Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment Isn’t
One Kind of Enlightenment — It’s the Only Kind
The mark of a true master is that he can express a subject of the utmost complexity with uncanny simplicity. Jed McKenna is such a master, and spiritual enlightenment is his subject.
His first book, Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing, was an instant classic and established him as a spiritual teacher of startling depth and clarity. Now, his second book, Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment, takes us on a fascinating tour of the enlightened state — what it is and what it’s not, who’s there and who’s not, how to get there and how to get somewhere better.
Delightful surprises abound, including the dramatic unveiling of perhaps the greatest spiritual masterpiece of all time — long hidden in plain view and well known to all. Whitman, Melville, Thoreau, Mark Twain and U.G. Krishnamurti all appear, and a student from the first book returns to share her Spiritual Autolysis journals. Also surprising are the author’s gentle efforts to guide the reader away from enlightenment toward a more desirable and accessible state.
Failing to fetch me at first, keep encouraged,
Missing me one place, search another,
I stop somewhere, waiting for you.
Jed McKenna’s books aren’t for everyone. They’re for people who are tired of the spiritual merry-go-round and ready to confront the unadorned reality of the awakening process. If you like your teachers with all the spiritual trimmings and trappings, Jed may not be right for you, but when you’re ready to jump off the merry-go-round and begin your journey, Jed McKenna is the guy you want to see standing there — waiting for you.
If you are really ready to Awaken, pick up a copy of this book today. Way to go Jed, you did it again! Bravo! – Shirley Roe, Allbooks Reviews
Brilliant!!! Jed hits another one out of the park! Buy the book. Read it. Love it. It is great transformative wisdom for our time. It’s freeing and ecstatic. But it’s not for the timid or faint of heart. You’ve been warned!!! – O.T. Schrock
The truth may be impossible to express in words, but Jed comes as close as humanly possible to describing it. You may want to wake up or not, that is up to you, but one thing you can be sure of – it is not pretty and it is more than refreshing to find someone who is not afraid to tell you. – R. Greenwood
Interesting and entertaining, with Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment, Jed McKenna has reinforced my deeply felt appreciation for his style and skill. – M.R. Fleming
Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment is another direct, compelling, startling and humorous book from the author of the self-shattering Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing. – R. Hanson
Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment is a compelling, punchy continuation of Jed McKenna’s first book. But it leaves me conflicted; to write a review that unpacks its many penetrating facets would be a book in itself, so I have to be content with the alternative of creating thumbnail images of its magnificence, which in itself would be flawed because there would be too many for the length of this brief review. – Dr. Kriben Pillay, The Noumenon Journal
Plain English – Straightforward – Hits the Mark. I have read hundreds of “spiritual” books in the last ten years, and this one is at the top of the heap. Forget about “paths” and wake up, is the message I got. How simple and direct. Not, however, easy to do. – Amazon.com Reviewer
McKenna’s even better the second time!
If you decide to read Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment, it’s best to read the first book first. SIE is in some ways very much like a “sequel” with tons of references to Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing. SIE will be much more useful if have the information in the first book first.
To start, there’s a letter from a very annoyed but obviously sincere reader of the first book. She gives a blunt and informative explanation of why some will find McKenna’s books completely inappropriate, useless, and even infuriating. In the first sentence of her letter she said, “I’m so mad, I could chew nails.” And then the rest of her letter continued with the same intensity. She ended her last paragraph with “Put that in the front of your next book so people like me won’t waste their time.” And that’s exactly what McKenna did. Her letter is right up front and replaces the glowing praise that so many found objectionable in the first book.
