11 – If You Need a Code of Ethics, You’re Not Awake
Bo: There was a video posted recently from a Science and Non-Duality conference; they were proposing that, because of the abuse that has gone on in the name of spirituality, there should be some sort of code of ethics for spiritual teachers. What did you think of it?
Jez: My take on this is: My definition of what ‘awake’ means must be different from what was being taken for granted in that discussion because if there’s a need to impose a code of ethical conduct, it means that the people who need to adopt it are not awake. As far as I’m concerned, an awakening is a powerful experience of life beyond Personality; but it is temporary. Having an awakening experience doesn’t mean you are awake (i.e. permanently in that). My experience is that there is another step, in which that dis-identification with Personality becomes permanent. For clarification of the difference, I call that the Shift.
In the Shift you are permanently unhooked from the motivations and Story of the Personality. This isn’t to say that facets of the Personality can’t still occasionally arise, it’s just that, with the Personality no longer ‘in the driving seat’ so to speak, that Story is no longer identified with or believed in. If it arises, it is watched like anything else that arises. In my experience, the Story of the Personality gradually just falls away because it becomes irrelevant.
(To be clear, I’m not describing a practice; there is no NEED for it to fall away because there is no belief in any ideal of spiritual perfection to feed that need. But it seems to fall away because it is not fed by your engagement in it.)
So if the Shift hasn’t happened and the Personality is still running the show, what can happen is it takes on a new role and becomes a spiritual Personality.* So in this scenario, you can see there’s a need for a code of ethics because abuse of that role becomes a possibility.
If you need a code of ethics, then the Shift hasn’t happened.
Lao Tzu put it like this:
‘With an open mind, you will be openhearted. Being openhearted, you will act royally.’
More on these subjects in Chapters 10, 11, 31 and 32 of The Infinite Journey.
*ie a Personality that’s orientated towards spiritual ideas which may still have motivations that get played out in that role; for example: the need to be looked up to, to manipulate people, to be the most famous, most loving, most radical etc.