When I was in Germany my publisher told me about a wonderful teacher, Sean O’Laoire, whose tour he had just accompanied – a Catholic priest who had transcended religions in his approach and yet still taught and wrote of the spiritual way. I was intrigued and read an interview of his, which culminated in the following splendid passage, which I quote with Sean’s permission.
I believe that we have to become serial killers in order to reach enlightenment. Firstly, we have to kill the ego, in the sense that it needs to be confined to its appropriate tasks (ensuring that I pay my taxes on time, stop at red lights and tie my shoe-laces) but not become my identity. Then I have to kill my father, by which I mean that I have to outgrow the cultural traditions into which I was born, and, instead, embrace a global identity. Thirdly, I must kill my guru. Here, I mean the religious traditions through which I have journeyed. Kabir, the great Indian poet of the 15th century is a model of this. Born to a Hindu widow, he was adopted by a Muslim couple and went on to transcend all religious traditions, challenging them all but honoring their avatars. He quoted Jesus at one stage, “Jesus, blessed be he, once said, ‘life is a bridge, cross over it but do not tarry on it.’” No guru can take you all the way, for you have a way which is all your own. And the final murder is that you have to kill your God; for all notions of God are made up.
At the beginning of our search we may set out together on a common path. At some stage, if we persevere long enough, we will each chose a path less travelled. And for the final stretch of the journey you will “go where no man has gone before.” You will forge a brand-new path in the trackless, unchartered wilderness that leads into the very heart of the Mystery.
Sean’s grand-father told Sean the old stories in the grand tradition of the Bard and Druid, and you can read an essay Sean has contributed to the OBOD website here and you can browse his website here.