Here's a guest blog post from someone who writes well, thinks clearly, and has an interesting perspective on the spiritual pursuit. Kinder and gentler than my own attitude toward cults and religions. I added a couple of links to the person's post.
I was searching the internet for Sant Mat history and I found your blog.
As I was reading it, back and forth, there have been quite a few entries of people over the years, I felt glad that I found some answers that clarified my own thinking.
So then I wanted to , you know, say something too (^__^)
But I couldn’t post my ramblings directly from the comment section of the blog, so I registered with Typepad and tried to sign in, but that didn’t work either, so now I am sending my waffle to you directly.
Maybe you could be so kind and post it on my behalf. If not, no worries.
All I can do is say, Brian, nice of you to be so engaged with the world, I am glad you are lighting up the world you live in and are making a difference. You and me live far apart from one another, another world, another life, another reality and here and now we are. How wonderful. Thank you!
Love and Light. [name not shared at person's request]
Here is what I was going to post:
I am from the the SOS [Science of Spirituality] branch, I knew nothing of the other branches of Sant Mat, indeed was unaware of this there is so much more to Sant Mat, it was a good eye opener to get some history on this here blog.
I’ve never really bought into the whole thing but grew up with it. I am doing my own thing though. I am just me. My conclusion after reading many people’s thoughts on this topic for me are:
At least Sant Mat is promoting a peaceful mind. Joy of inner self. Ok, so I think that Rajinder is fully engaged in the guru game, he has too many followers for it to be. I remember when it was Darshan one could still go and personally speak with 'the master’, he was available for talks for long into the morning hours to answer all questions his followers had.
And the Kirpal crowd even more so, small and intimate. I am speaking Westerner here. Small gatherings. The group recognition one found, the validation through the other followers. It was a time of newness, hope and joy.
And yes, it can become a slog and a chore, but I think that would happen to the person anyway if that’s the blueprint of the person. We are what we are. Sometimes we can change. Often we get stuck. I think we all get drawn to something or other.
I mean look at these most ridiculous cults out there, the gullibility of human beings is just mind boggling. But there is all sorts out there. Before we patronise others' opinion, have we not all fallen for something or other at some point? And do we not understand how when one is convinced of something how one becomes zealous?
So when we meet a zealous person, do we need to throw stones at them?
Anyway the game is (joy, pain, love, hate, devotion, insert your own thing here), and we play it wholeheartedly. And pain is part of how we experience existence. Some people play seriously and for a long time, decades, and it is beautiful to watch, or painful; and then they find: nope, that’s not it.
And go away from it with things learned. Things experienced. Things understood and things misunderstood. And being the person that they are.
Not every human is the same but there are a variety of maybe self fabricated realities, some handed down generations to generation in human history, available to everyone, and we all chose that which is akin to us.
It is already perfect. And yes, the game is a trap, that is what Ram Dass said, and everything is a game, a play, and yes the cult prays on the gullible and enhances guilt. But it also encourages choice of goodness and positivity.
Maybe then we have the choice of recognition. We can try to understand the essence of any of these teachings and live it, understand our motivations and try to be a good person and incidentally Love is a thing. It’s ok to change ones mind, and its ok to be imperfect. Its already perfect.
A lot, I think, is just filler. With intuition and imagination we seem to be able to experience many things in life. Together with other people who experience something similar.
If not a cult, a religion then possessions, or philosophy, or intellectualism, or art, or shamanism, or hedonism, or trance; anything that we use as a template to fill our need, or to fill the void, or just to make us happy for a moment and then relive this moment with the help of that which has found us on our way and offers itself to us - its good and right and real, and then it becomes a trap if we play it for real, if we play it to the detriment which is addiction. (Ram Dass said)
We can argue till the cows come home about that these are an impossibility these guru teachings, whether these mystics and sages are but power hungry ego trippers with their old old tales and so on, argue about the reality of all these things that are supposedly happen in other spheres, the existence of angels, ghosts, demons, gods, spirits and all that, but there is such a thing as a shared reality.
Many people together experiencing one reality. And it’s real for them. How important is it to be right if we deem it to be wrong?
And yes, it is up to us to question the things that we are told, when we are out of ecstatic state and in the light of day. And then use that which seems right to us at that moment in time. And it is up to us to be open to things that are improbable. And it is also up to us not to judge others too harshly.
