Even a “spiritual” path can be a source of identification. In the last forty years or so, there have been millions of people who returned from a journey to the East, displaying, with an air of triumph, the new product they bought there: a new mask, a new identification they use to call “my real Self”.
Yes, it is true..in the variegated scope of identifications one can clothe oneself, it is a rarity to find one labeled as “my Real Self”, “My I”, “My Deeper Nature”, “My Inner Nature”, or something similar. And, this is, beyond doubt, the worst trick of the false being: not being masked as Being.
But, let us begin a sober analysis of the “types” of such kinds of identification. It is not difficult to understand them. There are people who claim to search for the Truth, and those who claim to have realized what Truth is.
Those who Seek….
The “seekers for a True Self” represent, undoubtedly, the main and most populated category, very variegated, who “space out” in the fields of psychoanalysis and what has become a real bazaar of false masks, the so-called New Age.
These searchers stand out from the official religions, because they have understood that such systems can bring only further rules to gain a good place in Paradise, and that they must discover, to reveal, to let emerge, their most hidden and True Being; namely, to become Realized.
Some of these people are comprised of persons who have experienced something very painful in their past, such as a sentimental delusion or even a financial downfall. This is ironic, because this topology represented for centuries and still represents, the starting point for a mystical, religious, and also a political and revolutionary type of conversion. The principle is simple: the old (false) image loses its ascendant, its power, and the mask of one’s self falls. Once this collapse happens, the image reflected in the mirror is totally different from the previous one. The subject reflects no more, the image he had built for many years.
All safeness falls, every relation crumbles, and the relationships with others and life in general – all of this built according to the model of the previous mask – identification – and loses every value.
So, what remains is the nothingness, an emptiness escaped through creating a fictional image which gives the illusion of “being” someone and something. The mirror reflects only emptiness instead of the old face: the mask is removed.
In these moments, “life has no meaning”, “it is the end”, “all the world crumbles”. Someone chooses to take his life, someone else, after the first shock, chooses to build another mask, more suitable to the new situation, with new illusions and identifications. Others, the few, will detect in such “emptiness”, a glimmer, a possibility; he will begin to notice that in the field of social conventions, there is something wrong, and this will bring a total waiver of convictions gained from social conditionings.
This is really a moment of crisis, and who that has experienced it can testify to this. The whole system falls into a critical phase, and the only possible result could be a radical change.
So, this crisis is an indication of a potential change. Nothing is as was previously, so everything becomes (as it is perceived), possible. If the old way of living and the old beliefs have ended, then, every crisis is a new beginning, a blank page, an unexplored land, a possible gateway to freedom.
But, Freedom is not what is desired by society. Indeed, it is unacceptable, incompatible with the rules imposed from the external. So, in some way, society has resolved even this, proposing a new rule for these cases of “crisis-emergency”.
A new role, with a person who has to be led to a different world and reality, an “alternative” non-ordinary figure, so that whoever accepts this role could be convinced to have touched an effective “reality”, one who stays above ordinary life, over every kind of illusion. So, new masks – identification arise: one possibility is given by the figure of the devoted, the God-fearing religious.
The other possibility, relatively new on the market, but not less popular, is the figure of the “seeker”, the neo-Buddhist, ecological and “New Ager”. Both possibilities are surely worth mentioning for their superficiality, uselessness and for the limitation of perspectives. Another kind of “Seekers of the Truth” is composed of those who are driven to search in the field of the “unknown” from a sense of anguish, something which makes useless and unsatisfying, every kind of ordinary experience, a feeling of incompleteness which doesn’t find satisfaction in any activity or condition.
Ordinary life appears empty of every kind of sense, an indescribable anxiety pushes from the inside, driving the search for something which could stop an unquenchable thirst. This state is well-known in the psycho-analytical field under the name of “meaninglessness”, “lack of meaning”; this drives humans to find a meaning which generally becomes the family, the job, politics, ideologies, etc.
