The Dreaded Gomboo or The Imaginary Disease That Religion Seeks To Cure.
A Collection of Essays and Talks on the “Direct” Process of Enlightenment.
By Da Free John.
Compiled and edited with an introduction and commentary by the Renunciate Hermitage Order.
THE DREADED GOM-BOO
Part II: Renunciation
Be a Serious, Profound, and Fiery Personality
December 17, 1982
MASTER DA: Before you can fruitfully consider the process of sexual communion and its relation to the mature developments of spiritual life, you must be finished with all your emotional complications. You cannot practice sexual communion until you are. You may be able to imitate certain features of the practice of sexual communion, but you cannot go beyond merely imitating certain of its outlines, just as you cannot practice real meditation until you have gone beyond the rudimentary self-possessed stage of the beginner.
What are you doing with these relations, these marriages? Why are you doing what you do? There is no right sexual practice apart from sexual communion. Sexual exercise and all the complicated manifestations of apparent intimacy are possible, but they are neither right sexuality nor right practice, only the usual thing that egos do. Just as this sexual matter is at the base of your psycho-physical personality, it is at the base of your entire life. Therefore, it is also at the base of the practice of this Way. You can only talk and practice superficially until you have become responsible for your emotional-sexual life.
If you are to practice sexual communion, you must be a renunciate involved in a totally different process of sexuality than characterizes people ordinarily. Renunciation is not a matter of acquiring a little self-knowledge and cleaning up your act and being a little bit nicer and less argumentative. This Way is another form of life altogether. Therefore, insofar as you are sexually active you must be sexually active in a wholly different way.
Ones responsibility for the emotional-sexual function is demonstrated in relationship. It is the first gesture of relationship. It is the first sign, the most intimate evidence, therefore, of the Narcissistic personality. For those of you who have a good relationship with your spouse, the cults of intimacy you are tending to develop may be better than the usual self-based game you could play in the world where people live a life of conflict with one another, but this does not mean that the relations you are creating and maintaining express the spiritual process. Spiritual life is another matter altogether. It is true that the first thing we expect beginners to achieve is a capacity for normalcy or well-being in their intimate life and their life in the world, but even so such is an ordinary capability they then bring to the possibility of real practice.
You must go beyond this bondage to another by transcending yourself in the context of relationship. Binding fascination with another is a version of romance, a form of binding contract. It is itself the avoidance of relationship, the dramatization of the self-contraction. Presently your commitments in these marriages are to one another, but you must commit yourself to God, not merely by making a promise to the objective Deity, but by transcending yourself in God-Communion in every moment and therefore in the context of every relationship. If you live relations for their own sake, you simply fulfill the destiny of Narcissus, and therefore, inevitably, you will show the usual signs of a person with an emotional problem in one or another relational circumstance.
Even what we might think are sane, good sex relations are, in themselves, a demonstration of the fundamental emotional problem. The mere fact that we live with others and are intimate with them presents no difficulty, but the structure of our living is inherently problematic and shows itself to be such whenever the pleasurable aspects of any relationship are disturbed. Until you are sexually free, even your apparently healthy intimacies are the dramatization of a self-possessed character.
I am not here merely to teach you how to become ordinary, healthy human beings with good personalities who know how to live well with others and function in a basically balanced fashion. From an ordinary point of view, to so live and function is desirable, but it simply has nothing to do with the spiritual process. The spiritual process is another matter altogether.
To get beyond this sexual bondage is not really difficult. You all simply do not resort to the Principle wherein this bondage is transcended. You talk about the Divine, you think about this Way, you argue it, you wonder about it, you doubt it and then accept it, you affirm it and then think about it again. To a significant degree the Real Principle is still a subject of wondering in your case. You are really involved with the same things everyone in general is involved with-the self-based search for survival, the motivation toward pleasure, the motives to avoid pain, suffering, limitation, frustration.
