When jerks wake up

There is a Hollywood version of enlightenment that makes some folks think you have to be “perfect” to wake up or that the enlightened live in a state of “perfection.” Who decides what “perfect” is anyway? The truth is that anyone can become enlightened. And all enlightened beings have unique personalities and styles.

“Awakening is available to everyone. Even jerks can wake up. Perhaps they have an advantage, because they’re not locking up awareness by trying to be perfect all of the time.”

Advanced Path book

Personal development and spiritual development are complementary, but you don’t have to smooth out all the rough edges to wake up. That’s the very good news. If you’ve been caught in the perfection trap, try to let go of all of your ideas of yourself.

“Awakening is a letting go of both the positive and negative aspects of your self.”

Advanced Path book

During the awakening process, which has many stages, it may be surprising to find in yourself and others that some of the worst tendencies become dominant. This is because any ego, patterns or imprints that remain (conscious, subconscious or unconscious) often become exaggerated on amplified energies. Except in rare instances (of avatars who have been enlightened in many, many lifetimes), after liberation there is still ego that has yet to be released. Most often, it is expressed as spiritual ego. For one who is not vigilant, it can take a long time to overcome this phase and some people never move beyond it.

“After liberation, continuously surrender to Light. Swim in it so that every last bit of dissonance will be washed away.”

Advanced Path book

Because developmental work and shadow work are not necessarily required to wake up, awakened ones may not have matured in all areas. Though it doesn’t change their luminosity, it does shape how enlightenment manifests through them in day-to-day life. For example, they may not excel in interpersonal relationships or if they were “jerks” before they woke up, they may still be playing out the same personality patterns after awakening. If you are interested in this topic, teacher and philosopher Ken Wilber has written about an Integral Approach which outlines waking up as only part of the process and includes “growing up, cleaning up and showing up.” Regardless of personality differences or developmental progress, a truly enlightened being can never cause harm.

Beyond personalities or perfectionism or mystical powers, look for what is silent. The true nature of enlightenment is the unmodified bright and silent field of being. And remember that enlightenment goes on forever! The journey never ends.

© 2015 Mu. Mu is the author of the book Advanced Path: Guideposts on the Radiant Path to Liberation and Beyond, available on AmazonAmazon UK and Amazon DE.

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