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Eastern metaphysical concepts, and half-truths

Common misconception in what could be termed `spiritual circles`: wishing for a life without karma. Well, before wishing for that, think again, because you might just be wishing for death (see the video below).

I’ve seen it many times: people preaching about all sorts of things they don’t truly understand, and it happens a lot with Eastern concepts.

Unfortunately, since the beginning of the 20th century, some Western authors did a very good job at spreading half-truths when it comes to Eastern metaphysical concepts and practices. Mixing all sorts of things together, creating confusion, thinking that they’re smart enough to reinvent or improve on concepts and practices which have been justly kept in a certain way for thousands of years. As much as I don’t like to use the Eastern/Western cliché (although apparently I do), I will still say this is a symptom of Western ignorance. `Ignorance` might sound too harsh. Let’s just say it could be a matter of two radically different mentalities or approaches to life. The limitations of language come into play as well.

In any case, many people base their understanding on such authors’ teachings. Many don’t bother to look for the original source. And it’s not necessarily their fault, because they may be completely unaware that an original source even exists.

Eastern metaphysics (or other similar stuff) aren’t a must for anyone – there are many valid paths, and not all of them are suitable for everyone. But when one approaches it, they should do it the right way. But then again, we live in an age where everyone’s talking about past lives or karma, or is under the impression that they had a Kundalini awakening – not to say such things don’t happen (they certainly do), but they’re not as widespread as some believe. Such-called Kundalini activations coming from all sorts of sources became the new hype – well good luck messing with that, you risk fucking up your life at least for years to come.

Or take digging into past lives, another thing that has become the new cool – again, I’m not saying this can’t be helpful, but many times it’s hard to say whether what people see during regressions is real or it’s just their mind playing tricks on them. And whenever people start speculating and imagining certain things, it can turn dangerous. Not to mention that forcefully digging into past lives might even be detrimental for one’s healing process. There’s a time and reason for everything.

(At the same time, this is not to say that Kundalini awakenings or past life explorations (to name but a few) are reserved only to Easterners or something, that a Westerner is incapable of experiencing such things. Especially since fundamental energies of processes usually bear different names according to the system they’re approached through, but there’s a common essence nevertheless. What I’m advocating here is clarity and lucidity, not segregation.)

You might think there’s no real harm in using these concepts in this way, not fully understanding them, trying to make them mean whatever one wants to make them mean and so forth. You might say that maybe the author truly understands the concept of, for instance, karma, but nevertheless uses it in a certain way and equates it with, for example, negative trash, for the sake of simplicity. But as far as the receivers of the information are concerned, whether or not the author actually understands the concept irrespective of the way they use it, this is still a case of perpetuating half-truths. And half truths can be damaging or even manipulative (mixing bits of truth with lies or falsehood is at the core of efficient propaganda). In plenty situations, spreading half-truths about something is more harmful than not spreading any information on the subject at all. You might say that the damage half-truths can do as far as spiritual practice or understanding are concerned is not serious. On the contrary, there can be potentially devastating consequences, even physically. But the least that half-truths do in this respect is to perpetuate and encourage people’s ignorance and delusion. When in fact clarity is, or should be, one of the main pillars of spirituality.

Let’s assume just for a moment that half-truths don’t do any harm as far as spiritual aspects are concerned. But more often than not, an ignorant attitude makes itself felt in all areas of one’s life, and there will be damage. When one is ignorant in the way they approach spirituality, they will be ignorant when it comes to other things as well: their health, their career, their personal life, and so on. Or in regards to any other subject. The way one does a certain thing is usually the way one does all things.

I’ll leave you with one of Sadhguru’s videos, where he clarifies some aspects in regards to the concept of karma.