In that case, you are not a renunciate. A renunciate is no longer wondering about the Principle of the Way. Such a person has understood himself or herself and enjoyed the Transmission that Demonstrates and Reveals the Truth. He or she has come to a point of practicing a life of actual, moment to moment submission to the Divine Principle or Reality. Such practice makes it possible for such an individual to change every aspect of life, not merely to console his or her egoity with certain religious or spiritual principles, ideas, promises, and hopes-not that. The spiritual Way is always present Communion with the Living Divine Reality, bodily, emotionally, mentally, psychically, in every function, in every relationship, in every circumstance. It must be That to which we submit ourselves. If we observe this discipline, then in every relationship and in every moment we go beyond our accumulated bondage of reactivity, our Narcissistically motivated patterns and habits.
If you do not live thus submitted in every moment to the Living Being and Principle, then you are simply being played upon by the changes in your functional life, changes in your field of relations, changes in the great world, changes in Nature. If this is true for you, then for you the Teaching is only a little taste, some color, some consolation, something that helps you feel a little better in the midst of a life that is aggravated by egoic bondage. Egoic bondage, you see, is not merely bondage to some principle or essence inside you. Egoic bondage is apparent in relationship and it is created in relationship.
You entertain the notion that egoity is some sort of internal self-essence we must undo somehow by becoming involved with ourselves, going inside, and breaking it up, and so on, but the ego is expressed in relationship. It arises in the context of relationship. It exists in relationship and not anywhere else. Ego is an activity, not an entity. It is the activity of self-contraction, the avoidance of relationship. It is played out and made evident, therefore, in relations. We do sadhana in the field of relations, not truly, not finally, not ultimately, not really, in isolation. To deal with the ego you must deal with the life of relationship, you must see the ego in terms of relations, and intimate emotional-sexual relations are the most immediate field of relatedness wherein we see ourselves as functional beings in the mode of Narcissus.
Why do I use this metaphor of Narcissus? It is a metaphor for the ego. What I must communicate to you is that the ego is not an entity that must be undone, but it is a pattern, a form of activity. The myth of Narcissus describes an individual who withdraws from the field of relations and contracts upon himself to the point of utter self-fascination. Your self is just such an actor. Your self in the field of relations is what you must understand and transcend. You cannot merely think inside yourself, have spiritual ideas, and relate as a separate individual to the God-Force. You must transcend yourself in the context of relations through the gesture of God-Communion.
The intimacies people tend to generate-and I am using the word “intimacy” as a general term because it is not really intimacy with which you are involved but the failure or the complication of your so-called intimate relations, which are ego-based-these intimacies that you create are part of the dramatization of the self-contraction. This is what you must understand. This is what the Teaching is about fundamentally. It is not about anything else fundamentally. It is entirely about that.
Look at yourself in this intimate, functional relationship of sexual activity and sexual relatedness. See the contraction in the body. See it in the emotion, mind, and psyche. See it socially. See it in action in relation to another. Understand yourself and transcend the principle of self-contraction altogether. If you can do that, then you can practice sexual communion. Likewise, when you can transcend the ego, seeing it in the context of relatedness in all its possible forms, then you can practice the Way.
You are not living as renunciates with one another in these marriages, these intimate relations-not truly, not fully. You are living as ordinary married people, attached to one another through contracts, romance, conflicts. You are burdened with the same problems as any other married people and can therefore easily be interfered with from without, from within, by one another, by others.
You must begin to hear me, abandon your amateur spiritual game, and really practice this Way, really do it. To be a renunciate is to transcend yourself in God in the form of relations, through every function and at all times. This Way is a renunciate practice. It does not necessarily involve legal renunciation, although it may in some cases, but it is the Way of true renunciation.