And those who don’t fall into the trap of such false meanings of life, or are in a depressive state, will be pushed to find something, even if he doesn’t know what. Like a weary child, he will become fascinated by ideas, arguments, and themes which he will soon abandon after a short time, to fall in love with a new book, a new mystic, a Guru or God knows what. It’s a difficult condition, an attempt to build something “stable” through donning new masks with the aim of appeasing this sense of anxiety, this detested sense of anguish. Most times, such a path is walked in solitude, misunderstood by others, with always new delusions and tones of regrets.
These people, generally, at one point of their search, tire of such states, and will be attracted by some other mirage, deciding to have found what they were searching for: a theory, or a religion, which is the same as those they have found previously, but now considered, without doubt, superior, real and ultimate.
Such people will accept this new belief and will remain attached to it for the rest of their lives, but this time, will be able to ignore that sense of inadequacy they felt before and which still exists – and they ignore that perhaps, THIS sense is the voice of something deeper, something they claimed they were searching for: a True Self.
The most comical, awful (at least, for me) and useless category of “seekers” is composed of those who consider a “spiritual path” like a weekend trip; they use the label of spirituality as a suit to wear in a particular moment of the day or of the week, just to be trendy, interesting….new age. It is enough. I don’t wish to spend more words for such kinds of people.
…and the neo-Budddhas
What I call neo-Buddhas (Buddha means “awakened”) are those who claim to be “realized” beings. They are very calm people to observe, and truly, we can find them everywhere: every Sunday at mass, or as a vegetarian who “doesn’t kill living beings” (but aren’t the vegetables also living beings?), in the exhibitions of “alternative methods” in the attempt to find some crystals to put on their chakras or some other parts of the body, or on the road, claiming to be the reincarnation of some Egyptian pharaoh of the ___Dynasty. Independently from the causes which drove them to “self realization”, they have some common traits.
First of all, they really love themselves, they like the way they seem and the way others look at them. For some strange coincidence, the “true self” they were searching for corresponds exactly to the traits of what they have found; a “self” who reflects all their expectations and who is in accordance with all the values of the subject – themselves. Wow. Is it possible to believe that these persons have known from the beginning exactly what they would find? Or, just to ask a better question: is it possible to believe in that? The answer, at least for those who have a little bit of sober reason is obvious.
Whoever begins a path of inner research, namely in the search for an unknown “Self”, should contemplate the hypothesis that maybe they will face something which is not to their liking. Is it possible that no one, NO ONE, once realized, has remained deluded with what they have found? Maybe, a selfish, petty, greedy self instead of a pure and angelic being? Anything like, “My Self is really an arsehole…”? If we consider the fact that a Christian, while having the vision will never see Muhammed appearing, then maybe we could raise here a hypothesis: that those persons have found “at the end of the path”, exactly what they were searching for – an illusion.
Another very interesting trait of those “realized” people is that they really like themselves, and are also liked by others. Of course, to be “spiritual”, not all must love them. They have to seem moderately “inconvenienced” so that they can push away any suspect which doesn’t fit into their worldview. The adversaries are welcome – it’s not so important that the results of their “inner research” are approved by all. What is important is that the environment of followers are created around their image – so that the “realized” could recognize himself as such: “realized”.
So, these Neo-Buddhas, to share their opinions, create a code and a common language, establishing the “signs” which will show the conditions of having achieved the “supreme state” of one of his followers.
So, if one of the codes-rules is, “If you drink coffee, you must not use sugar”. We can be sure that, at the end of their “inner path”, every follower will surely show an aversion towards those who have the habit of putting sugar in their coffee, and of course, they will show this “disappointment” in an explicit way (otherwise, who will notice he is a “realized”?). So, they will simulate something to demonstrate something: another mask under the name of “being realized”.
Truly, I don’t know if this topic has been expressed correctly in the way I expressed it here. Being realized doesn’t mean taking a new role. It is the opposite of this.
It is a falling into another illusion. And this could happen to anyone of us being harmed by a role which, like an internet virus enters inside our system and harms all the data. A “virus” – mask dressed under the image of what an image has not – the Essence. A mask beneath the mask. A trap, maybe the worst, which could convince us, one day, that we have realized in a definitive way, our “True Nature”. A trap that only the Being can avoid, contrasting the illusions with the evidence, what is NOT, with what IS.