his or her expression of the Truth.  There are always new insights to be gained, even for the sage.  However, you will find that the teacher with the stable realization is not modifying his or her core teachings significantly.  The Truth they realized five years ago is the same Truth they realize now. 

Furthermore, the self-realized teacher has resolved the psychological issues already.  That is, they are fully cooked. 

How do you know if a teacher has been fully cooked?

There is no simple test.  What I have noticed, however, is that the body language of the teacher with the abiding self-realization is quite different from the body language of the teacher who is not fully cooked.  Self-realized teachers carry themselves with a sense of ease.  Their bodies reflect it.  Their words reflect it.

These teachers retain their unique personality traits.  They don't become "perfect" body/minds and smile all day.  They might exhibit anger, impatience or what you interpret as ego.  Not all of their prior body/mind conditioning is erased.  But there is a certain calmness and ease in how they live, how they speak and how they interact with people.  You can see it and feel it.   The clarity of their expression is also a sign.  They are not "all over the place" and rambling when they speak.  Call it a natural eloquence.

Non-duality is impossible to accurately put into words but the genuine self-realized teacher is able to communicate your true nature in a way that registers in your mind and heart.

There is no shame in being not fully cooked.  99.9 % of the population is not fully cooked.  But if you're looking to realize your true nature, be careful to find someone who has been cooked.  It's where you'll find the most powerful, effective non-dual teaching.