The true yogi is a very profound, fiery, and serious personality. Some yogis are celibate ascetics, still very serious, fiery, and profound, but not involved with sex, not involved with the world, not involved with attachments. They are very serious about not having attachments. As true renunciates, you, however, understand the ego in somewhat different terms than the motivated ascetics, and you live out your discipline in the plane of relationships, but you must be just as serious about transcending yourself, transcending the binding power of these relations, transcending the binding power of your own functions, the binding power of all kinds of worldly, social involvement, the binding power of Nature. You must be a serious, profound, and fiery personality. You cannot practice this Way otherwise. You cannot be casually involved with life and its possibilities. But you see in our consideration together that you are casual about these relations, and your casualness makes you less than a real practitioner.
There is nothing seamy about sexuality. Sexuality is a very ordinary, human, functional possibility. Why should you feel guilty or self-conscious about it? You do not feel guilty or self-conscious about eating, breathing, walking, talking. Nothing is peculiarly strange about sexuality. It is an ordinary function. Therefore, it can be openly discussed and lived and freely engaged and transformed. But before you can engage it freely, you must free yourself from your ordinary bondage, and that is very difficult. Yet you are not practicing alone. You are given this Teaching, you are given this Blessing, you have all kinds of arms to serve you, and to make this Way at least very direct.
I look for the evidence in people that they are actually using this Help and actually practicing the Way. I question you, play with you, consider things with you, make pictures for you. I am testing you. I am Teaching you. That is what I am supposed to do, right? I want people to pass the tests. I do not look for more reasons to talk to you about what is wrong with you. I test you, not to find you lacking, but to see your demonstration of the practice, so that we can consider something else and I can go on to test you in some other fashion to bring you along toward maturity. But in my testing of you, you fail the test, you become ordinary, and so what must I consider with you? Only the beginners stage of practice. Thus, what I have to offer you is only being used minimally.
Nothing that I can do or that you can do in ordinary terms will rid you of your sexual aberration. Even if we were to decide to give up being sexual and to be celibate, your sexual aberration would remain. Therefore, we have no option but to transcend sexuality. In transcending it we do not separate ourselves from it but we transform it.
Our activity of self-transcendence takes place in the plane of relations or in the setting of our manifest functions. We are not egos within. We are egos as functional personalities. The body-mind is the setting of the ego, and the ego is not some essence inside the body-mind. There is no ego-principle. There is only egoic action.
“Ego” is the Greek word for the English word “I.” It does not point to some self-essence. It means just “I,” me, this body-mind, this conventional personality. The word “ego” is a convention. It does not point to some super-subtle absolute. It is a form of conventional reference, and egoity is a form of conventional bondage, a habit of the body-mind in relationship.
Therefore, to transcend ourselves we do not merely go within to find our inner essence and then somehow break through its capsule or its circumference. We live in the plane of relationship. We examine ourselves in our functional life to the point of self-understanding. When there is sufficient self-understanding, we are able to receive the Baptism of Spiritual Transmission. When we hear or understand, and see or receive this Baptism, then we have the capability of self-transcending practice, and self-transcending practice is total psycho-physical submission to the Living Reality in the context of every moment of psycho-physical existence, that is, in every moment of relatedness. Practice of this Way is always demonstrated functionally and in the plane of relations. Therefore, either it is obvious or it is not. If you are practicing, it is obvious. If you are not practicing, it is also obvious.
If practice were just a matter of dealing with some invisible, inner essence, people could fake it, put on a robe, put stripes on their forehead, take on some staffs given them by an institution, and all of a sudden be laudable personalities. But we know whether a person is transcending his ego-bond by how he or she appears in life, in the moment of relations.
Of course, the Way is not about relations. It is simply lived in the context of relations. The Way is about God-Communion, God-Realization. But it cannot be lived except in the plane of relations. We must deal with ourselves functionally and in relationship. Since that is the case, then you are, as people living and being sexually active, obliged to demonstrate the principle of self-transcending God-Communion in the sexual act, but also in the intimate relationship itself altogether. Either you do that or you do not. It is my business to observe whether you do or whether you do not, and it is my business to not give you the possibility of faking it. It is not my business to always Teach you personally, although I Teach you personally whenever I am personally face to face with you, but I Teach through the published literature and all the Agencies I have created.
