Following the recent, blink-and-you-missed-it anti-Oshana uprising at this blog and at my YouTube channel (most of which has now been deleted), my wife offered a one-line summation, to the effect of: “What they are saying is, ‘Stop being so uncool as to have a guru!’”
My first response (since it was my wife) was that Dave is not a guru. I don’t generally bother saying this to critics at the blog because I know that denials tend to only reinforce whatever is being denied in people’s minds. Yet this is perhaps a central point of interest for me around Dave, as well as being central to my ongoing deconstruction of false ceremony masters: Learning to discern the difference between someone who is intentionally leading, and someone who is merely moving forward visibly.
Still, as my wife said, Dave looks like a guru, at first glance. And since (certain) people are responding only to appearances, this is what I, what we, get, in terms of offended offensives.
So what is the problem with all these angry people who seem personally affronted by my expressing love and admiration for another human being? Apparently, it is the WRONG KIND of human being, first of all. If it were a film director, philosophical writer (especially a dead one), or an avant-garde glam rock star, there might be less of a problem. But, since it is a SPIRITUAL TEACHER (apparently) who charges money (the horror) to help people have an experience outside of their minds, that’s just . . . uncool, man.
In fact, these characteristics (as you may someday discover) are also just appearances, albeit ones that can’t be entirely ignored since people get stuck on them and sometimes never make it past them.
I also wonder if I may be expressing the wrong sort of love and admiration, as in, maybe, too up close and personal? If so, this may represent an even deeper problem, or complex, for some—though not all—of my readers.
Some good did come out of all this, however: I got to nail down some arguments around this very difficult subject, and to better understand my own position. For example (culled from my own responses):
One recurring reaction has been the assumption that, since I have fallen into a guru trap before (and make no bones about it), I must be more, not less, susceptible to doing it again. This is based partially on the assumption that all spiritual teachers are created equal, and that the only sound procedure, once having spotted the flaws in one (or twenty), is to assume that all are made of the exact same stuff and turn away. This leads to the belief—apparently based on experience but probably only due to bitterness—that “standing on one’s own two feet” is the only self-respecting way to go.
By so reasoning, they also deny me—and by extension themselves—the freedom to learn from my mistakes, negating trial and error as a valid way of getting to the truth!
Those who blindly assume I am making the “same mistake” with Dave that I made with John de Ruiter, for example, ignore all the evidence I have shared that Oshana and de Ruiter are antithetical to one another in almost every way, and that most or all of the red flags—the “tells”—I learned to identify via de Ruiter, are things I have been able to tick off, regarding Dave.
Being “cool” is about learning not to show feelings, or even to feel them too deeply. It is how adolescents avoid getting hurt. When we are betrayed romantically at that age, we often swear, “Never again!” If we mature, we eventually learn that, while this may protect us from further pain, it also prevents us from any sort of intimacy or loving tenderness.
Fortunately, I am no longer adolescent—but then I never really meant it when I swore off love. In the past ten years, since marrying and also since meeting Dave, a growing autonomy and self-trust has allowed me to risk trusting others, most especially when they show themselves consistently to be wiser than I am about certain things (viz a viz my wife, but also Dave). I can now let myself be supported, guided, and assisted in my journey, without sacrificing my self-respect or capacity to determine my own choices.
Learning to sniff out the fakes— to develop enough maturity and self-awareness to enter into a fully mutual and healthy relationship with another—is central to this process. Why else develop discernment if not to use it?! No man or woman is an island.
What I personally see, rightly or wrongly, among spiritual seekers (including or perhaps especially the disillusioned kind) is the opposite trajectory: a form of dissociation that allows them to isolate themselves from mundane and messy human reality, under the guise of some higher “spiritual” station. This sort of counterfeit awakening allows a lack of ordinary human interest or engagement to pass for spiritual attainment. It also makes for some quite inadvertently cruel and condescending comments under the guise of “caring.” Unconsciousness is the most dangerous thing there is.
