Gurus, how I love to loathe thee… They are a virulent force on all social media, utilizing platitudes and photos of streams and forests, vandalizing them with glib and meaningless words. Do you want to be a winner? Follow them! A warrior? Do the same. They will hypnotize and deprogram you. They will use the collective energy of the people gathered to make you succumb if plucked from the audience. You may very well do things you wouldn’t ordinarily. The worst of them play on people’s discontent and lack of self-esteem in order to reel them in. Once at the seminar or ‘free talk,’ they will push hard to up sell their books, programs and future events. It won’t end until the end of time itself.
I have had these characters on the periphery of my life, tap, tap, tapping; trying to get my attention. Apparently, they can make crooked spines straight, reverse heart disease and set mind’s right. They can make all your dreams come true. It is not only insulting but ineffective. Somebody very close to me spent thousands on books, programs and seminars, and tried to cajole me to do the same. Sadly, this individual has nothing to show for all this expense and effort, and their already fragile mental health has suffered even more. I have had friends-intelligent people with beautiful lives follow particular gurus around the circuit as though they were rock stars. I have known tragedy to befall some, and the gurus have been strangely silent when it happens. They have already moved their circus onto another field.
I heard that a particular guru learned of a participant who had been sexually abused as a child by a family member. He thought it a sterling idea to get her to talk about it, then picked three strangers from the audience to be her ‘uncles.’ I wonder what happened after the show. What trauma had been revisited and stirred? This guru insisted that winners don’t have pasts, at least not ones that should in any way be acknowledged. I vehemently disagree. I remained sane by not only acknowledging my skeletons, but getting them out of the closet for a samba.
Walking barefoot through hot coals doesn’t make you more capable; it is how you conduct yourself everyday. I know a dear soul who grew up in an orphanage. She cleaned houses for a living, and dreamed of one day opening a book store. She scrounged and saved for over twenty years, and sure enough, her dream came true, and the fine establishment of Di’s Book Exchange came to be. I know a gentleman who has lived with mental illness all his adult life. Professional help, the right medication, good nutrition and exercise all playing a pivotal part in his wellbeing. A slight wind can tip him, but its the measures he takes each day that steer him.
The seminars the gurus are fond of, bring together a spectacle of sound, lighting, fist pumps and the shouting of core words, not just for effect, but to flood the body with feel-good hormones. Sadly, these wear off, and one ends up chasing the next fix. The recent conversation regarding the fellow in the above footage, and his response to the Me Too movement, has to be seen to be believed. Pretty women are virtually unemployable? He used his height and strength to intimidate the woman featured. In my time, I have had many, many gurus approach me. Some have stated that they can ‘fix’ my life, and make me a winner. I drolly laugh, and respond that I am already a winner, simply by merit of surviving a huge amount of crap. Like my lovely friend in her book store, I chip away, day in and out to educate my child, clothe and feed her and I, keep myself healthy, put aside money for her future, see my friends and make grand plans. It starts with a drink of water or a dollar coin. Success is in the small steps, not grand gestures in front of thousands of people intoxicated with the spectacle they are attending.
Sound-bites and gurus should be avoided if at all possible, and futures created from one simple step, rather than treading through hot coals or spending thousands on seminars. Particularly if the guru leads you to have to spend time in therapy afterwards…