As a practitioner you are here to be tested, always. You must recognize the test in every moment and be sensitive to how life tests you. You should also know that as a practitioner you are supposed to pass the tests! You are not supposed to be a poor sinner, always failing the tests and being forgiven. Such is downtown religion. Passing the test does not mean you are a super-virtuous, ideal personality, either. It means that you are creatively alive in this spiritual process, that you can transcend yourself in the Divine in the real context of every kind of moment, every kind of relationship, every kind of circumstance. You must use all of life, then, as this test and as an opportunity to exercise your practice.
Since the sexual bond is so intense, so basic, I look for the evidence in people that they are living the sexual opportunity from a spiritual point of view. When I am confronted by individuals, I look for all kinds of ways to inspire them to show me just exactly what they are up to in this area. I do just about everything to give them the test, to let them demonstrate their responsibility to me.
I have not presumed that it is in any way necessary to be squeamish about sexuality. It is very ordinary. We are not here merely to be ideal middle-class householders. We are here to cut through the bonds of ordinary existence. And the first thing we must deal with is not only this sexual matter, but the whole matter of egoity as a functional process in the plane of relations. Dealing with egoity is what understanding is about. This point must be made clear, because egoity in these very terms is the most fundamental consideration. If you are aspiring merely to be a happy householder and acquire the goods of sexual life, work, friendship, and so on, then your aspirations are ordinary, not the aspirations of a spiritual practitioner. They are not particularly negative aspirations, but they are just ordinary, egoic, worldly aspirations and they lead to the usual destiny.
Beginners in this Way are, by tendency, involved in just such a destiny, just such an interest. They have a great deal to learn about themselves. Only when they have learned it can they receive the Baptism of Spiritual Transmission truly. Only when they have understood themselves and received this Baptism can they practice.
“Hearing” and “seeing” are the essence of the beginners stage or the culture of The Free Communion Church. Those of you who are involved in The Crazy Wisdom Fellowship and the esoteric order are people who, we should be able to presume, have passed the tests of the beginners stage and who are practicing as renunciates. Therefore, we should expect to see the evidence in you already of sexual freedom and human freedom altogether. We should expect to see you growing. The esoteric order and The Crazy Wisdom Fellowship are not the stages to be getting these points. They are the stages in which to affirm them and grow on their basis, not to be getting them for the first time. Our community sorely needs people who have actually heard this Message and who are really practicing.
People in previous traditions also lived a spiritual way of life and were sexually active. They were renunciates who understood that to be a spiritual practitioner and also sexually active inherently required renunciation and that spiritual life could not be lived otherwise. They acknowledged that sexual communion is not merely an extraordinary form of sex-fulfillment or a more efficient way to enjoy sex. It does not serve the ego. It is an expression of the egos service to the Divine. It is an actual meditation.
Thus, the traditions wherein the sexual yoga was accepted devised all kinds of odd ways for placing people in intimate relationship with one another. We have discussed some of those ways over the last few months, not suggesting that we actually construct our lives on their basis, but examining what others have done in the traditions. For instance, practitioners would change partners annually or every six months, each practitioner arbitrarily being given another partner with whom to live. Or practitioners would have sex relations only in sacramental occasions of spiritual celebration when their partners were determined by the teacher. Or perhaps they would have sex relations only at random as they wandered, and when they came upon somebody with whom they felt they could engage the sexual yoga, then they would have relations with that person briefly and then move on. In certain Tantric societies people lived in monogamous or polygamous circumstances, involved in the same relations continuously, but they were obliged to practice the yoga of God-Communion or Spiritual Communion and transcend all the ordinary features of the householder. Many variations on the sexual discipline appear in the traditions, the basic purpose of which, of course, in every case was to break the cycle of bondage ordinarily associated with intimacy. And to break that cycle is necessary in our Way as well.
