Cult of the Personality- achieving a balance
There is too much "Personality Cultism" going on. Unfortunately it is so easy to get hooked into it. As human beings we want to be guided along the "right path" because we live in a world of doubt and turmoil. Modern communications makes it all too easy for us all to be overloaded with information. We don't know which is the right way to go. We are perhaps feeling depressed or jaded in our lives and in need of someone to help and uplift us. Enter the spiritual teacher at just the right time in our life! We are then hooked by a Deepak Chopra, Harold Robbins, Carlos Castenada or Wayne Dyer.
Don't get me wrong, they are all good people teachers who have something to say. I have read most of Wayne Dyers books and found them really interesting and uplifting. My objection is that Spiritual teaching has become just another industry. The Spiritual leaders have become trapped by their own ego's and their followers need. We unquestioningly buy what they produce and they in turn do their duty by providing it for us. However, do we really need so much of it? Surely our need is just pouring millions of dollars into this industry and creating an environment for the unscrupulous to jump on the bandwagon and make easy money.
In the end it is our individual growth that counts and trusting our own internal guidance system, with just a little help from time to time from those respected teachers such as Wayne Dyer.
Interesting piece of posting you present here. You posted 'Enter the spiritual teacher at just the right time in our life! We are then hooked by a Deepak Chopra, Harold Robbins, Carlos Castenada or Wayne Dyer.'
What is your definition of a spiritual teacher? What lessons of 'spirituality' do you need to learn right now? What ever teacher and who ever is in your life is also a teacher, the reason they are there is because you have drawn them to you so that you may learn what they have to teach. Of all the authors you mention above, Harold Robbins appears out of place when talking about spirituality.
When you purchase a product by these teachers, why are you buying it? Because it was recommended to you or you saw it advertised or others are reading it? Or do you buy something because you feel within you that this has something in it for you. Feelings are from the heart and not the head. I have read all of Dyer's books, and while I do not follow most of his suggestions, he himself would tell me not to as well. What he says, or what all the other authors say, are but suggestions for us to look and perhaps adapt to our way of living.
And I must admit, I know of no 'spiritual leaders' out there. What is your defintion of a 'spiritual leader'?
Do you buy more of what you actually need in other areas of your life as well? If you say to yourself "I must read that book" then you and your ego may have a good time reading it. But if you are aware of an urge within you to read a particular book, then you and Spirit will have an enjoyable time doing so. Did you ever consider a book as merely a tool on your path - to be used in places and then layed down when finished? And then only to find another book - 'tool' - to take the place of the other?
See beyong the industry. And just focus for a moment on Dyer - do you see 'followers" or do you see 'fans'? And there is a difference.
Namaste - Ron
Ron- Thanks for your comments. This is a difficult area for me to expand on without getting the feeling that I am just attacking other peoples livelyhoods or beliefs. However i will try to explain further and hope that I dont come across too offensively.
Quite a lot of people come to a point in their lives when they start to question the meaning of life and start to look around for answers. This process starts at different ages and develops in different ways for different people. However, the easiest way for most people is either to start visiting churches and places of worship of the traditional faiths or to start reading some books. For me it was Wayne Dyer's Your Sacred Self that kicked me off and had the greatest impact on my life up to that point.
The main problem as I see it is that Spiritual work is by definition a process of facing inward and trusting in oneself. However, this process is a tough one for most people. We generally prefer to be lazy and let other people show us the way. It is easier to let people we admire tell us how to live and how to think. So rather than work through the issues ourselves it is easier to go to the local bookstore or website and find a new title by a Deepak Chopra or Wayne Dyer.
Ours is a "communication age". Information is delivered by the bucket load via telephone, television, the web, books, journals, meetings, etc. All this takes our attention from inside to outside ourselves. Now all of us have to make a living in order to feed, house and clothe ourselves and our families. This communication consumption means money for some skilled people. For example millions of people will pay to watch a good film but only relatively few make money from it. This industry approach is perfectly acceptable for films or novels but not to my mind the most important area of life, ones spirituality. What it means is that one ends up buying a product because its there. If it wasnt there we couldn't buy it so one is in fact drawn to it on one level.
What I am getting at is that spiritual development has been recognised by many as a way of making money out of peoples need. You can compare it to what has happened in the self help industry. Over the recent decades it has grown into a vast industry, that has produced enormous numbers of motivational books, audio tapes and CD's to feed the need of people to better themselves. It is not that the information contained within the books is not useful in some circumstances, it is that it is endlessly rehashed in different ways. So what I meant by using Harold Robbins was that he had become guru like to many of his followers. He is good at what he does and manages to pesuade a sizeable number of people to follow him and buy his products in whatever form.
It is in the interests of publishing houses to make money and grow in size. Writers on spiritual matters want to get their message out to a wider audience. If their initial efforts are successful this creates a demand from his/her audience and the publishers to produce more. It then becomes very difficult for an author to resist the tide for more. After all, people are wanting more spiritual or financial "food", depending on where you are in the chain! Spritual leaders( my definition being anyone who writes or preaches about their spiritual truth and thereby creates a following of general believers) therefore need to be careful, if they value integrity, not to fall prey to their own and others ego's demands for more, it is a difficult judgement. Sometimes, one book is enough to encompass all that one has to say and give others guidance but nowadays more people want to make a living from it, and so keep going. This results in more fuel for the "industry".
Two quotes from David Hawkins "Spirituality properly refers to those aspects of consciousness that pertain to the awareness of truth and divinity and includes all references to the Absolute and all-present Reality, which is the Source and infinite domain of all that exists as Existence itself." and "The literature about consciousness and spirituality easily leads to error, and thus, today's serious seeker of enlightenment excludes all teachings whose truth cannot be verified objectively."
