Part One: The Collective Me and Learning to Let Go and Live in Harmony
“Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”
– Matthew 7:6
Those rare souls who are connected to the inner knower are destined to be alone in society. Society is ruled by the collective me, which is a phantom self with no real individuality that has accepted the state of forgetfulness as its true identity and only reality. When we speak of society here, we also refer to its so-called spiritual aspects, including religions and spiritual traditions, such as Buddhism and Advaita. Those who adhere to these traditions also live as non-individuals in the condition of forgetfulness.
There are people in society who may appear to be beautiful, kind, and loving, but they are nevertheless betraying their own selves so they can fit into the paradigm of the collective me. A collective me is not someone in particular, because it has no individuality – it is both everyone and of no one. A collective me has no soul; it is a composite of the external influences it has received and been conditioned with since birth. There is nothing in a collective me which is authentically its own. It is a ghost living in the pretense of being alive, but it has no real substance. And yet it has overpopulated this planet with its countlessly replicated phantom-selves.
Many so-called spiritual people tend to be idealistic, wanting to save the world, help others, and live up to what they believe to be their highest ideals. This idealistic conditioning has penetrated everyone very deeply. One must get to the very root of it, or one will continue to be an idealistic fool. Ideals, beliefs, and idealism are for those who cannot live in a way which is based on reality. They serve as substitutes for true knowing, and at some point, such substitutes have taken over and become a virtual world in which most people live. Instead of waking up to the world that is out there, one is waking up to a dream that one has created in one’s mind. And even that mind is not one’s own.
Those who have connected to their inner knower have no choice but to live in the midst of the collective me, amongst those whose priorities are the pursuit of superficial happiness and ego gratification as defined by the empty and narrow-minded collective mentalities of various global cultures. How can those who have experienced an awakening live among those who do not have the faintest connection to the inner knower, and who would consider any communication about it as an incomprehensible foreign language?
Those who have connected with their inner knower are still humans. They have a lot in common with other humans, including physical and emotional needs, and the shared joys and sufferings that are part of living on this amazing planet. Having these aspects in common is natural and good. Just as we connect and share with all the other creatures of the world, including its mountains, rivers, trees, and flowers, so can we connect and share with other people. But there is one thing an awakened soul cannot ever share with the collective me – truth. Truth can only be shared with someone who has also awakened to their inner knower, because it is only the inner knower who knows. Otherwise, it is not much different than trying to describe the colors and beauty of a sunset to someone who has been blind since birth.
It comes naturally to have a loving connection to this planet, with all the life forms that it contains. But to have such a connection with the collective me is not so easy, because it has become corrupted and artificial. The problem with humans is that they have forsaken and lost their natural purity and the openness required to follow their potential spiritual evolution, which is their birthright. The greatest test of the evolution of the observer, or of the human personality, is whether it succeeds in transiting to the inner knower or whether it remains trapped in forgetfulness, intoxicated by its mind and egoic arrogance. Indeed, all the evil of the relative world is born from the collective me that has failed to cross over into the realm of the inner knower, into individuality. When consciousness begins to evolve in the mind, but fails to get in touch with its pure subjectivity, there is only one way it can go – away from the light and into darkness.
Concealing rather that Revealing One’s Illumination
For someone who has awoken their inner knower, a common pitfall is to try to share it with others, by attempting to convince or even to convert them of the truth of pure subjectivity. This is a mistake even if the person you are trying to convince believes themselves to be very spiritual. For instance, if one knows someone who has practiced Vipassana for years and, motivated just by real compassion, tries to convince that person of the knowledge of me when they have not been seeking it, one’s efforts will be fruitless and end in disappointment. Furthermore, one will probably also lose that person as a friend.
One needs to ask oneself first: Why has such a person agreed to commit themselves exclusively to the altar of Buddhism? Or why does another one lazily give themselves over to neo-Advaita teachings and satsangs? Are such people worth helping if help is the last thing they want? Their choices only reflect a shallow desire to feel good within a variation of the collective me, which they are already convinced is the truth. Because they have chosen to identify exclusively with their minds and their observer, they have no individuality, and there is truly no one there to convince of the importance of awakening the dormant potential they have for a true self. Ironically enough, in their egoic self, they all deeply believe that their mind’s finding out and knowing who they are is all they seek. In reality, knowing themselves is what they fear the most, as this would expose how truly mistaken and lost they really are.
