I have been practicing yoga for about 7 years, have been a mantra disciple for 5 years and a yoga teacher for 3 years. I recently started corresponding with a guy (who is not really a disciple of any guru as far as I can tell) and after awhile we got into a “heated discussion” over enlightenment. If it sounds pitiful, then that’s because it is - who ever heard of arguing over enlightenment?! Yet there I was, arguing. His position was that he is enlightened, but that his enlightenment is qualified. That there are stages to enlightenment and that you can grow in it. He says he knows this from his own experience and insight. I tried to tell him that experiences and siddhis are not enlightenment, but he would have nothing of it.
Now this whole exchange had a profound effect on me, and it is on this that I’m focusing. What I’ve begun to realize is that I’m very attached to ideas about yoga and spirituality. When someone disagrees and refuses to pay attention to my attempted explanations, I get angry.
At first I thought if I only could “give up my ideas” then everything would be OK. The problem is, these are not “my” ideas. I have them on the authority of my Guru. If I remember correctly, Patanjali in one of the Yoga Sutras says that statements made by persons of authority (e.g. scriptural authority or the Guru) qualify as knowledge in that you can trust them just as much (if not more) as you can trust your own senses. In other words, you do not have to be a Jnani yourself to know something, provided you heard it from an authoritative source.
So, when someone says or does something that seems to fly in the face of everything I’ve ever heard from my Guru and other masters, how to stop getting angry about it? Would you suggest that I try to press on and go “through” the anger (i.e. keep talking with the person while innerly observing my anger) or avoid this type of situation.