4 – How Can Some Teachers of Awakening Be Capable of Abuse?
There’s a very basic misconception about Awakening: that it wipes out identification with Personality for good. An Awakening is a passing thing; it reveals the viewpoint beyond Personality, but only for the duration of the experience. When the Awakening passes, the Relative perspective is returned to, and that includes the arising of Personality.
There are two possible responses to an Awakening experience: In the first, the person is ready to receive and use this event to transcend Personality. The Awakening is like a seed falling on fertile ground; the seed might take some time before it germinates but it’s not rejected, it has the right soil in which to come to its fruition. By that I mean it leads to ‘The Shift’, in which identification with Personality falls away permanently.
The second possible response is where the person is not ready to ‘receive’ the event. In this scenario, rather than be undermined by the Awakening, the Personality incorporates it into its own system. It uses what’s happened and cleverly rebuilds itself around it. So in these cases, after an experience beyond Personality, the Personality returns and simply takes on a new, stronger form: It becomes a ‘Spiritual Personality’.
In a Personality with narcissistic tendencies, the authority that comes with the role of teacher or guru can be used in the service of that underlying psychological trait. What better way to strengthen the new Spiritual Personality than by having people look up to it, to recognise this Awakening it has ‘achieved’? The teaching is often performed in the name of service but in these cases it’s mostly in the service of the teacher’s Personality. It’s a perfect symbiotic system: The followers want an icon of enlightenment and the teacher wants followers to affirm his or her ‘enlightenment’.
In a cultic environment, a teacher with a narcissistic Personality and a need to dominate can take on more sinister overtones. Free from the scrutiny of mainstream culture, the shadow side of the teacher’s Personality can start to show itself. The teacher’s carefully cultivated image of ‘purity’ and ‘holiness’ may be betrayed by an increasingly obvious desire for control, fame, wealth or revelations of clandestine sexual activity or drug addiction. A mismatch then arises between the image of enlightenment being sold and the reality of the Personality that’s selling it.
After the Shift, you are no longer governed and motivated by Personality and its Shadow. This means there are no subconscious motivations that could wilfully hurt or abuse others. Violence that doesn’t come from the survival instinct almost always derives from Personality. So whatever grand spiritual story is being told and sold, any abuse or brainwashing is a form of violence that betrays the actions of Personality.
This blog is taken from a chapter in my second book: The Infinite Journey, which will be published early in 2019