We have accepted as a matter of principle that people will live with one another based on their choice or their free commitment. In general, however, people create relationships out of the usual social game of erotic or romantic interests. They become involved in the householder world of childmaking and all of the rest of it. Then, having done all that, they want to create a renunciate way of life and to transform their sexuality, which they have created on that worldly basis. To do so is very difficult-not impossible, but certainly very difficult.
Since such is true of you, you must take into account that it is true of you and be willing to deal with these tendencies very intensely, to take a hard look at them and really transform your intimacies. You cannot, merely by casually continuing your intimate life on the basis you created originally, expect to realize this yoga.
Ideally, in our community people should not enter into intimate sexual activity until they are thoroughly prepared. When a child is schooled in our culture, tested, brought through sequences of learning to the point of being fully capable spiritually, fully understanding the spiritual laws relative to functional life, and then gradually taking on the usual responsibilities of maturity, including sexual practice, then as soon as he or she assumes sexual responsibility, he or she would practice it from a renunciate point of view. To do so would certainly be best and I hope that more and more we will develop the cultural capacity to help the children who grow up in our Communion to live in just that fashion, to live always as renunciates and never to become ego-bound and debilitated, never to endure many years of dramatization and failure before returning to the Teaching.
But you were not brought up in this culture or with the benefit of this Teaching. Thus, you are not habituated to think or act in terms that represent the spiritual Law. You are neither by tendency nor by learning renunciates, except to the fractional degree you have learned renunciation through your participation in my Company. Even so, you are still showing all the lingering signs of your past. This lingering irresponsibility puts a great burden of self-understanding and self-discipline upon every one of you. You are not fresh, innocent, responsible God-lovers. You are all “sinners.” You “miss the mark” habitually. This is why it has taken such a long time to develop our culture and our institution, because we are beginning with people who are already spoiled, who have first of all to unlearn their bondage, not merely the bondage they must transcend in the course of practice, but the bondage they must transcend before they can even begin to practice.
When you are free to practice altogether, then you are free to practice sexuality also. Sexual communion is basically the same as meditation, performed through a different asana, through the active physical personality, whereas you practice meditation, morning and evening, as a relatively inactive physical personality. Sexual communion is a different asana, a different mudra, but it is the same Communion, the same yoga. If you desire to practice that yoga in events of sexual intimacy, you must practice it in your relationship altogether in daily life. Otherwise, you will never be free enough to engage in the sex act as a yoga. You will accumulate so much bondage in your daily hassle with one another that you will be doing nothing but indulging yourselves as egoic personalities needing release through sex.
You must set one another free in your daily life, as renunciates do. Egos bind and console one another in daily life. Renunciates always liberate one another in daily life. If you were a wanderer, you could have random sexual activity with individuals who are ordinary and not spiritually awake, as long as their own vehicle was of such a nature that you could perform the yoga in intimacy with them. But if you are going to live with someone, then that person must also become a renunciate. Too many effects exist in your living such that if you live with a person who is not a renunciate, you will be involved in this binding cult, constantly having to address the limits in one another.
In your intimacies you should not address limits in one another. You should address the preparedness in one another, the living vehicle, the means, the instrument, of spiritual activity. Renunciates understand this and keep themselves prepared by remaining constantly active spiritually. They do not rehearse their bondage. They live free with one another. They always practice as individuals, and when they are in one anothers domain or in sexual embrace with one another, they practice as individuals at that moment as well.
In sexual embrace you provide a vehicle for Divine Communion for one another. Either you are providing a vehicle of conductivity or you are not. You are a medium for Spiritual Baptism or Transmission. What I Transmit to you spiritually you share in your relationships. This is why the community altogether is a useful circumstance for practice when everyone is a practitioner. Then every individual is a vehicle of this Transmission, a vehicle of conductivity, and it is not only in sexual embrace that we represent such a vehicle for one another.
If you are truly practicing, if you are truly a renunciate, you understand this and therefore you value the community of people who really practice and you value an intimate relationship with a person who really practices. You are capable of intimacy then and you value it as a spiritual yoga. You do not casually indulge yourself in associations where you are just struggling in the muscle of the self-knot and dramatizing your functional problems. It is not sufficient to be able to practice sexual communion occasionally with one another. You must always be capable of it. You must always be practicing it in one anothers company, whether you are immediately sexually active or not.