Now for the record, Dave Oshana is not, in my view, my “guru,” or even my spiritual teacher. But he is certainly something other than merely a friend (though I consider him that).
So what is that something?
Or perhaps, none or all of the above? Words may not break our bones; but they can certainly prove procrustean.
I freely admit that there are problems with some, even all, of these roles & relationships. (In the case of a role model, for example, the word “emulate” is three letters short of the word “emasculate.”) But, here’s a newsflash for you: there are problems with any relationship. And the more intimacy, trust, love, regard, and commitment there is in a relationship, the more potential problems will arise.
So what do you want from me? (You are here so I assume you want something.) Like Dave, only more so, I give my time away for free (though I do expect you to pay for my books). I am not a professional (experienced) in the same way Dave is, and am still learning the ropes. An apprentice plumber may offer to do work for people for free, just to get in some practice.
I suspect many of you (readers and listeners) are, in fact, looking for a mentor, sponsor, role model, guide, etc., etc. (as well as a friend). I suspect that is partly, even largely, why you are here. I also suspect that others—who may or may not have cast me and my words into the outer abyss of darkness since my latest loss of cool—have been unconsciously seeking a mentor and looking to me to fill that role, to some degree at least.
If people do this unconsciously, if they have disowned that part in them that is seeking a positive male role model/surrogate father-brother figure, they are likely to feel distaste, ranging from mild to extreme, at seeing me so openly and unabashedly displaying my own admiration and need for the same. They may see it as a fall from grace, a loss of status and cool, and may want to slap me around to bring me back to my senses and get me to shape the fuck up.
In doing so, however, they will only reveal their own neuroses, their lack of awareness and hence of kindness, sensitivity, or compassion. And so, it being the way of things, they will condemn themselves to remain out in the cold. This space is not for the cold warriors, but for the formless kind who are willing, ready, and able to come in from the cold, for good, to love wildly and without fear of exposure, rejection, or embarrassment.
If there is anything I try to exemplify, it’s the willingness to go out on a limb and risk getting hurt, for the sake of reaching the juiciest fruit, the fruit of existence that is why we are here on this tree of life to begin with. By hurt, I mean silly little things like losing face, losing my cool, losing my street cred, but also the thicker end of that wedge, being emotionally vulnerable, undefended, unhidden, and exposed to the world and all its barbs. I shall not kick against these pricks.
This is not a spectator sport, however. There’s little or nothing to gain from watching me do this from a safe distance, besides vicarious S & M kicks of the cheapest sort. In fact, I can imagine (and hope) it is pretty unbearable to watch it in that mean-spirit, which is probably why my more uptight readers get so upset. It is socially verboten to willfully relinquish one’s cool in public, to be awkward, unguarded, undefended, naked, vulnerable, and exposed.
It could even start a chain reaction and lead to a newclear meltdown! : o
Are you interested in being part of that? If not, it might be time to shit your pants or get on the pot.
This ongoing presentation is not for sissies, but neither is it for cool cats. It is for those of you who are at the end of your tether and sick and tired of pretending to be something you’re not. Who want to get real, no matter how uncool it might look, and who are willing to get to the truth of existence (starting and ending with yours), no matter how exposing it might end up being, for you and yours.
If you are interested, this and other subjects will be covered in the next FREE! online event at my YouTube channel, on Saturday the 30th March, at 11 am PST (2 pm EST, 6 pm UK time, 8 pm Finnish time). I have been also hosting an after-event meet on Zoom, for those who enjoy interactive time with me.
This has so far been a free and informal event, but I would now like to ask that those interested (in the after-meet) a) contact me beforehand and let me know (sign up; see my email address here); b) let me know if you are able and willing to make a small donation to attend, and if so how much. This will help me decide if and when to have the after-event meet-up, and I will base my decision on the amount of interest and commitment, measured in heads as well as dollars. (So if twenty people sign up but no one offers to donate, I will most likely still host the event. If only one person signs up but makes a $100 donation, there will be an event, even if it is a 1:1!)
Example of Zoom after-meet (only made public with the agreement of all involved):