Can there possibly be any sharing, or even any dialogue at all, about the inner knower and his higher order of intelligence with people like this? Sadly, there cannot. A wise man does not want to share his light with the herd of unconscious people. To expose your light in this way is an insult to your very self. There is an old and true saying in Taoism that a wise man ‘conceals his illumination’. The art of living in society is based on not letting anyone know that you are different than them. That way, you live in peace and quiet. Physical life is short, and your priority is to spend your time here on your evolution. You need to fit into the human world externally, while going deeper and deeper internally into the transcendence of the relative. Those who want to change humanity have already lost the battle, and making this their primary focus, they distract themselves from the very purpose of their existence. If you want to be revolutionary, first rebel against everything that stands in the way of your spiritual fulfillment. This is your highest priority and the way of the wise. This is the way to become a sun for this world.
Of course, some people are lost but still seeking, and have just ended up in different groups of collective spirituality out of desperation. If someone is really seeking truth, you will intuitively feel that they are still open to other possibilities, but never try to help a person who is not at some level asking for it.
How does this general rule of concealing one’s illumination hold in relation to making this teaching available to the collective me? There are some genuine seekers who are lost in the mass of collective spirituality, and there is a responsibility to make the knowledge of the true path available to such seekers in some way. On certain levels, this compromises the principle of concealment, and a regrettable consequence of it is that some so-called ‘spiritual’ people will inevitably feel disturbed and threatened, and will respond negatively. It is a sacrifice to let oneself become known to the collective me, so any exposure of this kind must be minimized, just as any connection to the collective unconsciousness is distasteful and can be harmful.
People have occasionally asked why I do not smile in the videos that we make. It seems that seekers are drawn to teachers that smile a lot and appear happy. For the personality, a teacher who smiles offers a sense of comfort, a sense of being liked and approved of. Also, the appearance of happiness is taken as a sign of spiritual attainment. But our videos go far beyond such superficialities, and are not addressed to the collective me. They are transmissions of reality, communications of truth, and are meant to attract only serious and genuine seekers, those who sincerely yearn for authentic spiritual help. This teaching is designed to avoid connecting to seekers on the level of personality. That is why the vast majority of guidance is given in meditation with eyes closed.
I could share something from my personal story of living as the inner knower to further illustrate this point. Since I was very young, strangers and acquaintances have often asked me, “Why are you so serious?” I did not feel I was being serious at all on those occasions, so this question was puzzling me. I wondered if something was wrong with me. The truth is that I was neither serious nor not serious; I was just myself. Because I was naturally introverted, my face was often relaxed and not carrying any particular expression of personality, with all its superficial subconscious emotions. People were unused to this, and translated it as seriousness. They felt disconcerted, and felt there was an anti-social quality there because I was not sharing or communicating on the level of personality. Indeed, when people encounter someone real, they are not able to recognize it, and do not know how to behave when there is no personality in the forefront to engage with. Introversion is often interpreted as isolation, inner depth as aloofness, calmness as sadness, and inner silence as seriousness.
The term ‘personality’ is not synonymous with ‘collective me’ because there is also the correct, transparent personality that is a natural extension of the soul. However, if one only has personality, it becomes the equivalent of the collective me. What is personality really? It is the human sense of self experienced in the context of our psychological structure. For the collective me, its thoughts and emotions are all that it is. There is nothing behind them, no subject, no experiencer. If we were to take away thoughts and emotions from personality, nothing would remain.
Is your Inner Knower Truly Present?
One of the main challenges for anyone who enters the real path is that they are divided initially, split between their inner knower and the observer. The observer has been structured and conditioned to feel and to think like the collective me. So before we even begin to ask the question of how can we live as the inner knower in the midst of the collective me, we must first honestly check if we have truly become individuals or if a greater part of our identity is actually still locked in the collective mind. This is important to be clear about, for how can we fully step out of the collective mind if we are still serving it?
The mind of the observer is not really yours. It has been imposed on you through having been born in and brought up by society. You might think that you believe this or that, but these are not your beliefs. They have all been imposed on you. If you really want to know if what you think is true, you must be aware of your reality and the reality around you with the ‘eyes’ of the only one who is in possession of real intelligence – the inner knower.
To see the world from the inner knower does not mean that we have all the answers, but at least we do not pretend to know when we do not. This inner honesty is a prerequisite for the possibility of discovering the truth.
