Spiritual Lust • 25 June 2010

The thing with joy is that you lose interest in stupid people.

Where are you guys?  You used to make me salivate and twitch, all the way up in to a wonderfully articulate lather, tight the way a boxer’s game is tight. I was so well trained, too: I remember my first real profs, slamming down volumes of Aristotle, Husserl or Ayer on the seminar table like pieces of freshkill, opening class with: “What does he do wrong?”

Reverie is all soft, like the language of Virgina Woolf and Lorrie Moore. Appropriate that their names are filled with double o. Oooh, aaah. Blah.

But last night, after another hypnagogic week in which even tornados ripping through both hometown (Billings, MT) and new town (Ann Arbor) are nothing but awe-inspiring, I accidentally caught some bad advaita in the form of a random podcast. Jesusgod that slime mold of the internet continues to spread, whether I’m looking or not.

Nondualism with heart, from Mark Whitwell to Sara Nolan, will pretty much save us all. But its near enemy is a kind of bitterness pretending to be wisdom, espoused by reactionary kids with closed hearts and terribly weak powers of reason. It’s just aggression passing itself off as ideas.

But what I never realized about bad Advaita until last night – really feeling in to its energy rather than hitting back analytically—is that it’s essentially repressive. It's a crusade against seeking, motivated by a need to discourage others from any hope that reality may contain something more. Bad Advaita happens when kids who fancy themselves liberated because they’ve successfully worked through their sexual or other repression of the prevailing culture then shift their repressive energies to another location. They crusade against spiritual desire. They wield the Vedas, Adyashanti and Eckart Tolle to make people feel stupid or even dirty for wanting more.

Spiritual desire is natural. Not dirty or necessarily delusional. Whether the object is sex or enlightenment, it is possible to be present with lust, rather than merely pulled by it into escapist fantasies. Intimacy with the present moment, when it’s married with wanting, just gets really hot.

It’s ok. Better than ok.

Practice/ All is coming.

Immanence/ Transcendence. 

Ascetic/ Erotic.

Discipline/ Love.

Fathering/ Mothering. 

Container/ Contemplation.

These are not problems for trans-rational people…except for those still bitter and vengeful over past pain. By discouraged seekers confused by the energy of their resentment and their rage. On the other hand, open-hearted nondualism is totally over the old pain of being sexually and otherwise repressed, so it doesn't have any interest in spiritually repressing others.

The feeling of bad Advaita–of bad yoga–is hilariously dualist. It's the feeling of nonforgiving.