If you feel like you are attacking, then know that you are, and if you are, know also that you are judging and not accepting others where they are and who they are.
Many people have left their "religions" because they indeed questioned the 'meaning of life" and "who am I?" Religions do not answer those questons. And why do we discover ourselves reading a particular book with such enthusiasm - simply devouring it - other than we are in our right and perfect place - and there are no accidents in this life. The book, "Your Sacred Self" was the first book I read by Dyer and that open the door to all his others and continues to be open to me to this day. Some of his books have truly moved me, while others have given me just a little. But each book had something in it for me to read.
Some of us may sit back and want to be led by others to show us our way, but for those of us who are like that, we will be sitting there for a very long time. No one can show us what to do, how to do it, or when to do it. No one can open our eyes unless we open them. Admiring others is okay as long as we don't put them on little pedestals and believing they are better than we - smarter than we - more spiritual than we.
Books in general, for me at least, are simply tools on my path. I 'use' a lot of different tools, but then again, I also believe I have a lot of different issues - ego is presenting me with a load constantly. If I thought a book was an answer to everything, I know I would reading it for ego alone. When I read any book, the ego part of me is reading as well. When it comes to a point that I change some old belief I had, ego goes about screaming and when it screams, I know that I am going in the 'right' direction.
When you go to a book store and pick up a book, do you get the feeling within you that you are to read this book? Or do you simply by a book because of an author or because it was widely publicized? Just try going to the book store and browse, and then become surprised at what you have chosen to read. It is not an accident.
Try not to judge the business end of books and movies. Read books and go to movies to either be entertained or to be motivated. The books and movies are there for you to use - don't allow ego to cloud your vision with how they got there - just know they are there for you!
Spiritual development is a very personal transformation we make as we begin to recall our Truth and let go of old beliefs - lies as Don Miguel Ruiz calls them. Remember you do not have to buy the book, CD's, tapes, etc - it is always a choice you make.
Your comment on 'Spiritual leaders" writing and preaching about THEIR spiritual truth and creating a following is interesting. Do you see Dyer as such a person? Dyer writes about what works for him, but reminds us that means nothing for us - we are all different. It may work for us also, but it may also not. And followers are not individuals who get together to discuss his or other's writings - they are people who believe that by discussing them, others may learn as well, and they themselves will have a better understanding.
Perhaps you could look at the 'industry' as simply being a channel whereby information is available to us in response to the spiritual questions we have within us.
I have been reading the Course in Miracles for many years, and each time I read it, it is as if I have not read the passages before. The same holds true for several of Dyer's books, and other authors as well. I can read them many times without ever noticing that I have read them previously. These books then are use by me as the tools I most favor on my path. How they got to me - who sold them - means nothing to me. What does have meaning is that I am finding them useful on my journey.
Namaste - Ron
In a sense all dialectic is a form of attack. If I read or listen to anothers viewpoint and then reply because I have formed an alternative view about the subject matter, then I have a mindset of resistence to it. If I don't want to create resistence then I must simply ignore the others viewpoint or let it go.
David Hawkins stated in the introduction to Power vs Force that he wasn't teaching us something new as we already knew it at a deeper level. I think this is a fundamental statement because if we are all one in the universe then there is nothing more to "learn" as we already know all we need to know make us whole.
So I guess in the end I am not concerned at all by what or how much others buy to guide them on their path. My observations relate to an industry that is growing exponentially because it is benefitting some people financially and I am really posing the question should we be more conscious about what is going on. On one level it doesn't really matter because we all benefit in some way.
Yes, I think all who preach are giving their truth, although it might not have originated with.
You posted "In a sense all dialectic is a form of attack. If I read or listen to anothers viewpoint and then reply because I have formed an alternative view about the subject matter, then I have a mindset of resistence to it. If I don't want to create resistence then I must simply ignore the others viewpoint or let it go.
Response There are available two other choices for you simply agree with the other person or do not judge them right or wrong, or yourself as well.
You posted "David Hawkins stated in the introduction to Power vs Force that he wasn't teaching us something new as we already knew it at a deeper level. I think this is a fundamental statement because if we are all one in the universe then there is nothing more to "learn" as we already know all we need to know make us whole."
Response There truly is nothing new for us to learn for we know All That Is. But knowing it is forgotten by us - this journey that we are on is the 'time' we remember - the words we read are clues to the memory we locked away. I do believe there is no one present who remembers all of His Truth and is still here.
You posted "So I guess in the end I am not concerned at all by what or how much others buy to guide them on their path. My observations relate to an industry that is growing exponentially because it is benefitting some people financially and I am really posing the question should we be more conscious about what is going on. On one level it doesn't really matter because we all benefit in some way."
Response Mike - this is the place to let it go - if you are not concerned, then don't be concerned about an industry - When we believe that we are making the world we live in - we are creating what we are seeing - then who is there to point that proverbial finger at but the person in the mirror? Why do you buy any book? Because of the hype you hear or read? Because someone tells you to buy it? Because you see others reading it? Because you feel you might just be missing something if you don't read it? Or do you read something because as you hold in your hands it feels right? Ever go to a book store and then walk out with several books and ask yourself why you bought what you bought? I can seldom give a logical answer - because I have not bought books with the guidance of ego. And the phrase "it really doesn't matter" is an excellent phrase to use all day long - but think about what it means to say it. It really doesn't matter -
And lastly, all who preach are not giving their truth all the time. The best teacher is one who demonstrates his own words.
Namaste - Ron
I believe you are right... the answers are within us, but I really love reading the stuff, new ideas and sometimes a different perspective....