Ever met a stressed out clairvoyant healer living the counter-culture life by the beach? I have. She lives upstairs from my partner on the North Coast of NSW, Australia. While, for the most part, she is an easy-going friendly, down-to-earth mum, and despite her spiritual nature, she also has two teenagers driving her to despair.
I caught up with her on the beach over the weekend, and we discussed what it means to be spiritual because that’s what people in that part of the world tend to do. She’d had some enormous pressures laid upon her in the last week, and while playing taxi driver to her 14 year old daughter, she tried to calm herself by chanting “Om Mani Padme Hum” over and over. That is, until a car pulled out in front of her causing a near collision, whereby the chanting became “For F#*k’s sake you F#*kwit!!! What the F#*K do ya think you’re doing?” Naturally, the 14 year old daughter didn’t pass up the opportunity to have a good belly laugh and a dig at her spiritual mum.
I had a similar experience with my 16 year-old son. I was meditating cross-legged on my special meditation cushion on the living room floor one evening while my son was doing some homework at the dining table nearby. After 20 minutes I came out of my meditation and with blissful serenity asked my son to get ready for basketball. He replied his usual “we’ve got heaps of time mum”. We didn’t. I told him this. “I’ll get ready soon mum, just stop telling me”. And it escalated from there. 20 minutes of meditation reduced to an argument about 20 seconds after opening my eyes. He, of course, was quick to point out his perceived hypocrisy in my behaviour.
My clairvoyant neighbour and I take exception to the idea that spiritual people don’t get angry, don’t swear and don’t raise their voices. In fact, it is rather annoying at how so many people try to suppress anger, swearing and shouting in order to outwardly project the inner peace ideal. Not to mention the illusion of control. Isn’t the Universe the one who’s supposed to be in control? Isn’t anger a normal emotion that evolved in humans so we can protect ourselves? Sure it may not be of any use when we no longer have to claw back at dangerous animals on the Savannah. But protecting ourselves from idiots, manipulative narcissists, people who want to kill us in their cars, and…..teenagers, makes anger seem like a necessary tool to survive life. Not to mention swearing. People who swear a lot have higher IQs anyway.
“It’s just humanity” was my wise clairvoyant’s definition of spiritual. You can still be humane and get pissed-off from time to time. It becomes hypocrisy when anger, suppressed or outward, rules your life while you keep up the pretence of living a spiritual life, whatever that may be. I’ve come across plenty of narcissist gurus. I mean lots of them! Nothing wrong with the (often) Eastern-style philosophy they spin. It’s the manipulative behaviour born from anger and ego that I take exception to.
It’s ok to admit you’re not perfect. Gangagi’s husband cheated on her with a much younger devotee and soon afterwards she had a facelift. Krishnamurti had a long affair with a married woman. A certain hot yoga guru…..er, well, let’s not go there. There’s imperfection and then there’s just creepy.
I am humane, so are most people. I get upset and angry, and I let it go. One of my favourite songs is by Indigo Girls, Closer to Fine.
“I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountain
There’s more than one answer to these questions
pointing me in crooked line
The less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine.”