Creating intimate relations in a mature culture is a very profound discipline, a profound obligation. We must go beyond the marriage-householder convention. This sadhana is called the “heroic sadhana” in the traditions because it is not the sadhana of householders but it is the sadhana of renunciates. The sadhana of householders is different from the one you are given in the Way that I Teach. The traditional sadhana of householders is similar to downtown religion. Householders are given rules of purity and balance that will enable them to experience blessings in life, to as high a degree as possible at any rate. Among those blessings is the opportunity for a better rebirth in the future.
The householder dharma, therefore, the pravritti dharma, is not the great yoga of sexual communion. The sexual discipline for such people is basically a rule for frequency and timing-once or twice a month, not during the full moon, not during menstruation, that sort of thing. Such is the householder dharma. But such is not the Teaching you are given. You are given the yoga of renunciates, which may be lived through the sex function. It is the heroic sadhana, and it cannot be casually indulged. Sexual communion is therefore not ordinary pleasurable sex, in which you breathe in a little energy and try to keep yourself from having an orgasm. That is ridiculous.
The basic consideration of these impediments, these conventional egos, is fundamental to the culture of The Free Communion Church. When individuals enter the mature stage of The Free Communion Church, they enter into a more profound study of the three forms of this Way. They develop real meditation in one or another of the three forms, study and engage the practice of sexual communion, and move toward a higher position of maturity. And when they show all the evidence of that maturity, of full practice of one of the three approaches, then they are invited to enter the Advaitayana Buddhist Order.
But they must first demonstrate all the evidence of all the aspects of the discipline. We should not merely look for the best people in community right now and say, “Well, lets move them into the esoteric order.” The best people in the community at any time may be only the most mature members of The Free Communion Church. This is why I have taken such pains to give you the details of the stages and the transitions between stages, the real obligations that belong to each of the divisions in our institutional culture. I expect you to apply those guidelines, to make them the basis for considering the state of everyones practice. And because sexuality is such a fundamental disturbance in people, you must not bypass the consideration of a persons sexuality. Those in the esoteric order should not be people who are not practicing sexual communion and who are not free of the householders bondage. If people are in The Crazy Wisdom Fellowship, I would at least expect them to be free of the householders bondage and to be learning sexual communion. The esoteric order is the place where you must have passed through both of those stages, however.
The trouble with so many people who become involved with spirituality or with our community is that they certainly had many problems in the past that made them seekers, but then they became involved with seeking in terms of the spiritual or religious possibility. After they become involved in some sort of discipline here for a while, they discover that really what they are looking for is freedom from their ordinary life and their human neurosis. They have no real spiritual impulse. Their seeking is just a reflection of their neurosis, and as soon as they get a little more balanced and their marriage straightens out a little bit and life evens out and they have friends and so forth, all of a sudden that is enough! When they are called upon to become serious about the spiritual matter, they have no energy left over for it. It turns out that it was not even there to begin with. They have no impulse to spirituality. They have only the energy of aggravation, the energy of a neurotic going in all directions, including toward religion. As soon as that neurotic energy breaks up and they get a little more evened out, a little more human, then all of a sudden there is nothing left over, and that turns out to be sufficient for them! All of a sudden, “We were always happy. We already had it before, you know.” They have no concerns for spiritual life ever again. What people are called to in our community is the spiritual Way of life, not merely the possibility of becoming a little more sane or a socially improved personality.
Spiritual life is not part of our general culture, which is basically a world of conventional religion and psychiatry. Even the motion of people toward spiritual life in a higher form than ordinary religion generally takes is the same as their pursuit of a cure for their many diseases. People think of themselves as diseased people, people with problems. They think that the spiritual Teacher and the spiritual Teaching and God are supposed to help cure them of their problems. The Spiritual Master is therefore supposed to be very much interested in their problems, interested in them as problematic beings, interested in creating a relationship with them as patients somehow, as if the Spiritual Master were a physician. They think that as religious people or people becoming involved in spiritual life they are supposed to be dealing with their problems, thinking about their problems, working on their problems, getting better and better.