Anyone who believes in religious dogmas or dogmas about ‘awakening’, such as ‘everything is consciousness’, does not even possess the basic humility to admit that he or she does not really know truth. Such insincere and superficial believers are doomed to live their entire lives in delusion. People live in the net of lies they have woven around their phantom self, and the more they lie to themselves, the more they need to keep lying to reinforce the fabric of lies that has become their virtual reality.
The foundation of collective me is comprised only of falsehoods, and collective me’s most dishonest manifestations are the religious and spiritual ones. Their free and careless misuse of such sacred words as ‘enlightenment’ and ‘self-realization’ to serve their ends based on falsehoods is reprehensible. The collective me is born of fear, the fear of truth, and a defense against discovering that all they hold to be true and real – including themselves – are lies.
But coming back to our main subject of how to live in the world that is dominated by the false consciousness of the collective me, as we have said, you must first ask yourself if you are truly out of it. If you are half in and half out, this means that you are still deeply invested in the collective mind through psychological dependence or idealism, and that you continue to be, to a large degree, a supporter and defender of the collective lie. Then, after honestly recognizing and admitting to this fact, you must completely let go of all of your identification with that collective part of yourself, for the sake of the life of your sacred being, and shift entirely into the precious now that is governed by the free will of the intelligence of the inner knower.
If you truly get out of the collective me, do you really need to ask the question about how to live in a society that is based on maintaining spiritual amnesia? No, you don’t. You surrender to what is, and let go of caring about things that you cannot change. To be an individual is to be free from the unconscious impulse to fit in to try to please others with the ulterior motive that those others will accept or please you. To be an individual is to stand on your own feet and claim the truth of your existence, which belongs to your divine self.
Of course, even with this awakened stance, you still keep learning how to live in the world, and one of the things you learn is that there is not much difference between living among other creatures, trees, and flowers than there is in living among other humans. You learn that you can love life in all its forms, but you do not seek to share deeper communication and understanding with those forms of life which are incapable of understanding them.
Part 2: Anthropocentrism, Emotional Connections,
and Guarding Our Light
Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.
The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy.
You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.”
– The Matrix
Pitfall of Anthropocentrism
The collective me is a human phenomena, which is defined by the mind of human society. Living in seclusion, completely isolated from society, is hardly a viable or realistic option in these days when the human population has spread to virtually every corner of the habitable earth. We are part of the human world, and this cannot be ignored.
However, we do have a choice as to how we live in the human world. And we must be clear and careful that our choice does not reflect a hidden anthropocentrism, where we believe that human beings are the central and most significant aspect of the universe, and that everything must be interpreted in terms of human-defined values. We have become so attached to the human reality that we tend to view the whole of existence in our own terms. No wonder that in most religions even heaven and hell are occupied by humans, while other creatures are just there to serve human ends. Many religions even see god as some kind of heavenly superhuman who created the world. God is often depicted as a he or she, father or mother. We are excessively concerned with humanity because we are part of the human tribe, and our physical survival and emotional gratification are based on our inter-human relations.
The collective me is by its very nature in a state of suffering and discomfort. Accordingly, its main motivation is to seek happiness or at least reduce its suffering. Movies are invariably based on propagating the myth of human fulfillment through a career, material success, and finding a life-partner, usually for the purpose of propagating and adding more collective mes to the already overpopulated earth. For collective me, reality entirely revolves around human life, human society, human love, human art, cities filled with human creations, its tribes, nations, wars, and the taming of nature so that it better serves humanity. In our over-humanization, we just cannot see beyond our human race. We are stuck in our humanity, just as apes are in their monkey minds. But the whole point of becoming more conscious is to see, understand, and appreciate reality more deeply, to transcend this compulsive and narrow focus.
We are obviously humans, but we are also much more than what is usually considered human. In our core, we are transcendent. We realize the potential of our true self within our human consciousness, but just as the snake sheds its skin, we are in the continuous process of transcending our past selves, leaving our earlier limitations behind us, and evolving to increasingly higher identities and realities.
The important thing to understand is that through spiritual awakening we become different beings, a completely different species in terms of our identity, and as a consequence, in terms of from where we live and express ourselves in the outer world. We still share common threads with other humans, but we are no longer defined by humanity. It has now become our past. We become more universal and more transcendent, and our intelligence becomes higher and purer. We can still speak the human language, but humanity cannot speak our language; it cannot understand who we have become and continue becoming as we move further and further away from the earthly mind. It is natural and inevitable that we become strangers to other humans when they remain frozen in an infantile stage of evolution.