I guess that the addiction to the cult is just like any other addiction. There will come a point when we say, yay or nay. And either just be, or move on to fit the raster of existence to our picture of how things should be. Hypnotised, enticed, duped or otherwise.
As Osho said: play it, play it with all your heart.
I think that we need not warn others overly much or with such vehemence, because no one will be swayed who believes, by what they then feel are naysayers and attackers. It is right to point things out, to offer another point of view, like for instance the fact that some of these people selling religion are also selling themselves on top of the religion.
Isn’t it that masters and priests have had their knowledge handed down to them, hearsay from the past, plus their own garnish of experience. And sometimes people need these other people that point this out to them as a reminder that they can ask questions, but on the whole it seems to me the people have to change their minds from within, by themselves, alone, when they are ready. And some will never be ready till its over.
People can tune into time itself, one hears, but I don’t think this applies to everyone, or else we would all be geniuses and holy men and woman. I think for most of us we are just part of the Mandelbrot pattern of the universe.
It is. And it is already perfect. And isn’t it all exciting really?
I love all these different ideas that are floating around. And one can embrace it all. And the guilt thing, well, my mum made me feel so guilty over everything all my life, really the Master had nothing on me. I don’t think that we can really really overcome our blueprint, (free choice, you’re having a laugh, right?)
But there is so much variety of experiences. And there is so much goodness and Love along the way. And also there is so much pain and anguish of those that are it.
I have seen young, wonderful earnest and committed beauty of belief. Young men and woman, almost aglow with the effort to please the universe, the master and god. Lovingly applied and with such strong energy. And I have seen them fall into the maelstrom of despair. But I have also seen growth and letting go and moving on to the next thing that illuminated these friends from within.
Really, it doesn’t matter what the thing is that has replaced it, the person remains the same.
I love the tarot traditions too, more of an ego tool really, and also I love the ‘energy is a thing’ thing. And mumbo jumbo. What fun!
And biology is amazing too, how everything works in harmony (or doesn’t), how hormones work and how emotion is influenced by it, and one can try to influence ones body and bio rhythms with breathing techniques, pretty cool stuff floating around - and very, very old traditions at that. Yoga. Looking after ones body - well, it’s a good thing!
All the stuff that happens to us humans, to the microbes, to the plants, to the animals, to the planets, to the universe. It’s all pretty awesome.
And also it isn’t. It just is, we are experiencing it, we are judging it, we are playing it. So I hear.
I’m off to work now. I work in care. I found that all people just want Love in the End, we all have a need to be loved. Why not love one another more? People are filling their minds with gurus because they have a need. Let them be. And when they are disillusioned, be kind. It’s a thing: kindness. Do good. Have compassion. Get off the me, me ride. Well, this kinda works for me anyway.
Thanks for listening and thanks for sharing your experiences here on this blog.
Love and Light. Sincerely, the Fool.
Back to basics: our faithless faith and commenting policies
It never hurts to return to the basics. So in this easy-to-write post I'm going to copy in one of the first posts I wrote after I started this blog in 2004, "Our Creedless Creed," plus this blog's commenting policies.
Regarding the latter, note that comments are supposed to stick to the subject matter of a post. I'm flexible about this, but today two commenters (UM and Nimfa) engaged in an almost entirely irrelevant series of eleven chat comments on a post about the RSSB guru's authoritarianism.
As you can read in the commenting policies, off-topic comment conversations should go in an Open Thread, which I call "free speech for comments." When people read a blog post, a newspaper story, or such, then click on the comments, they expect to find comments about the subject that's been written about.
Hijacking comments for purely personal purposes is a form of spam. Again, I'm fine with an occasional off-topic comment, and admit that I haven't been consistent in enforcing this rule, but don't be surprised if your comment is deleted if it doesn't pertain to the topic of a blog post.
Here's Our Creedless Creed. It's in the category of "Basics of our faithless faith." I'm impressed that after 18 years of blogging, during which I've become steadily more atheistic, there's nothing that I would change in the creedless creed other than the last item. Currently I don't think it is likely that death provides any final answers.
