Spiritual teachings are spiritual vehicles; when we arrive, we can get out. Or are we still looking for something ‘higher’ or ‘better’ or ‘more spiritual’?
There is nothing higher or better or more spiritual than the emptiness of uncontaminated consciousness. That is the destination – the realisation of our true nature. We know when we have arrived because we realise that we are that knowingness, which is naturally self-aware, automatically aware without contrivances, rather than being aware of a self.
But oh, how easy it is to just follow others who are obsessed with “pimping their ride” (taking a vehicle in poor condition and restoring it, customisingit, and obsessing about it).
If we are not careful, we may be customising ourselves by adopting others’ ways or cultures. We become captured, fascinated and enslaved by rituals and customs: “Oh the lama’s car has arrived! I must go into holy mode, and keep bowing!” This isn’t respect; it’sobsequiousness, being obedient and attentive to an excessive or servile degree. No one asked us to do this – we just followed what others were doing.
Do you think this does not happen? How easy it is to be controlled by a bell …
This video by the illusionist, Derren Brown, is a Solomon Asch-type experiment. The Asch Experiment was designed to test how peer pressure to conform influences our judgment and individuality.
We are so desperate to be “in the know” that most of us conform unwittingly, without a word being spoken. Those who ‘know’ – the inner group – run the outer group – and we all want to be in the inner group, don’t we? This is how our world runs! Children learn to play the game, Follow The Leader.
We want to lord it over others, and we’re so desperate to ‘get it right’ and ‘look right’ that we spend our entire life conforming in order to impress those who are doing the very same thing to us.
It happens in religion, and it happens in Buddhism.
Group-think is a human trait.
Be aware of unconscious conformity:
It can become scary.