What’s Jon’s opinion on “followers”?
We believe blindly “following” or worshipping anyone is harmful. Jon and all our teachers do everything possible to prevent such a thing, but some aspects can’t be avoided.
People who get famous, or are charismatic, are often viewed as “heroes” or put on pedestals. This can apply to celebrities of any kind, whether movie stars, musicians, or religious leaders. They are also often hated and loved (Jesus was praised and worshipped one day, rejected and killed the next). So some people end up with followers, admirers, worshipers, etc., on some level, whether they want it or not, or like it or not. Spiritual teachers are no exception.
When someone feels and hears someone who unselfishly cares about them, they are sometimes very impressed (if they are spiritually oriented). But regardless of whether people want to be followers or worshipers, it is up to each person to allow it, or disallow it. Celebrities for instance, most often want it. Politicians and religious leaders often want it. But while there are people who would worship and follow Jon Peniel, he never allowed it. No CLO teacher would (unless they actually had a dictate from God/the Universal Spirit to do so for the purpose of helping others, as did Jesus). Jesus is an example of deliberately getting notoriety to spread the teachings of humility and unselfish universal love, and God).
To his consternation, after Jon’s death, people who are not CLO teachers will very probably start one more church, twisting his or Zain’s words and the ancient teachings/scriptures to fit their own agenda, just as has been done with Buddha, Jesus, and others.
But Jon never allowed followers/worshippers, and rejected those who even attempted to do that.
Teachers do obviously have students however – which is quite different. And even they are “tested” to insure that they are following truth and positive teachings, not blindly following a person, charismatic personality, or creating a “cult of personality” around them.
If you have read the Lost Teachings, you might remember that one of the tenets of the CLO is that if one is going to pray, there are only two valid and safe prayers – one is for guidance, and the other is “God’s will be done”. That is the only way to be sure you are not imposing your will, or doing what amounts to “magic” by praying (visualizing) for something to happen that you selfishly want – regardless of whether or not it is best, or in God’s will. The monkey’s paw story demonstrates how praying (wishing) for something that you can have no idea what the full outcome of will be, if it comes to pass. It creates horrific situations.
To insure that they weren’t being “followed” or blindly obeyed, CLO instructor monks asked their students to break the principles they were taught to live by. The students were asked to pray that nothing bad would happen regarding Y2K. Even though this obviously created an intellectual and emotional conflict, teachers were very pleased that students responded with “Wait a minute, aren’t we only to pray for God’s will? Wouldn’t that be presuming to know better than God and override the will of God?” They said this respectfully and with an open mind of course, in case the teachers knew something they didn’t, and could explain this strange request to them. But they didn’t just blindly “listen and obey” – thus, they passed the test.
Following someone is an easy “cop out”. It is a way of not taking responsibility, by shifting god-like qualities to the object of worship. In other words, the separate selfish self would prefer to worship a saint, than to let you become a saint yourself. So people end up professing things like – “I could never be as great as Buddha”, or “Jesus is the son of God, so no one can expect me to be that good”, etc. If that were the intent of such greats, then “Why bother trying”, right? Wrong. True spirituality means taking responsibility for your life, and going through the same paths of thorns and roses that others have. Jesus NEVER EVER said “I am the only Son of God”, or “worship me”, or “state that you believe in me and you’ll go to heaven”. He called Himself the son of man, and further, made it TOTALLY CLEAR that He expected us to walk in His footsteps. He said “I bring you a new commandment”. And that was a commandment to “love others as I have loved you”. Jesus loved unselfishly – selflessly. Thus He meant we were to also LOVE SELFLESSLY. And He added that by doing so, others would know we were followers of Jesus’ teachings. There are no short cuts. Those who have gone before you can serve as guides and ideals, but not as a way to bypass what you must do yourself. If you learn from them however, you can follow the path they carved, walk in their footprints, and thus avoid the thorns, and the roses.
Even though Jon was considered an “enlightened teacher”, he should not be followed or worshipped, and ALWAYS refused to be. Sure, he can be admired and respected for the truth, love, sacrifices, and the examples he set – and we can still learn from those and his words. He can be an ideal to emulate. But nothing more. No idolizing, no worshipping, no spiritual “hero worship”. However, just as with all the teachers and prophets throughout time, who served as instruments for God, their thoughts, words and deeds came from God/the Universal Spirit – a Universal source (re-source) such as the inner being. Thus their words and actions, their examples, should be respected for where they come from, and heeded accordingly. But again, nothing should EVER be blindly accepted – even if you do have tremendous respect for someone. Unfortunately, that gives the SELF an easy out at the same time – but it’s the only way to be safe from being a “follower” and blindly following something or someone bad. Still, if you really want to change, really want criticism, you won’t allow your self-ego, denial or defensiveness to block out the truth, and your own intuition, the part of you inside that is Jesus, is God, your inner voice, will verify truth from any source, even criticism.