Enlightened people can very difficult to be around… Over the years I have interacted with individuals that have experienced a time of spiritual enlightenment or renewal in their life. I have known others that have had a similar life occurrence in the academic realm. It would be nice to think that the spiritually enlightened among us are now closer to God, and thus able to make a significant difference in the world we live in as a result. The same would be true of the academically enriched. Their new found intellectual prowess would lead them to search for a cure for cancer, or write a book that would be enriching to its readers. My experience tells me otherwise.
My experience tells me that enlightened people can be exceedingly difficult to be around. Their new found spiritual commitment leads to a form of arrogance that I find particularly repulsive. The same principle hold true in the scholastic realm. There is a complete lack of tolerance for the rest of us that remain unenlightened. In the process of becoming enlightened, the virtue of patience was dropped off at a street corner and became hopelessly lost. Those of us that remain in the dark are perceived very negatively. In some cases, we are just like boxes in a messy garage that need to be shoved aside. In extreme cases, we find ourselves having fingers pointing at us. The mantra being shouted to us is: Don’t you get it? What is wrong with you?
I have a solution to such pompous behavior. But first I must confess… My sweet little bride of 28 years reminds me periodically that I too have a streak of arrogance. When I was completing my doctoral degree 10 years ago, she gently rebuked behavior that I displayed with my cohorts that she appropriately dubbed “academic arrogance.” I laughed it off at the time, but now I realize there is nothing funny about it.
I shall therefore rephrase! I don’t have a solution for such displays of evil pride, but I do have a few ideas for all of us…Real growth in any realm of life does not occur until we can be patient with the person who has not had that experience. Arrogance nullifies growth. This is especially true in the spiritual and theological realm. If you are prideful in your new found knowledge or spiritual experience, that is not from God. Such conceit is chalked full of iniquity.
One last thought: Truly enlightened people don’t impose themselves on anyone. They use their newly found knowledge or experience to make a difference in the lives of others. They serve all people across the board in a spirit of humility and kindness. If given a forum to share their ideas, they do so in a spirit of unequivocal compassion. The needs of others are first and foremost on their mind. Divinely authored enlightenment eradicates pride and fuels humility. In fact, truly enlightened people are a real joy to be around.