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Interview with Alan Clements

Alan performs at Byron Theatre from Wednesday 9 till Friday 11 Jan at 7.30pm

Standing Corrected

Onetime monk and political activist, now spiritual-political satirist, Alan Clements presents his show Spiritually Incorrect Relationship Incorrect The Great Reckoning at the Byron Community Centre this week.

There’s been a lot of conversation about correctness and incorrectness. What does it even mean any more? 

Krishnamurti once said: ‘It’s no measure of success to be profoundly adjusted to a sick society’. Keeping that in mind, let’s consider Harriet Tubman, the American Abolitionist, who escaped slavery by risking her life to go underground to Canada. 

Talk about living on the edge between correct and incorrect. 

Not content with her own freedom, she risked her life numerous times to return to the plantation-gulags in America to rescue her black brothers and sisters from slavery. Before she died, asked if she had any regrets, she replied: ‘I wish I could have convinced a thousand more of my people they were slaves but they did not realise it’.

Indoctrination and slavery today are much more insidious, chained, as it were, to work, rent, mortgages, meds, masks, masturbation, media, and even meditation, within in a sick sociopathic society. With that said, I think it’s worth asking: ‘are we slaves, whether to corporate capitalism, a new-age cult, a religious dogma, a narcissist’s soul-sucking lies, a meditation practice that does not work, or the dopamine pump in the palm of our hands… or any number of other dysfunctional, passion-deadening, mind-numbing patterns of thought and action that insidiously enslave our lives?’ 

Correct or incorrect, what will it be? 

How would I know if I were ‘spiritually incorrect’? 

If you felt anywhere close to how I see it in myself, you’d probably decline a free night of Ayahuasca, especially with a white male shaman trained in Peru, and you’d cease chanting Hindu phrases as some kind of mystical access to wherever. And you would definitely cease hoping to be on the A-list of invitees to present at any of the dozens of Spirit and Wanderlust Fests worldwide. Likely you would start to swear, feel allergic when encountering magical thinkers, tarot readers, channellers, psychics, aura analysts, and Sanskrit-spouting yoga teachers with hundred-word vocabularies selling gym-rat-workout-asana to enslave you in their Instagram cult of look-at-me ego worship, etc. 

Oh yes – and you would not be susceptible to having Om, Shiva, Shakti, Buddha, Namaste, or any other eastern religious neologism tattooed on your beautiful body. The sad truth about India today is that they have more respect for a cow than a woman. And if you have a Buddha tattooed on your body in Burma, they will jail you. And by all means, do not make the mistake of tattooing love, truth, transparency or any of their synonyms on your body. As you discover your inner fraud, black ink on skin is hard to remove. We all go through the idealisation phase. Slow down. Be mindful.

If you were to do a spiritual autopsy on Donald Trump what would your report say? 

If I were God, I’d say, setting aside my son’s advice, better to call a spade a spade: ‘Forgive the arsehole for he knows the worst side of me, which is typical, especially for a severely deluded narcissistically driven rich white homo sapien male who acts out his tiny-penis soulless syndrome by attacking all things good and beautiful.’

But with that said: ‘As his father, he simply acted out his conditioning, his culture, his education, and the DNA of our pathologically violent god molecule from which all life is embedded. In other words, he is not to blame, for he, like all life, is the existential victim of ME – a psychopathic god.’

You may be asking: ‘Where does the buck stop? With me or with Don? Me!’ 

And be forewarned: ‘Let him who is without sin cast the first stone…’ 

Three people playing a game of tennis – Dalai Lama, Donald Trump, and Kim Jong Un… what would happen? 

I see them in the hot tub afterwards, talking nukes, power, and reconciliation. Suddenly, Don gets a stiffy and senses that Kim also has one. Don goes for it and grabs Kim’s lingam under water. Don is right – it’s hard and pulsing. Then His Holiness, with his power of compassion, realises that this could be a globe-changing moment and through the power of his Tibetan Buddhism turns himself into a unisexual spiritual courtesan and joins in for a tantric threesome. Within a few hours they walk out of the clubhouse to issue a joint press release, stating that love is the only answer and henceforth all nukes will be destroyed, all beings will become vegan, all coal plants will shut down immediately, and only women can run for high office or start religious cults. 

