5 Conversations Not to Get Into as a Seeker

The seeker game is a funny one. I am referring here being a spiritual seeker. One who seeks to find the answers to the "big" questions in life. Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? How does suffering end? Who are we? That sort of thing.

Seekers tend to seek each other out, at least during some periods of their seeking. The modern era of social media has done a lot for seekers looking to find the like-minded. I've been involved in a lot of these groups over the years and learned many useful distinctions and practices. However, it's not all a sack of roses. Spending time talking about seeking can become a distraction from seeking. Especially if those conversations take one away from one's path.

Here, in my humble opinion, is a list of conversations that seekers would do well to avoid:

How should I be?

There is nothing wrong with this type of conversation, on the surface, but for my money, it's better dealt with in early life learning from our families and culture. Not that those conversations should not be questioned, but since spirituality tends towards the "high falutin' ", questions of "how should I be?" get changed into, "what kind of supremely enlightened personage should I ape?" If you are looking into what it means to be you, then copying another person's mannerisms and code of conduct will only take you further afield.

What's the right thing to do?

This one is a lot like the first. If you are in a position to be discussing spiritual concerns then you should probably be mature enough to have some established sense of right and wrong. Once you allow someone else to transfer their sense of right and wrong onto you, then you leave yourself open to one of the big dangers of the spiritual world. Creep gurus. It's a sad-but-true fact that abuse of power happens more often when authority is surrendered to another person. Not all gurus are good guys, and most of them seem to be vulnerable to a sort of short circuit of morals. Since they are adored so openly for being so realized in a particular line of development, their other lines of development can atrophy. These characters can lose sight of what it means to be a civil human under the weight of being told how effortlessly perfect they are.

Am I on the right path?

This is a good thing to keep in mind, in my opinion, but it seems to be asked too early and too often by a lot of seekers. We live in a world of quick fixes, and short attention spans. I am a fan of changing paths, but only once you've gone far enough along on a path that you can honestly say you gave it its day in court.

What is enlightenment?

No one knows until they know. Before they know they spout nonsense about it. After they know, there's nothing to know, and therefore nothing to say. Of course, in Zen they would say, "but, you must say something", and I think they are right. However, again in this modern world of quick fixes, short attention spans, and encouraged false confidence, I don't think this conversation is one to be had in a casual environment.

What is the best way to get to enlightenment?

The one that works. If someone tells you something else, look for a price tag.

Now, I want to qualify all of the above and say that I don't think these are bad conversations to have. Not at all. I just think it's a bad idea to have them in certain environments, and most social media definitely qualifies. In small groups (and these can be online), with your community of seekers face-to-face, or with whatever teacher you are currently working with, I think these are great conversations to have. Context is everything. Watch yourself out there. Your path is important enough to deserve all your respect.

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