I was recently researching what happened to a guy
whose books I read back in the 70ís. Sort of a ďwhere is he now?Ē kind
of thing. Back then he went by Bubba Free John. He was a spiritual
teacher that had many quite brilliant insights, in my opinion. Still,
there was something not right. I couldnít put my finger on it. As I
said, the teachings were brilliant and useful. I never met him or joined
an ashram or anything like that, probably because of that slight
uneasiness, and because I wasnít much of an ashram joiner anyway.
He is still alive and living on an ashram that
covers an entire island in Fiji. He now goes by the name, Adi Da, and
his ďreligionĒ is called Adidam. He claims to be the world teacher and
make quite a few audacious claims about who he is. He has written many
books and changed his name many times. He still has followers and still
speaks and teaches. He is still problematic and paradoxical. Over the
years he has run into certain problems that often result from guru-disciple
relationships. Problems involving sex and money. He may not have even
done anything he was accused of. I have seen this situation before with
other well-known spiritual teachers.
This got me to thinking about the whole spiritual
seeker/guru thing. There always seem to be gurus and teachers cropping
up. They have some wisdom and they attract followers. Many of them start
organizations, gain in popularity, attract more followers and then end
up having sex with their followers and getting in trouble. Not that
there is anything wrong with sex, per se. As long as itís a freely
chosen activity between consenting adults, I have no problem with it.
Mainstream western culture does have a problem with it, though.
If a person is enlightened, and spiritual teaching
is what they are all about, why donít they know that having sex with
followers could cause problems out in the wider world? The media loves
that kind of stuff. So do lawyers. Why donít they know that love and
desire can change quickly to hate and revenge especially when sex is
involved? Things being what they are why go down that road except for
Spiritual teachers are still people and, as people,
the have the same desires and needs as all the rest of us do. They all
have baggage. They all have personalities. They started seeking
spiritual relief because of all that. Thatís why I began my spiritual
search over 40 years ago when I was 13 years old. If you study,
meditate, and just pay attention to what happens in your life, you are
going to learn something. Itís inevitable. Just because you have clawed
your way into some wisdom thatís worth sharing with others, doesnít mean
you have it all worked out and are beyond the human condition. You can
still get into trouble.
If you are on a spiritual search, learn all you
can. Practice the practices, read the books, sing the songs, and try to
walk the walks. Just donít ever give up your autonomy. Not to anyone. It
is naÔve and naivete invites betrayal. The teacher you follow may end up
an instrument of that betrayal.
If it happens anyway, in spite of your best
efforts, you can use the betrayal itself as a teacher. Where you feel
betrayed is where you gave up your self. When you learn lessons like
this (the hard way), you learn them really well.
You donít get enlightened by following someone
elseís path. It is just not going to work. We can all learn from wise
teachings. I am not disputing that. The problems come when we give up
our autonomy to another person. The connection to the Divine is within.
The source of enlightenment is not outside of oneself. I know this from
Everyone is a mixed
bag, even the ďenlightened.Ē Donít throw away the good things they have
to offer and donít swallow the bullshit either. Think for yourself, and
trust your intuition. Thatís my advice, for whatever itís worth.