If you desperately want to belong, to be a part of normal society, you will have to regress spiritually so that your consciousness can reflect the consciousness of others. What defines the levels of higher evolution of a species is not just its physical attributes or psychological conditioning and habits, but its consciousness. If one person is in pure consciousness and the other is living in the observer, where can they meet? What do they have in common? Other than connecting physically and emotionally, they are living in different worlds.
Does this make you feel isolated? If the answer is yes, it means that you have not yet truly accepted your aloneness. It means you are still dependent, still a social sheep needing the warmth of the flock. And above all, it means that you have not yet grown to honor yourself and appreciate the transcendental value of your pure subjectivity. You have not yet sufficiently fallen in love with the love of your true self.
Emotional Connection with a Collective Me
One question which is often asked is: Can I have a deeper connection, especially a romantic one, with someone who is not drawn to the spiritual path? Before we answer this, we need to be clearer about the use of the term ‘spiritual path’. Firstly, most people who are on a so-called spiritual path are living in the same, or even in a greater, illusion than those who make no pretense of being spiritual. The truth of the matter is that the ‘spiritual’ ego tends to be even more arrogant and deluded than egos found in ordinary, non-spiritual society.
Secondly, the fact that someone is not following any path in particular does not mean that he or she is not spiritual or that the inner knower is not present. There is a scenario in which the outer knower is not developed enough to translate the longing of the inner knower into a concrete spiritual path. However, just statistically speaking, people who have connected to the inner knower are so rare that it is most likely that a person you may be drawn to establishing a connection with is someone who lives entirely in the realm of the observer.
So, then, the question is whether it is possible to have a loving connection with someone who has never awoken any longing for pure subjectivity and whose sense of self is entirely defined by the observer, by personality. And yes, it is possible if there is an emotional resonance and a certain sense of harmony in other respects between you. It all depends on how the particular observer has developed in the other person. Some people, even though not spiritually conscious, have still retained an inherent innocence and preserved some peaceful and kind-hearted qualities in their observer. You can also even develop emotional connections with trees or animals which have not yet evolved on the level of ego, just because such a creature is very loving and innocent. People who still have such innocence are not very common, but one does encounter them occasionally.
An emotional connection and a spiritual connection are not the same. To have an emotional connection, the heart has to be involved in a personal way, which manifests in the form of liking or loving someone. You might find yourself having a personal loving connection with someone who has no link at all to the path, but not feel any personal connection whatsoever to another person who has. So there may be no obvious patterns dictating whom you will find yourself wanting to spend time with.
Then, there is romantic love, where you may seek to find ‘the one’ for you, and experience deeper intimacy and companionship. There is such a thing as romantic love, but it has become highly overrated and ridiculously romanticized by the collective me through countless books and movies. The collective me has no internal life and no real meaning to its existence, and so is in a constant search of meaning. Looking for a perfect partner is one of its main strategies to distract itself from its internal emptiness. The truth is that only when you transcend and dissolve your emotional dependence, and when you begin to experience the other person from an identity based in pure subjectivity, in which you are loving yourself, can you finally have a sense of what loving another soul really means.
The thing is that even if one has awakened the inner knower but remains immature emotionally or has not integrated the observer, one will still project too much energy into personality. This results in becoming emotionally over-dependent and having unrealistic expectations of romantic love. This may be fine while one is still learning and growing, because it is important to have a broad experience of worldly life, both the real and the illusory, but sooner or later our perception of romantic love has to be transformed and aligned with the principle of internal independence and self-love.
In short, yes, it is possible to have a deep emotional connection and relationship with a person who is spiritually undeveloped, but you will not be able to share your spiritual life with them and will remain alone in that aspect. For such a connection to work, the other person not only has to resonate with you emotionally, but also needs to have a harmonious observer; their observer needs to be innocent and peaceful. If their observer is not balanced and compatible in these ways, the relationship will be disturbing to your spiritual life.
Those who live from the inner knower no longer have the need, which comes from emotional emptiness, to share their inner life through personality. They are absolutely content to be alone because their aloneness is not isolation, but oneness with all that is. The need to share, especially when it is excessive, is a sign of too much emotional dependency and an unintegrated outer knower.
