WHY are we so keen to hoist people up onto grand pedestals?
Well we do, don’t we? Our culture has a horrible habit of turning people into ‘gurus’ to worship from afar, bathing in their high, high enlightenment from our place among the masses.
Very often, these are people who have created (or been supported in creating) a strong, marketable brand – and hey, I know all about creating brands and positive visibility; nothing wrong with that. Maybe they’ve written a string of self-development books, or appeared on TV. There’s nothing wrong with that either.
Truth, beauty and hype
These big names of the mind, body, spirit and personal development arenas might be brilliant. They might have fantastic, life changing teachings to share. But don’t we need to hold onto a little bit of balance?
Don’t we need to be aware of our own inner brilliance too? Don’t we need to be aware of the rich teachings every person that crosses our life path holds for us? Don’t we need to find truth and beauty within the hype?
Let me be absolutely clear before we go any further. The purpose of this blog is absolutely NOT to knock the household names of the personal and spiritual development worlds, but to question our motives for (sometimes) blindly following and ‘guruising’ and to encourage people to look within a little more.
Fame and fortune
For whatever reason (and I’m absolutely sure there WILL BE a cosmic reason), these few have ended up on a life path that has placed them at the centre of fame and fortune on the personal development stage.
Be it spirituality, mindfulness, mood management or manifestation, they’ve attracted a tribe of advocates that trusts – and hangs onto – every word. We might say that’s to be admired and, with the right determination, actions and mindset, it’s something any one of us can set out to achieve. Success leaves clues and all that jazz.
Just for now, let’s park the cynicism so often heard. I don’t believe cynicism ever truly serves us, so let’s drop those mutterings of ego, wealth and benefiting from the neediness of others, and look at the part we play in creating this world of ‘guruesque’ superstardom.
If we all began to understand that each one of us is responsible (RESPONSE -ABLE) for our own life, if we began to truly embrace the beauty, brilliance and potential of that understanding, we probably wouldn’t be constantly seeking the answers and enlightenment from others, would we? Or, at least, not in the same way.
It’s one thing opening up to learning all we can, becoming the eternal student and seeing every day as a rich opportunity for new teachings, but it’s quite another to put all our faith in someone else to lift us for our doldrums. And sometimes, just sometimes, we fall into that trap of eschewing responsibility in favour of listening to a ‘guru’ who just might be able to solve all our problems at the swipe of a credit card.
Isn’t this really all about intention? What are we looking to attain from these people?
Call them light workers of the new paradigm, architects of the future or simply the newest, brightest best-selling author, we can only truly benefit from their teachings if we’re actually willing to make real changes in our own life.
If we’re ready to step into that place of RESPONSE-ABILITY and take control of our lives, listening to someone we respect, someone with a proven track record, someone the media tells us is nothing short of awesome might be just what we need.
BUT… if we have no real intention to change, or heal or step up a gear, if all we want to do is be able to boast that we’ve read the book/bought the oracle cards/seen the show, aren’t we simply throwing our readies into the money making marketing machine and kind of missing the point?
AND… if our intention is for these people to transform our lives, without making any effort ourselves apart from paying for the book/oracle cards/live show, the result is pretty much the same.
Catalysts for change
What I’ve found so far is that these wonderful people are, largely, catalysts for change. They might provide some wonderful insights, but YOU still need to do the work.
It’s a bit like that scene in Titanic. The ship’s sinking and people are crowding around the priest, clinging to his increasingly soggy cassock as he reads from The Bible. Meanwhile, Rose and Jack are using all the skills God (insert alternative noun here if you prefer) gave them to save themselves.
Listen to the lessons. Take the teachings. But if the ship’s about to go down, I’m guessing the Deepaks, Mariannes, Louises, Tonys and Neales of the world will be clambering over the railings and looking for something to float to safety on! And if you’re still looking for them to save you, rather than stepping into your own power, all that extra weight of people clinging to their trouser legs might just be too much for the driftwood to take!
Heaping on the hype
Talking of extra weight, the flip side of wanting other people to heal your life is all the pressure you (we – the masses) pile onto them.
Imagine trying to bear all that pressure to perform ‘miracles’ on a daily basis.
It doesn’t matter how big, how profitable they’ve become as a brand, are we really helping them to bring through more pure, beautiful, empowering teachings by hoisting them to the top of an ivory tower?
How much are our own egos contributing to a hype impossible to live up to?
Change begins within
So, buy the books, see the shows, listen to the podcasts, but remember that change begins within.
Remember that no matter how brilliant your chosen ‘guru’ may be, they’re really here to open the door. You still need to choose to walk through.
Remember that no matter how many sit ups they do, they can’t make your abs pop.
Remember that the good ones won’t want to be seen as ‘gurus’ at all, that that it’s usually us foisting an incredibly heavy title onto them. It’s us putting them at the top of that pedestal and expecting them to hold their balance, despite us all reaching up to tug at their sleeves.
Remember, for every ‘success superstar’, there are a gazillion other people, with teachings just as rich, who might not choose the spotlight or branding, for reasons all their own and just as valid.
Remember that rich, beautiful teachings are all around us, in every being and every situation.
Most of all… remember that however you choose to seek your teachings, however enlightened your bookshelves may appear, the teacher is only ever as effective as the student allows them to be.
Until next time,