But there are many of us who feel differently than that angry reader. I actually loved SIE many times more than SE:TDT. In SIE McKenna continues to be unconventional, holding up as an example his own spiritually incorrect perspective and conclusions. And true to form, he continues breaking all the standardized spiritual “rules.” In SIE McKenna takes us on a journey where he interweaves the inherent spirituality of Moby-Dick, Julie’s wrenching Spiritual Autolysis, some relevant UG Krishnamurti quotes, and some other relevant anecdotal events. He very skillfully combines all those components in order to express how a spiritually incorrect traveler might perceive and process his/her circumstances in a way that will lead to enlightenment. And while finding spirituality in Moby-Dick seems at first questionable, as McKenna went along, all the undeniable clues fell very solidly into place, with the last riveting/tantalizing conclusion withheld until the near the end.
McKenna’s not trying to paint a pretty picture of the trek towards enlightenment, and an account of Julie’s Spiritual Autolysis gives us a peek into how distressing the process can be. On display are many of Julie’s tortured moments as she bravely but painfully ripped away her self-deception. And while there has been much speculation about whether McKenna’s writing is fictional, in Julie’s process I found truth ringing loud and clear because I’ve been in those same trenches and know that same kind of raw madness. IOW even if it’s fictional, it’s still based on what’s REAL.
McKenna also is exceptionally keen at pointing out how skillful we are at self-deception. In his typical “take no prisoners” style, he says this:
(pp59-60) “Who wants what? Why? Who’s sincere? Who’s just accessorizing? Who’s using waking up as a way to go more deeply asleep? Duality is a tangled forest in which many self-styled freedom-seekers wield the machete of discrimination with all the effect of a butter knife. Not knowing where, if anywhere, they want to go, they’re happy enough where they are. Fearing the genuine, they embrace the counterfeit; opting for words and adornment over authentic change, fueling delusions of spiritual progress with empty practices and useless knowledge, turning in place to create a sense of motion. Most significantly they inflict no damage on ego, using spirituality to reinforce rather than dismantle self-image.”
One recurring piece of advice McKenna gives is to find out for YOURSELF. He’s not asking you to trust him or believe him. He’s telling you over and again to walk your own journey, formulate your own questions, take an honest look for yourself. Burst through your own deceptive mask so you don’t ever have to look again to someone else for what is true. Your spiritual quest/questions aren’t for anybody else’s sake. You are the only one who has the questions and thus the answers.
And finally, when you do get “there”, you will have completely annihilated the “you” that you always thought you were. It’s not a journey for the faint-hearted. When McKenna was asked why he took the journey, he said, “For the only possible reason why anyone would ever do it. Because I absolutely, positively couldn’t NOT do it.” Some of us already know we have no choice, and McKenna offers a few words of warning. If you’re relatively comfortable with your life, you may want to consider this while pondering whether you want to read his books:
(p164) “…[T]his might be a good time to stop and ask yourself what you want, and what you’re willing to give for it. Not all fires are started by conscious intent according to convenient schedules. Sometimes they just flare up where you didn’t even know it was getting warm, and then you learn two things fast; fire doesn’t negotiate and nothing doesn’t burn. What do you really want? If you’ve got the kids and the house and the cars and the career or any sort of life you’re fond of, and you’re looking at the subjects discussed here as a way to spiritually enhance your existing lifestyle, then I should remind you that dreams are highly flammable things and suggest that you ask yourself, REALLY ask yourself, why you’re reading books about setting your world on fire.”
If you’re attached to your nest, you just might want to stay away from McKenna’s books. But if you’re already badly scorched and sitting in a pile of smoldering ashes, McKenna might be able to help you understand what’s been happening. In that way he’s just a way-shower, lending a hand to others as we venture forth in this harrowing readjustment of perspective.
When McKenna addressed a group who were studying the Bhagavad-Gita he told them that in regard to the Gita, “It’s not about the people IN the story, it’s about the person READING the story.” And when he talked to his friend Mary about Moby-Dick he said, “Don’t make it about Melville… If you try to approach the book through Melville, you’ll miss. The ocean is the true author, but the ocean has no hands. It operates through us.” And McKenna said the same kind thing about both of his books, making it clear that it’s always ultimately about the READER, not about the author or the other characters. And if you miss that, you’ve totally missed the point. – Amazon.com Reviewer