If you think that any of these statements are inaccurate, make your case in a comment on this post. That will be totally on-topic! I'll add numbers to the items to make it easier to comment on them.
UPDATE: I decided to add "any possible" before "immaterial reality" to make clear that currently there is no evidence of an immaterial reality separate from our universe. And I added "may" in the final item of the creed to make clear that if consciousness ends with death, as is very likely, getting any answer after death is low probability but still possible.
Our Creedless Creed
Note: to make this Creed more readable, some qualifiers have been omitted. So "God" signifies God/ultimate reality/final truth, not just a personal divinity. And "religion" signifies religion/spiritual path/philosophy, not just a mainstream theology.
(1) There is no objective proof that any religion knows the truth about God. If there were such proof, most people on Earth would have converted to that faith long ago and all scientists would be believers.
(2) Spirituality thus is an individual affair. Proof of any metaphysical realities that exist will be subjective, not demonstrable to others.
(3) Every person has the right to pursue their own spiritual quest without interference, so long as he or she doesn't interfere with the rights of others.
(4) Since the veracity of each and every religion is unprovable, equally unprovable are the moral and ethical tenets derived from any and all religious teachings.
(5) Thus morality also is an individual affair. There are no absolute laws of right and wrong as there are absolute laws of physics. Subjectivity rules in ethics.
(6) Individual ethical decisions may be formed into a collective codification of societal norms, or laws. These are purely human, not divine.
(7) Science is the surest means of finding truth. Theory, experiment, analysis of data: such are the tools of science, whether directed toward knowing material or any possible immaterial reality.
(8) Religious teachings are hypotheses to be confirmed through individual research. As such, they must not be taken as gospel truth by adherents of a particular faith.
(9) Religious doubters, skeptics, and heretics should be honored for their efforts to assure that unproven assertions about God are not put forward as solid truth.
(10) Every adherent of a particular religion should say to himself or herself, "I could be wrong." If he or she won't do this, other people can say it for them: "You could be wrong."
(11) This creedless creed of the Church of the Churchless also could be wrong. It needs to be reexamined and revised regularly.
(12) Death may provide the final answers (if only momentarily). The spiritual quest is to get answers ahead of time. But the big question is, "What are the questions?"
And here's this blog's commenting policies.
You're welcome -- even more, encouraged -- to leave comments on Church of the Churchless posts. Some of the most interesting writing on this blog comes from other people, not me, Brian the Blogger.
All I ask is that comments be in accord with the following policies. Otherwise a comment probably will be deleted or edited.
(1) No personal attacks on me or other commenters. Challenge the message, not the messenger. Best: You're wrong, because... Semi-OK: You're a fool, because... Not-OK: You're a fool.
(2) No extreme obscenity. Write as if you were in a congenial coffeehouse discussion group, not a high school locker room after your team lost the game in the final seconds. Mild swear words are fine. But goddamn it, don't go over the top.
(3) No rants about the uselessness of this blog. If you're a religious believer, I can understand why this blog could make you angry. Solution: don't read it. If you need to vent, leave a comment on my "I Hate Church of the Churchless" anti-site, not here.
(4) No commercial or religious spam. Advertising, in a comment or a URL, obviously isn't acceptable. Neither are lengthy quotations from a religious scripture, or preachiness. See #5 below.
(5) No irrelevant comments. Please stick to the subject matter of a post in your comment. If you want to talk about something else, leave your comment in an Open Thread, email me with a blog post suggestion, or use the Google search box in the right sidebar to find a previous post on this blog concerning your "something else." (Note: Open Thread comments also should adhere to the policies above.)
(6) No trolling. On the Internet a "troll" is someone who tries to disrupt normal discussions through various annoying behaviors. Here's some ways to recognize a troll. Best response to them: no response. Their sad lives thrive on attention, so ignore them.
(7) No false "facts" about critical issues. As the saying goes, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. This applies to this blog, especially about COVID-19 and other critical issues. Blatantly false comments won't be published if they're about life and death or other critical topics such as global warming.
Lastly, one of my pet peeves is how uncourteously many people behave on the Internet. "Flame wars" aren't productive, so try to keep your cool if you disagree with what somebody has said.
I agree with Wikipedia's take on Flaming:
Posted at 09:17 PM in Comments, Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (8)