That model of culture has nothing to do with spirituality. It is about psychiatry. It is about the tradition of cure. It is about self-help and all the various psychological and healing movements in our society. This is not to say that those things have no use or validity. It is just that they have a secondary or inferior use, a lower validity. They are short of the consideration that is the spiritual process.
Our institution exists to communicate the possibility of Spiritual Realization and to serve people in the development of spiritual practice, not merely to create a culture of cure or an environment wherein they are to live as patients, working on themselves and being worked on by some healer or healing influence. Obviously there is healing in this process. Even in some ordinary sense we could say there is cure. But cure is not the principle of our Way, and the culture of spirituality is a different kind of culture than that of the psychological or psychiatric curing of neurotics.
The spiritual Way is a fiery Way, a Way that requires great responsibility. You cannot be a patient and practice the spiritual Way. To approach the Spiritual Master as a patient is not appropriate. Go to him when you are ready. If you approach him and are not ready, you get the fire, you get blasted out, you get hit on the head, you get tested, you get dealt with. Look at the traditions, not the various versions of downtown cultism and exoteric religion, but the traditions of esoteric spirituality. In those schools you were expected to be responsible for yourself, not to play the childish patient looking for cure. You were expected to prepare yourself for the discipline and for association with the Spiritual Master. You were expected to endure tests, intrusions, frustrations of your egoity, and loss of face.
It is this culture of spirituality that people in the psychological movements do not want to tolerate and that they perceive to be oppressive or exploitative. They simply do not understand nor are they willing to tolerate the specific culture of spirituality. They want to replace it with the psychological movement, the psychiatric movement, the cure movement. They can do whatever they choose, but they should not require religion or spiritual culture to be a version of the psychiatric culture they are creating. We must therefore make very clear just what kind of culture spiritual culture is and how it is different from the culture of cure, the culture of psychiatry and self-help movements, as well as the culture of conventional religion.
For most people just to come across somebody who plays the role of being concerned for them is sufficient. They could just as well become responsible for themselves, but they need the game of association with somebody who is concerned for them like a parent, who listens to them and tells them what to do in a very concerned way, playing the parental, psychiatric kind of role.
The spiritual culture is different from the culture of psychiatry, psychology, and self-help movements. It is a culture that is in many ways simply offensive to the ego. In fact, the spiritual culture functions effectively to offend the ego. If somebody lives like an irresponsible child in your company, then you must be careful. He thinks it is his business to become reactive toward you, just as an adolescent reacts toward a parent who is not playing the “mommy-daddy” and consoling him. To bring people into the fold of our community we must first educate them about spiritual culture, just as to function as a true healer and not just a doctor involved in compassionate medicine with worldly people one must create a culture of understanding, wherein people cease to play the role of the child relating to the parent and become responsible for themselves, willing to change their lives most basically and not merely to take a medicine. When they have made all the basic changes, then you can cooperate with them to treat whatever is left over. But fundamentally the life-change itself will relieve them of their symptoms. All the things they do when they attain a level of responsibility will eliminate what bothered them at the outset.
In any case, relief from what is bothering people is not the goal of a spiritual culture. Relief must occur before they can enter into that culture, before they can practice the Way. They must relieve themselves of the symptoms they bring to the door by becoming responsible. They come in the door when they have made those changes.
Spiritual life is a hard school. It requires “hearing,” self-responsibility, commitment. You cannot practice it otherwise. Such are the dues you must pay to get in, and there are even bigger dues to pay ultimately. But you must understand the framework of the culture of spiritual participation, then work within that framework. If you do, then you will grow, you will pass through The Laughing Man Institute and The Free Communion Church in a finite period of time.