Memoirs from a mental swamp
by Debra Van Neste
One of the many carrots-on-a-stick used by the teachers of enlightenment, is that we all live in a mass hypnosis, trapped in thoughts and delusional about who we are. By identifying our self with thoughts, we become who we think we are, causing mental distress, inner turmoil and inhumanity against man. We cannot bear it if we are not special and above the other animal species. No one questions these teachers claiming enlightenment, and most fail to see they are just a product of their own delusions. When they fall, it is because of their last trace of humanity; a trace, they claim, they are karmically and helplessly working out. They are just as hopelessly addicted to thoughts and emotions as we all are. The only ‘virtue’ of the enlightened teacher, is that they know how to hide it better, a necessity since they have a business to run.
The above was the old way of gurus and swamis, but now there is an even more absurd new age way, teaching to let it all hang out; to cry, rant and be ‘transparent’, and of course, to hand over your money. The new age seeker is encouraged to invest in his own self, through workshops and venues, where one listens to the ‘teacher of being’, followed by sessions of ranting and raving together. One of the things that influenced me to pull out of this pursuit of enlightenment, was knowing a rather smart psychologist, whom I admired a great deal. She also was a part of the new age circuit and was adept at rationalizing things on a mental level, yet eventually, I witnessed her going through a complete nervous breakdown. She never recovered from this and is now in a nursing home, despite her relatively young age. I was still on the fence about spiritual topics and still was running after some teachers, especially since I thought, I had an enlightening previous experience. Luckily, however, such thoughts eventually wore themselves out, as I now believe all was a figment of my own imagination, something akin to a defence of me suffering a breakdown of my own.
I am somewhat convinced that we are often compelled to a teacher or a group out of deep loneliness and depression, not necessarily linked, as loneliness can manifest as a very separate anomaly, which made me even more extroverted than introverted. It was akin to the feeling of being a foreigner and trying to fit in. So, I tried harder and did not withdraw from life. So, when someone came along that showed me such a complete acceptance, I, in turn, ate slowly from the hand that in turn would feed off me later. This vulnerability attracts predators, who can see this emotional vein throbbing and gladly give you the candy and sweetness of friendship and love. It is not a question of intelligence on why we fall for narcissists rather it be in the guise of cult leaders, coaches, teachers in general or in relationships, but in social isolation. We don’t feel we fit in, or have a series of disastrous relationships so we question ourselves, but not in the way that is therapeutic, or self-critical we want a loving band-aid, we want to know we are good, kind and honest and that God loves us. We don’t want to admit that we are selfish, short-sighted, cruel to others, and just as in a rush to be a top dog in our own way. Looking at ourselves would be real work. So, I took the longest route possible and was an ass for many decades. This route would take me through a looking glass of my distorted thinking, and rob me of many years of genuine happiness. This is the beginning of a series of blog entries that will discuss my life and struggles, and what brought me to the dedication of critical thinking and awareness of undue influence. Nothing will be held back or cherry-picked, whatever I feel like talking about I will. Until next time, dear readers. Thank-you for your time.