Guarding Our Light in the World of Shadows
Another point about sharing our spiritual life is that it is not only on the level of communicating verbally about spiritual matters. It is also, and even more importantly, sharing on the level of your energy and light. While sharing on these higher levels is more likely to happen with others who are on the path, it can also be possible with another who may, even unknowingly, be spiritual and not be outwardly on the path at all.
So one of the most important elements of learning the art of living in the collective me is to learn how to protect your light. Society does not like people who are different. It can accept certain levels of eccentricity, but it will not accept anything or anyone who is threatening its status quo. The message of the inner knower is deeply threatening to society, but in an entirely unconscious way, because the collective mind cannot relate to it consciously. Society is composed of its robotic soldiers who instinctively protect its state of mind, since above all, society is actually nothing more than a state of mind. Each person who is disconnected from the inner knower is a soldier of the collective mind; this is how things are in the reality of the collective me. And the moment they sense that you are different, they will instinctively, if only unconsciously, regard you as their enemy. The more you try to help them, the more they will see you as a threat.
One strategy is to convince you that you need to become ‘normal’, or that something is wrong with you. Others might impose psychological pressure on you to force you become ‘normal’. If this does not work, they will threaten you by rejecting you, or not allowing you to be part of their tribe. For instance, some parents stop supporting their son or daughter financially when they begin sitting in meditation or going to retreats. So you may gradually become somewhat of an outcast. The pressures you may experience from the collective me are usually not as obvious as these examples, and are often expressed and felt in other, more subtle ways.
Since the collective mind has also developed an imitation of real spirituality, followers of these are usually countenanced by the collective me. For instance, Buddhism is regarded as a religion, so it is socially correct to accept anyone who chooses to be a Buddhist. It is also okay to perform shallow spiritual exercises like yoga because yoga has become fashionable in some circles. So as can be seen, society learns and adapts so long as its status quo remains intact. It is in just this way that the neo-Advaita movement has become so popular – because it has been assimilated by collective me, by the human monkey. Such acceptance is the best way to defeat the threat of spiritual illumination, to corrupt and deform it to the level of mediocrity and absurdity. All the deluded fools who are playing with half-witted non-duality are happy members of the collective mind.
But if you begin to speak to them of the inner knower, of pure subjectivity, of the light of me, it will not be something they can accept, and you will be rejected psychologically and otherwise. They can never accept your message or respect you for who you are, because such acceptance and respect would force them to have to reject the whole of who they believe themselves to be, together with their perception of reality. And being rejected by the collective me is not the biggest issue. The collective me is persistent and aggressive, and through its countless soldiers, it will keep trying to convince you that you must come back to your senses. If you are weak, they will gradually get to you, infiltrating your mind and manipulating your very belief system.
One strategy you can use is to keep your inner reality to yourself and not share your deepest truth. But even if you do not share, people will sense that there is something different about you, and as this will be disturbing to them, they will try to change you anyway. If they succeed, they will kill you spiritually; they will extinguish the flame of your soul.
We often speak about the need to become a warrior of light on the path, because without shaping your character and forging your spirit, you will succumb to your lower nature and give up the persistent struggle required to regain your true self. However, an important aspect beyond the concept of the warrior of light is also to develop the strength and integrity that allows you to be centered and stand in your truth in the face of others, in the face of unconscious humanity.
Living Amongst Human Monkeys
What is the difference between humans and monkeys? From the spiritual perspective, there is not much difference because their levels of consciousness are very similar. Both live in the observer and have no connection to pure subjectivity. The main difference is that the humans are cleverer and more sophisticated. They are monkeys who can read and write, monkeys with religions and philosophies, intellectual monkeys of sorts. Humans are simply clever monkeys who have become too clever for their own good, because in doing so, they have lost the innocence that all natural creatures otherwise share.
While these observations may be offensive to some people who take pride in their ‘humanity’, the fact is that living in society is similar to living amongst monkeys. How else could we define creatures who pretend to be intelligent but do not possess even a basic sense of self, and who spend the whole of their physical existence pursuing meaningless goals formulated by an inauthentic, fragmented self?
Does the knowledge that we live in a society of monkeys change things much? Not really. But it does gives us a certain perspective. If you know that the people around you are more or less apes, you stop caring so much what they think about you or what you think about them. If you have a cat, you can love it and enjoy its company, but would you ever consider speaking to it about pure subjectivity? You are alone, and this aloneness is the bedrock of your freedom and independence. And it is only from this bedrock that you can truly love everything and everyone, because for the first time, you will have fallen in love with the most important person in this world – yourself.
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