Day Nine of the Chronicle
Other Occurrences in that week (7 months ago):
I mentioned earlier about M. at the acupuncture clinic giving me the phone number to a popular teacher (guru) of Tai Chi. I called him. We’ll use F. as a name. In the call I described what I was going through. He said a few things I can’t remember now. My initial take-away from the call was that it was awkward, stilted. But we did arrange to meet for lunch (on me) at a Sushi place following his Tai Chi class. And he recommended a book (which I ordered from Amazon).
Although that first session of acupuncture released some of the chi in me, it didn’t take long for it to return. I wasn’t feeling the same dissonance, but the chi in my body no less active. And I was getting used to it. I was actually enjoying it, especially those ‘lifts’ that made me feel lighter, almost buoyant.
On the Saturday for the lunch meeting I got in my car to drive to the restaurant. On the way, everything inside shut down. Utterly. The chi was silent, inactive.
I meet F. We shake hands and get a table. He’s older than me but has that strangely smooth face that belies his age (apparently a product of Kundalini Awakening and the Tai Chi practice). We order lunch and over the course of the next ninety or so minutes he tells me about his many trips to Nepal, his stays at Ashrams, his many guru teachers all of whom are apparently famous.
Let’s take a brief step back here. When I meet with S. the chi inside me is going wild. Same for L. And certainly my brief meeting with M. did nothing to diminish everything going on inside me.
But this guy. I feel dead inside. Shuttered tight. There’s no connection here at all. As friendly as he is, as amicable as the lunch turns out to be, there’s no spark here. In the course of his tales he describes how he is able to put thoughts into the heads of other people, no matter the distance between them. Then he mentions his multiple divorces. And he describes his outdoor Tai Chi classes, attended exclusively by women.
After we depart, I find a place to go and have a cigarette. My first thought is this: holy shit, this guy is a psychic vampire. And then I wonder, did he just suck me dry?
[as an aside, when M. mentioned to L. at the clinic that I was meeting up with F. her first worry was: oh, I hope he doesn’t suck him dry.]
My second thought was a realization, and I think it’s an important one. Here it is. The gift of Spiritual Enlightenment does not automatically confer virtue. I stood there, imaging the hurt, damaged women this guy left in his wake. One of the things he had repeated many times over that lunch was my need for a guru. The book he recommended, when it arrived, exhorted the same thing (in it, the author describes the extent of his worship of his guru, including licking the guy’s plate after lunch and eating whatever scraps he’d left). Every part of me recoils at the thought of surrendering my life to a fellow human being (and being a human being, implicitly flawed). I cannot help but back away at the notion. Nobody on this earth deserves that kind of servile worship.
I will take guidance. I will take advice. But I will not worship the one offering either or both.
Anyway, now I was worried. Did this guy steal everything that was happening inside me? And how odd was it that as soon as I wondered if it was all gone, I should suddenly miss it? All the trauma, the distress and worry, all the weird shit going on every night. I wanted it back.
By the time I got home, the chi was stirring once more, and that night, the Kundalini was back. From that I was led to a new conclusion: Kundalini knew the risks of meeting this guy, knew it before I did, and therefore I was protected. Walled off. F. got nothing from me, not a wisp. Did he try? Who knows. But we haven’t been in contact since.
At this point you might be wondering what was M. thinking putting me in contact with this guy? Or that I’m now pissed off at M. I’m not pissed off, but I am curious. At the next acupuncture session (on the following Monday) I describe to L. the lunch meeting and my Kundalini/chi response to it. She recounts her worry but is glad to hear I was protected (S. tells me that again and again: ‘You are very protected’). Turns out F.’s reputation is somewhat known. M. later tells me he had believed that F. had reformed somewhat, being newly married (poor woman), so he was disappointed to discover otherwise, and apologetic to me. I told him to not apologize. I learned two crucial things with that encounter.
My Kundalini can protect us (her and me) just fine. And then there’s that thing about virtue. An Awakening is a traumatic experience. It leaves you lost, isolated, even frightened. The lure of a guru to take you under wing to explain everything is very real, and very seductive. You want answers and lo! Here’s someone with those answers!
In my writing career I have readers. Fans. I do book signings where some of those readers begin hyperventilating the closer they get to me. Or they clam up. Or begin crying. It’s emotional. And it’s heady. I can see how that can seduce the subject of such displays, feed the ego, swell the head. It’s a form of power, after all.
But anyone who uses that kind of worship as some kind of mirror of truth, is, well, already pretty fucked up. There’s nothing true about it.
I would imagine that the further along one gets on a path to spiritual enlightenment, the more modest and humble one gets (Dalai Lama), and the less judgmental they get. Force of personality is a mundane characteristic more often than not: nothing about it is intrinsically or implicitly holy. It’s secular and therefore, in this context, suspect.
And the great holy figures of history? Well, when I meet one, I’ll let you know if my views undergo a transformation. But I do have one related question: does not the choice to follow lead to a diminishment of one’s own free will? After all, even if the act of choosing to follow is an expression of free will, once you have done so, you have surrendered some of that free will. Of course, you can at some point choose to not follow any more, once more invoking free will. But why is that then almost always seen as a betrayal? To follow may have many rewards, but its currency is free will, for good and for ill. I guess I have issues with that.