There are so many pitfalls on the spiritual path it’s any wonder anyone gets anywhere along it at all! The Tibetan Wheel of Life is a reminder of the ways we can fall and the ways we can fail. If we want to make progress on the path, we must resist all the temptations of the six realms: Greed, Hate, Anxiety, Ignorance, Delusion and Pride. We must, at all costs, avoid becoming an addict, demon, victim, muggle, muppet or diva.
But that’s not all. We must also defend ourselves from the addicts, demons, victims, muggles, muppets and divas we will inevitably encounter on the way. They may pull us into the orbit of their world: if we hang out with drug addicts we may well become a drug addict ourselves. If we hang out with model railway enthusiasts, we might end up spending all our time playing with toy trains.
Not only might we fall off the wagon completely, but we might waste time better spent making real spiritual progress. It’s okay to spend time with addicts, demons and victims with a view to nudging them out of their ruts. But there comes a point where the benefits to them outweigh the costs to you. It’s not easy to know where to draw the line, as any psychiatric nurse will attest, but it’s not that hard either.
The line seems harder to draw when dealing with muggles, muppets and divas, because it’s just not so obvious when people are being willfully blind, delusional or narcissistic. However, in my experience, muppets are the most difficult of all. You can waste time with muggles, but at least you know you’re wasting time. They are not interested in spirituality, so you talk about other stuff and do other things. It’s like a mini holiday. Divas are so aloof and superior, that although their arrogant manner can be achingly irritating, they will pretty much leave you alone unless you actively seek them out.
Muppets are different. You can waste a lot of time spinning round the muppet vortex. But then why do you keep jumping in? Because they are interested in interesting things. They are thinkers, questioners, seekers, like you. They may have different views, but that makes for good chats and good debate, right? Wrong.
If they are genuine bona fide muppets, you will almost always end up wasting your time and theirs. As a general rule, if you are serious about spirituality, don’t waste time talking to Militant Atheists, Religious Fundamentalists, New Age Hippies or Political Radicals. You will only end up scratching your head, after having banged it against a brick wall.