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The DK Foundation

Releasing the Spirit 2

Faking it

              ‘ I must remember that a man can smile and still be a villain’.  Shakespeare, Hamlet

‘Fake it until you make it’ Yogi Bhajan

In this series of articles we are looking at attitudes and practices which, although they may be adopted with good intention, stand to trap the spirit of the aspirant, especially those working alone. The usual reasons for this are that the idea has been taken out of context, that there is an inadequate sense of perspective, or that the idea is anachronistic. We are all the time changing and the spiritual slant has to change too if it is to remain vital. This is becoming increasingly evident  as the Aquarian Age begins to settle in.

In line with the DK Foundation’s approach we are looking at this matter in the context of the western, post New Age landscape.

In this article we are looking at spiritually inspired pretence, or presenting an image, which does not accord with the personality’s reality in a given situation. To some degree, all spiritual aspirants do this, with or without awareness of the contradictions.

Human perfectibility is a process, a story that is still being written as it is being recounted. Perfection is a concept that stands for the process; it cannot contain the truth of perfectibility because the latter is a moving point.

Spirit is. We do not create it, we uncover it.

Human perfectibility involves unfolding in line with the plan, clearing obstacles and uncovering in line with the plan of an individual life and soul grouping. Only honesty and authenticity can prepare the ground in a way that will permit individuality to shine through. It cannot be served by pretence or imitation because if we are unique who can we copy?

Nevertheless, in the process of human perfectibility, learning to appreciate and co-operate with the perspectives of the soul releases us from the limitations of personality consciousness. If undertaken intelligently, conscious pretence in the form of anticipating the view from the plane of the soul can serve this process of dissolving obstacles.

The removal of obstacles through encouraging the perspectives of the soul has been the focus of spirituality in the past two thousand years. Those that have succeeded in achieving soul consciousness (or that we consider to have achieved it - not necessarily the same thing at all) have fashioned our idea of perfection, and it is the idea of perfection that underpins spiritually inspired pretence.

It is a strangely immobile concept, this idea of perfection, an expression of Piscean duality that removes any taint of personality consciousness and negates thereby the point of being in incarnation.

In incarnation, we all have personalities and personality consciousness. Yep, everyone, even an enlightened being. What varies is the degree of control we have over our personalities, the degree and facility of access to soul consciousness, and our understanding of what the integrated, aligned personality can achieve on behalf of the planet.

The concept of perfection that is so widely imitated bears as much resemblance to totality of human perfectibility as the crescent moon to the full moon. A soul conscious being stands for potential, not completion. Love and compassion are not ends in themselves; they are qualities that make it safe for us to express the higher-octane energy of spirit.

Love and compassion express the soul of God, not the whole of God. Islam has always understood that, whilst it has not been within the remit of Christianity.

Hopefully, as integrating Aquarian perspectives replace the duality of the Age of Pisces we will learn to show our personalities more respect and use them more intelligently. Personality serves spirit by bringing energy through for the lower kingdoms. If an enlightened being does not choose that role he does not remain in incarnation; if he does he will need a personality vehicle.


In everyday life, pretence a grey area; we are not consistent in our attitude towards it. In children it is usually viewed positively as evidence of developing powers of observation and creativity; in teenagers who are trying to find their identity, imitation is just about acceptable; in adults it is almost always viewed unfavourably, as a betrayal of self and an attempt to mislead others.

Yet to the esotericist who understands the attractive potential of form, the use of certain postures, expressions and sounds is a way of bringing about an altered state of consciousness. A practitioner who knows what he is doing is able to ensure that this altered state is of a higher vibration. It is the basis of yoga, the point of saying mantras and positive speech.

And there is nothing controversial about smiling even if we are feeling far from cheerful and saying that we are fine when we are not. Indeed, this is considered to have merit, in both social and spiritual circles.

The other option is to say nothing at all.

When I am teaching I will never let students get away with coming onto a room and disgorging negativity over everyone as they complain about their day. (This is a feminine trait.) No one needs to hear this kind of stuff, recounting it changes nothing except the vibration in the room, and that for the worse.  But spiritual aspirants think it is their duty to listen and to be seen looking sympathetic and interested. We are very, very image conscious in these post New Age days!