In other words, I think men do what they do because of multiple levels of uncharted trauma and repressed emotional needs for true intimacy. 

Think of John Lennon’s Imagine playing in the background. 

How’s that for spiritual correctness?
Just like that, we have world peace.

Why do people choose to be so awful when they could play nicely? Is this really the human condition? Are we natural-born arseholes? 

Pretty much so. Let us not forget: Stalin. Hitler. The Holocaust. Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Mao. Vietnam. Apartheid. The Berlin Wall. The Chinese invasion of Tibet. The genocides in Timor and Rwanda. Pinochet’s reign of terror in Chile. Pol Pot’s sea of cracked skulls. The death squads of Guatemala. The ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Bosnia and Kosova. The crushing of democracy in Tiananmen Square. The list of horrors go back to the beginning of time. 

It comes back to ethical courage – the courage to choose non-arsehole-like actions.

A while ago I wrote on the need to find our E spots – meaning Empathy… and our ability to enact. Can we ever make that jump to consciousness? It feels like nothing will change until everything changes, if you know what I mean.

Mandy, let’s face it: our culture is a runaway locomotive. Over seven billion of us now live on the planet. There are almost a quarter of a million births every day. That equates to about 10,000 new humans born every hour, or 1,750,000 a week. That’s an LA a month, and eight New York Cities a year. And that’s taking into account the 200,000 deaths each and every day. 

Clearly, we live in a complex, technologically driven world of 24/7 real-time madness.It’s a world cranked on chaos, carbon, and anything violent. It’s a world addicted to hunger, ignorance, and bad excuses. It’s a world where anything can happen, and it does. 

As a species, it seems rather obvious that we have been taken hostage by the dogma of capitalism – a self-referencing suicidal behaviour that is also driving almost every other species into extinction. For me true empathy, like satire, employs humour, irony, and the power of love and caring as a means of exposing our hubris and blind spots as a species, and as individuals within modern society. By doing so, it is my hope that my shows ignite the passion to make that jump in consciousness and improve our humanity. And in so doing, perhaps save our precious planet for a few more generations to come.

In your world of spiritual incorrectness, what is the value of meditation (and yoga) for you today, if any? 

In a nutshell: Meditation, to me, reconnects you with the power of your dignity – your innate worth, your uncontrived goodness and natural beauty, while abandoning the tired vanity of photoshopping your ego, as if blending in or being a hypersexualised, spiritual-jargon-spouting, Instagram-hypocrite doll is the future of cool. In other words, you break lockstep with pretension, and crack the coma of worshipping the cult of SELF and other such narcissist-inflated illusions, whether spiritual, yogic, political or cultural. 

You become accountable; if you have harmed anyone in your past through covert behaviour, either by misleading or scapegoating them, etc, you go back to them to apologise and seek forgiveness. The core value of yoga is the alignment with your conscience. Therefore, you can look in the mirror and smile without reaching for the botox of self-deception. You can face death breath by breath because you know you walk your talk. And you feel much more alive – taking risks to be natural and authentic, an unbranded you. Sign me up for that training! 

Where do you live most of the year? Why do you love coming back to Byron? 

I live in Vancouver, Canada, most of the year, to be near my precious 12-year-old daughter, Bella. As for Byron, this was the first place I came after being thrown out of Burma as a Buddhist monk in 1984, by the dictatorship, with no reason given. I simply fell in love with the people, the culture, the natural beauty, and have come back pretty much every year since that time. 

Catch Alan’s show Spiritually Incorrect Relationship Incorrect The Great Reckoning at the Byron Theatre at the Community Centre Wednesday 9 Jan till Friday at 7.30pm. Tickets $10–35 at byroncentre.com.au.

 

 


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