Spiritual Warfare by Jed McKenna
Will Melt Your Fucking Brain
One Line Summary
Spiritual Warfare is the final book in the Enlightenment Trilogy by Jed McKenna. Go ahead and read those first to get a context of the ideas I’m going to be talking about here.
This book is less about Enlightenment and more of an in depth look into what a post-Enlightened person’s life looks like. He also talks heavily about what he calls Human Adulthood, which could be considered an intermediary stage between the Dreamstate and Enlightenment.
As typical for a McKenna book, Spiritual Warfare follows the relationship between him and his students. In this case, it is not a woman seeking Enlightenment like Julie, but a woman named Lisa who has started to become lucid in the Dreamstate. We discover that Lisa was a stereotypical middleclass mother who one day just snapped. She quit her job and dropped out of the rat race. And it was all because of a process McKenna explains later in a eulogy called Memento Mori.
Why it’s Awesome
There are so many misconceptions about Enlightenment that it’s crazy. People associate it with all sorts of mythical spiritual powers or honors. McKenna puts that all to rest.
As he shows, McKenna’s life is not much different from anyone else’s. He watches TV, plays with his dog, occasionally has run ins with the police and gets frustrated by stupid people. But there are some major differences, and they’re almost entirely mental.
An Enlightened person is in a perfect state of detachment. They may have likes and dislikes, but they have no preference for one outcome over another. Thus, an Enlightened person operates entirely from their intuition when it comes to decision making. In fact, McKenna doesn’t even call what he does “decision making’. Instead, he describes it as feeling currents and going with them.
This is available to everyone. We all have a deep intuition that guides us. The difference is that McKenna’s intuition is not blocked by his ego. This allows for effortless action.
But for most people, the idea of Enlightenment is just too weird or too intense. I admit I have my concerns as well. But Human Adulthood is much more accessible. But first let’s take a look at what McKenna calls the “Dreamstate”.
It seems insulting to say that most people are sleeping through life. You have memories of your past and if I stopped you right now and asked what you were doing, you could tell me. So how could you be asleep?
The key word is Reaction. The vast majority of people in life alternate between being unconscious of the present moment or being highly stimulated by an outside force into being awake. But either way, they are not consciously controlling being awake. They are merely reacting to the outside world.
To wrap you head around this, think of the last time you went somewhere exotic or new. Maybe a vacation to a different country. Did you notice that you often felt slightly more “awake” when you were traveling? It can be subtle but it’s there. You’re more alert because everything is new. You’ve been stimulated by your environment into being awake.
This is partially why some people love drama. They may hate the consequences of what comes, but they love the stimulation of feeling alive and awake.
Human Adulthood, as McKenna explains, is getting out of this cycle of reaction. You become conscious of your ability to shape your life to your choosing despite external circumstances. You become more deeply aware of the present moment. And your deepest intuition starts to become the guiding force in your life.
If most people are honest, this is what they want out of spiritual growth. They want to live within the Dreamstate, still believing they’re a human being on earth, but at least being lucid during the dream and being able to control it as they please.
This leads us to the big climax of the book and the series: Memento Mori.
The book finishes with McKenna giving a eulogy for his good friend. After laying waste to modern spirituality, McKenna describes why it is that Lisa has started her awakening process within the Dreamstate. Memento Mori, which is Latin for “Remember your death”.
Most people do their best to avoid thinking about death. And while it certainly is an unpleasant thing to consider to say the least, the result of denying your own death is massive problems in what you consider important. Most people care deeply about the smallest of things. Who has a better lawn, me or my neighbor? What celebrity is doing this or that crazy
Yet as soon as people are faced with their own mortality, their priorities receive a dramatic shift. You can no longer care about being angry at your spouse for not taking out the trash if you knew you were going to die tomorrow. You’d want to just soak in every moment of life, no matter what was happening.
Yet we all are in this exact situation right now. We all have an expiring clock hanging right above our heads. The horror of avoiding this is terrifying truth that we never connect with the beauty that can be found in any moment.
And so death-acceptance is a purification process. It burns away layers of ego delusion and only leaves you with what is true. By reminding yourself that life only lasts for so long, you truly live.
Why Does It Suck
A lot of this book is just an unnecessary about of McKenna ranting about modern spirituality. We get it man, there’s a lot of shitty spiritual ideas out there today. No need to go on and on for pages on pages about it.
Also, the book itself is written in a way that is kind of confusing. The plot is a lot harder to follow than the previous books in the Trilogy, which McKenna admits.
The Wrap Up
Overall an absolutely amazing and life-changing book. This book is for everyone, even for people who are skeptical about Enlightenment. Apply these ideas of Memento Mori and manifesting desires and be amazed at the power that is unleashed.
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