For the spiritual aspirant any problems with pretence comes from identification. A room full of people trying hard to appear sweet in the belief that this is what spiritual people are, is sickly and dead because the motivation, which is usually to impress, is wrong and there is identification with that image so self-awareness has gone to sleep.

As a matter of policy at the Foundation, we discourage students from any kind of pretence except affirmation. The way that we work recommends honesty in reckoning with self.

A spiritual aspirant needs to be aware of himself at all times. If we are to use pretence then we need to know what the reality is. We have to observe ourselves faking. This means having awareness of every thought, emotion and reaction whilst we are dissembling. It is very easy to get lost behind the image and mistake the dress rehearsal for the real thing.

Pretence can obscure the truth of ourselves from ourselves, distort our assessment of it and make us fear to be ordinary.  The principle of conscious pretence may be sound but the practice can be very flawed.

The effects will be positive or negative depending upon the degree of identification, the degree of understanding of the purpose of that image and the degree of skill in working with an image. That is the only generalisation to be made. For the rest it depends upon specifics.

An image of any kind is an incubator. It may help fragile things grow, in the case of the human being a sense of being part of something greater than self, but in time it will become a limitation and will stifle the spirit.

Pretence and the aspirant

1. Affirmation and mantras

Benefit: Creates desirable thought forms that will strengthen over time with repetition.

Pitfall: None that are too obvious although the habit of proclaiming truths (this is a male trait) can leave a person quite out of touch with himself.

2. Creating an outer appearance of cheerfulness

Benefit: Can make the personality vehicle receptive to and expressive of positive states and challenge the habit of negativity:

Pitfall: Resentment and distress ‘because no one understands how I truly feel’.

3. Striving to appear calm, loving and compassionate; saying the right thing

Benefit: Again, challenges the habit of negativity, clears a space to give something other than anger and judgement a chance

Pitfall: Pride, confusion, judgement - accusing others of lacking compassion is only judgement in another guise.

4. Emulating teachers in certain practices.

Benefit: A living example to provide guidance

Pitfall: Sense of specialness, delusion, retards the development of discernment

If you cannot admit to faking if challenged, beware! You are on thin ice!

Teachers and illusion

Many teachers, especially those on the second and sixth ray work with illusion. They present an image to attract the attention of followers and give yearning and desire something upon which to focus. By this means they may raise the lower emotions into aspiration.

And no, they are not likely to be their public image in private life or in their personal relationships, as many a disciple who has married her teacher has discovered! The illusion thrives on remoteness.

If you are reacting indignantly to this, ask yourself how long you have spent, preferably alone in your teacher’s company, away from teaching situations. It is no failing to reconnect with personality consciousness; what matters is how effectively separatist perspectives can be controlled and transcended when the occasion requires it.

Surely we are ready to hear this now. When we stop believing in Father Christmas we start to think about giving and not simply receiving.

A spiritual teacher working with illusion creates a frame, a showcase through which certain high energies and qualities may be presented in a concentrated form. It is like being given a shot of a very pure, intense substance. The illusion created by the teacher is designed to give the student a glimpse into another reality, but just as a ballerina gets off her points when she comes off the stage, so a teacher reconnects with personality consciousness.

Although the aspirant who does not understand the purpose of illusion may be confused, disillusioned and disappointed by finding the teacher has an active personality, and the effects of that are not to be underestimated, by far the greater danger in this activity is to the teacher who can become very slack because he has a public image to hide behind or, more seriously, can become identified with the illusion.

A teacher who has not seen through the illusion of perfection - and there are many of them - can still be useful to aspirants up to a certain level of development; but a teacher who has become identified with the illusion with which he is working can be dangerous. This kind of identification spawns cults and no one who is identified with an illusion has control over it. 

Always listen to what a teacher is claiming to be. If you are of a mind to listen, the sound alone should guide you.

The teacher who works with illusion walks a dangerous path and the guru model of teaching has little future now in the West. There are many reasons for this, which we cannot go into here. It is enough to say that times have changed and the illusion is backing up on us in a most unhelpful way. To be able to share our humanness and our experience is now far more useful and salutary that relying upon impressing with attainment.

In next month’s article we will look at what it means to be ourselves.

Suzanne Rough

The DK Foundation

January 2003  

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