Jed McKenna 

Jed McKenna - name used as the author of the Enlightenment Trilogy. To visit website click here 

1.  Spiritual Enlightenment, The Damnedest Thing

2. Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment

3. Spiritual Warfare 

For wonderful YouTube videos created by AhabCapt of various potent passages from the above three books please click here.

Excerpts taken from book Spiritual Warfare

Page 192 - 219

Alternative beliefs and outlooks, alternative business and politics, alternative lifestyles and health care, alternative foods and fabrics, alternative child rearing and schooling, alternative fuels and energies - alternative everything, basically, but not very alternative. These are the alternatives within the established paradigm, not alternatives to it; a subherd running in parallel to the main body. Rather than detaching from their ego structures, alternative people merely reshape them along more heart-felt and self-centric lines, their multivarious goals and ideals reducing to personal happiness via the removal, avoidance, and denial of unhappiness. In short, they make a minor course adjustment from orthodox to somewhat less orthodox beliefs, and the reason underlying the many apparent reasons for this change is always the same; survival of ego. A chameleon-like adaptability is one of Maya's most effective maneuvers. Paint some trees on the walls of your cell and some clouds on the ceiling and you're free as a bird.  


Alternative people have convinced themselves that they have escaped from incarceration when they have merely burrowed from one cell into another and labeled the new one Freedom. In this prison of ego, world-view and cell decor are synonymous. Many live in perpetual dissatisfaction with their cell and seek remedy by introducing new and exciting decorative touches; a swatch of Buddhism here, a dab of Sufism there, a little mystic poetry to brighten the drab corner, and may be a little Native American splash to give it some local color. Always shopping, always looking for that perfect thing to fill that empty space, finding it and then growing tired of it and returning to the search. This chronic urge to spruce up one's surrounding provides the lifeblood of the spiritual marketplace, which is, at all levels, nothing more than a prison cell design boutique. Whatever you're in the market for Christian Gothic, New Age Eclectic, or Apocalyptic Chic, they've got what you're looking for. 

Being an alternative person is a luxury not available to everyone; it takes disposable time and disposable money. Welfare moms and migrant workers aren't the ones buying organic tofu or chakra tuning forks or hemp luggage sets, or frankly, my books. Peasants only do Tai Chi where it's mainstream.  Not everyone can afford to take off for a month of energy healing at Esalen, or a week of swimming with dolphins, or even a day to skinnydip in the Dalai Lama's vast ocean of wisdom. Of course, anyone can meditate for free. Even if you're poor you can sit down and close your eyes and repeat a mantra or count your breaths for a few minutes, but realistically, without the dedicated sacred space stocked with imported incense, hand-tufted cushions, authentic-replica temple bells, and an alabaster Kuan Yin statue on a museum-quality mahogany alter where, clad in loose-fitting, vegetable-dyed, organic cotton yoga robes you can work toward your spiritual salvation in a manner befitting so austere a pursuit, what chance do you really have?  Sure, you can put on flannel jammies, lock yourself in the bathroom, light up that old Boysenberry Delight candle that's been in there since the fan broke, scrunch some towel under your butt and place the Snoopy bath toy reverently upon the porcelain altar, but seriously, who's that gonna fool? Not you, and that brings us to the Golden Rule of all spiritual practices: If you're not fooling yourself, what's the point?

The true goal of all spiritual practices is to keep yourself fooled, to maintain the self-deception, to see what's not and not see what is. That's why the stated goals are always unverifiable and ill-defined; it's not about attaining them, it's about pursuing them. Who wants to wake up?  When we have a little itch that threatens to awaken us in the night, we want to scratch the itch and make it go away, not let it evict us from our slumbers. Some thing here. In this sense, spiritual practice - meditation for instance - is one hundred percent effective. If a spiritual practice satisfies your urge to do something spiritual, if it makes you think you are making progress, if it scratches your itch without disturbing your slumber, then it's doing exactly what it's supposed to be doing.


You've never seen where real spiritual battles are waged, where spiritual progress is like slowly and methodically skinning yourself with a straight-razor, one layer at a time, each more painful then the last. You have convinced yourself that ego is something small and trite, like it's a habit you can kick. Imagine having your head cut off. Then imagine it not in a single chop, but in small pieces. Then imagine doing it yourself.  You do not even know about such things. The money and the crowds fly toward pretty fairy tales where everything is beautiful and everyone lives happily ever after. A fairy tale is what everyone wants, so that's what everyone gets, and it's ego that lives happily ever after.   


For many spiritual people, spirituality is a walk in the park on a sunny day, bubbling with pretty notions of peace on earth and good will toward men. It's softcore spirituality, full of soft focus and soft lighting and soft music, everything soft and fluffy, all moving towards some earthshaking climax that never seems to materialize. Anyone involved in the actual process of awakening would view such frivolity the way men on a bloody battlefield view children playing war in backyards. You talk about a revolution, but revolutions aren't like afternoon tea parties with fine china and extended pinkies - they're hellish nightmares from which you can't wake up. Real spirituality is a savage insurrection, the oppressed rising up in a do-or-die bid for freedom. It's not something people do to improve themselves or earn merit or impress friends or to find greater joy and meaning in life. It's a suicidal assault on a foe of unimaginable superiority. Like David and Goliath. Our Goliath is large and powerful and cunning and all-seeing. Our David is puny and weak and stupid and blind. He has no advantage in this fight whatsoever, except the heart to fight and his rock. We can think of the rock as truth, and truth is the giant-killer. Truth destroys everything. Goliath has every power and advantage except truth, and that's why we can fight and win; we have truth and Maya doesn't. Still, it's not a one-shot deal where David throws the rock and Goliath tips over dead. It's a long, ugly struggle because we are both friend and foe; David and Goliath reside within. Every inch of ground takes everything we have. Lessons aren't delivered as quaint little parables and allegories, but as irreparable losses; lesson after lesson, loss after loss. Every step is a loss and as long as there's more to lose, there are more steps to take. Everything is lost. Nothing is gained.


Page 305 - 306

This is my bottom-line advice on the subject of spiritual awakening, whether in or from the dreamstate. Face the facts. Face death. Face your own mortality, your own meaninglessness. This applies to everyone everywhere. I touched upon the subject of death-awareness in Damnedest (Spiritual Enlightenment, The Damnedest Thing), but what I thought back then was that I was writing for a sophisticated audience, people too spiritually savvy to need so simple a lesson. I have since discovered that those who seem the most spiritually sophisticated are the most deeply entrenched and the least likely to subject themselves to the rigors of the true spiritual journey. Having gone so far the wrong way, they are the least disposed to turn around and undo all their anti-progress. Now I see that death-denial, the fear of no-self, is at the very heart of the paralysis that grips virtually all spiritual aspirants, and everyone else as well.

Death Denial, in all its many forms, is the hole at the bottom of which we sit huddled and trembling, scared to death of our own lives. Death Awareness is the act of coming out of that hole and beholding the world in which we live and the creations of which we are a part. I've said many times that all people, around the world and throughout history, look like mere children from the perspective of one who has taken even a single step, and this is that step. To venture out of that hole, to declare freedom from childish beliefs, to turn toward death, to look the inslayable arch-demons of futility and insignificance in the eye, this is where the journey begins, and no journey begins elsewhere.  Everything else we do is about staying dumb and killing time and digging ourselves deeper in.