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Why I Seek Householder Enlightenment, Not Renunciation. A Guest Post by JESS

Doing laundry as part of his path to Householder Enlightenment

Doing laundry as part of his path to Householder Enlightenment

Get ready for a riveting guest post, if you care about finding a spiritual path that works for you.

Some context first: Sex scandals of spiritual gurus was discussed here at the blog in a series of articles, back in 2013, within the first year of The Age of Awakening.

Since then collective consciousness has definitely been awakening, and that includes further unfolding within the system of RES (Rosetree Energy Spirituality).

Many articles at this blog have documented how many Blog-Buddies here have moved into Enlightenment. I have been using the term “Householder Enlightenment” to describe this breakthrough, which is so very Age of Awakening compared to ages past, when seekers of Enlightenment would live as renunciates: Monks, nuns, priests, recluses.

You can now find a wealth of information here about a path tht helps for pursuing Householder Enlightenment, Human-Based Spirituality.

Just because of all the collective waking up! I think that’s why we have had such lively discussion here recently, when a newbie to this blog went over to Perspective on the Sex Scandals of Great Enlightened World Gurus and asked about those disgraced world gurus:

“Most of these gurus were meditators. This to me implies meditation does not make one a better person in society.

“Why the hype on the benefits of meditation since it does not confer high moral/ethical standards?”

That led to a very 2015 discussion about What Is the Point of Personal Growth? For You. For Anyone.

This morning, I found a treasure submitted here, a powerful guest post by JESS, who has so much personal experience to add to this discussion. Wisdom, too.

Here is her guest post, tweaked with minor edits and some headings to shape it up, and — most definitely — festooned with my big thanks.

How Could Enlightened Spiritual Teachers Be Corrupted?

I’ve thought about this question all night last night and today.

I was involved in a group with a history of this kind of sexual scandal. (And believe me, the public version was PG compared to the full story.)

Like many others commenters, I came to the conclusion that, Enlightened or not, the guru was still human.

Human, Literally

I mean that literally. The guru had a human body with a sex drive.

And if you renounce your human body (including your sex drive) as most gurus and many of their followers have done, but you don’t put up a strong container to protect that body, you are extremely vulnerable. The scandals we have seen are almost inevitable.

Can your morality be completely divorced from your spiritual evolution? I’d posit that is what renunciates try to do every day — emphasis on the try.

“I am too pure to deal with these pesky human drives, so I shall ignore them and lock myself away from them.”

Living as a Renunciate Doesn’t Protect Us From Still Being Human

Renunciate purity seems so appealing. There’s a sense that, if you are not acting in the world, morality takes care of itself: you aren’t doing harm because you aren’t doing anything.

Pursuing Enlightenment as a renunciate is a viable spiritual path, but, in my opinion, not one that’s right for most people right now, including gurus.

For Example, the Renunciate I Knew Personally

This particular guru spoke to his mother a few times a month in his childhood. And that was the extent of his contact with women before arriving in the West.

Here he was surrounded by the sexual revolution, with thousands of independent women who absolutely worshiped him.

I’m not diminishing his agency in those situations, but the careful container meant to protect his renunciation was totally shattered. He did not have any education in things like consent or the sexual harassment laws that we use to protect women in those kind of power-imbalanced relationships.

Other Renunciates, Making Uninformed Choices

It’s not just gurus, either. I lived at a retreat center where a number of poor decisions were made by people in authority, well-meaning renunciates.

What had to be dealt with? Problems with money, sex, alcohol, drugs, eating disorders and everything in between.

Poor choices from those in authority ruined lives.

The Irony

In this community, based on a renunciate way of life, people did not take care of their human selves.

Boundaries were non-existent.

And yet those same folks would meditate for 12-14 hours a day on retreat.

Householder Enlightenment Is Such a Refreshing Alternative

No wonder I fell in love with Rose’s concept of Householder Enlightenment.

This form of spiritual seeking acknowledges the fact that you are embodied. You must deal with the laundry and sex and money daily.

What’s more, dealing with human responsibilities in a manner that thrills your soul and supports your health and helps others…

When you pursue Householder Enlightenment, all this actually becomes the path to spiritual awakening and not an impediment to it.

And 20 minutes of Technique Time is just so much more efficient than 14 hours!

This Householder Has Not Given up on Enlightenment

As for why I, personally, still pursue Enlightenment? I choose to believe that though my focus is on this life and this body – that’s not all there is to this life.

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  1. 1
    Julie says:

    Great post, Jess! I visited a community a few times, though I didn’t stay long, and noticed how the swamis there were suffering.

    How their bodies were suffering through neglect of the physical, and through aspiration to something supposedly higher.

  2. 2
    Julie says:

    The great thing about living today is that it doesn’t have to be either/or.

    It’s a myth that only one or the other can flourish, that either the spirit is flying high and the body neglected, or the body is tended to and the spirit becomes earthbound.

    With balance both can be alive and well. A complement to each other. A partnership.

  3. 3
    Kira says:

    Very nice post, Jess! You put that so well.

  4. 4
    Jesse says:

    Fascinating post! To me, this is a lesson about the power of the Instinct.

  5. 5
    David B says:

    Thanks, Jess. I agree. While I’ve happily not been associated with sex scandals, I’ve certainly seen the “detached” and disconnected, the waifs that are perpetually sick and broke because they ignore the life.

    And the culture clashes.

  6. 6

    JULIE, KIRA, JESSIE and DAVID B, thanks so much for your insights here.

    In case all you readers aren’t familiar with David and his magnificent blog as an Enlightenment Coach, you might not know from this simple comment how extensive his experience is. When he writes “I’ve certainly seen”… he ain’t kidding.

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