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McKenna on Adulthood

March 23, 2012

Excerpted from Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment, by Jed McKenna:

So there’s the next piece in this ever-unfolding puzzle. It has somehow escaped my notice that most people function at an immeasurably inferior manner than that which is rightly theirs; beggars with a winning lottery ticket in an unchecked pocket. This isn’t really an enlightenment thing so much as a human development thing. This…can’t be overemphasized–not mine, but Thy will be done; the will of Allah; Brahma is the charioteer–if you don’t get this, you don’t get anything. If this isn’t your living reality, then you are, like most people, stuck in the ego-clad nestling state. If so, my advice is this: Observe this state. Make a study of it as it appears in yourself and others. Turn the light of your mind upon it. See it everywhere. Learn to recognize the workings and reasonings of ego. Dissect thoughts, words and actions to find the kernel of fear within. To know the lie is to hate it; to see it is to slay it. There is no nobility in spiritual poverty. If you desire release from this state, you should pray for it. If you don’t desire release from this state, you should pray for the desire. The nest isn’t life, as anyone who has taken wing will attest.

Enlightenment, a fancy word for awake, is for every single person to arrive at eventually, whereas this higher, unbounded mode of being is here now for whoever truly wants it. If you made a wishlist of anything and everything you could ever want from your spiritual pursuits and practices, Human Adulthood would fulfill it, or provide the means. Of course, most people are hopelessly locked into their lives and that’s why something so natural and universally desirable is so rare, but there it is: Most people stop growing at around the age of ten or twelve and die in the nest they were born in. It would be easy to believe that many, if not most, of the woes of mankind, on both the individual and societal levels, stem from this state of arrested devolopment. Yes, it’s as true of society as of the individuals that make up society. Look for yourself. Look _at_ yourself. Look at the news, at politics, at religion. Look at education, healthcare, business, entertainment. Look at the why, and the why of the why. All you’ll see is greed and vanity, the offspring of fear, all fear being, ultimately, the fear of no-self. Thumb through any magazine, flip through the channels of the TV, go wherever there are people, and you’ll see nothing but a morbidly juvenile, fear-infected, stunted, runtish race over which Maya reigns supreme and unchallenged.

It’s not that a better way is available and that most people fail to take advantage of it, but that a better way is at all times in full force and effect, and to function from the level of the puny separate self is to work in opposition to it. In other words, it works in our lives _not_ to the degree that we harness it or master it, but to the degree that we get out of its way. It’s really nothing more than coming of age; of fully developing into our own potential. You’d think it would be the primary subject in every home and school, but most adults are just children who don’t know they’re children, unwittingly perpetuating an endless cycle of complacent mediocrity. Believing themselves fully and normally developed, they raise their children to become adults who don’t know they’re children, passing the torch of spiritual dwarfism on to the next generation, who will pass it on to the next. We hope that our children might grow up to be president, or a rich doctor or a powerful lawyer, as if that were any sort of success. Rather, we should hope that they grow up to be grown-up human beings, and redefine our notions of success accordingly.

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  1. What is Spiritual Enlightenment? « The Buddha's Hotdog

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