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In the face of history

Image of Gaziantep mosaic

One day I found myself in Gaziantep, a city that got wrapped in many layers of history. Hittites, Romas, Selçuks, Ottomans, French and Turks imprinted their marks on this place in the sout-east of Turkey. And while visiting some ruines and historical buildings I felt confronted by the immense wave of history and I realised how many kingdoms, empires and states have come and gone. Languages were lost forever, cultures faded away and great pieces of art were meaninglessly left behind. Sometimes they were swallowed by invasions, migration or conversion but sometimes they simply disappeared in the regular change of ideas, habits and relations.

How to recognise false gurus?

I can often be pretty harsh when I talk about gurus. I am nonetheless a big fan of the guru-principle for I am convinced that people often need spiritual teachers and that such teachers can bring their students a step further in the search for the depths of the soul. It’s just that the teacher-student-relation is too often abused and that lots of gurus do not make their followers more free but on the contrary bind these followers to themselves in order to become more famous, powerful or rich.

It simply is an undeniable fact that both in East and West many gurus are nothing else but commercial wolves in spiritual sheep skin. Throughout my own experiences I therefore gathered some easy guidelines that can help anyone to expose guru fraud.

Rulerust

In an earlier text I used the word ‘rulerust’. In itself it doesn’t exist but I could not think of a better word to describe this typical spiritual problem. Spontaneously it probably makes people think of bureaucrats and servants who can’t digress a millimeter from the rules that were forced upon them and who keep everybody in their vicinity imprisoned in the same set of rules. That probably is indeed the most archetypical form. But rulerust comes up more frequently than one thinks and it limits daily life in a variety of ways.

Levels of consciousness

Sooner or later every spiritual seeker encounters some theory which explains the different levels of consciousness. The spiritual evolution of man, so these theories uphold, builds up in different phases towards a climax of wisdom and perfection. In other words: there are different steps on the ladder that leads to enlightenment. The first step, it mostly goes, is the realisation that there is ‘more’ in this world and the last step is total unification with the divine that hides behind that ‘more’. Sadly enough one of the most necessary in-between steps on this path to God is often forgotten: to understand that there actually aren’t any levels at all.