Whirled Musings

Across the Universe with Cosmic Connie, aka Connie L. Schmidt...or maybe just through the dung-filled streets and murky swamps of pop culture -- more specifically, the New-Age/New-Wage crowd, pop spirituality & religion, pop psychology, self(ish)-help, business babble, media silliness, & related (or occasionally unrelated) matters of consequence. Hope you're wearing boots. (By the way, the "Cosmic" bit in my moniker is IRONIC.)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

And now, back to our regularly scheduled snarping

First off, that last word in the title isn't a typo. I've decided that "snarp" is often a more accurate description than "snark" for what I do here. It is, as you might have guessed, a combo of "snark" and "snipe." At least that's my definition; other people have different ideas.

Anyhoo, I think that for the time being I've had enough of hurricanes and Angry Bloggers, so to take my mind and yours off of that stuff for a while, I thought I'd share a few snarpy snippets (or snippy snarps). (And I'm sorry if the fonts look weird; I can't figure out what happened. Everything I do to correct the situation just makes them look weirder.)

Lust Love Guru cleared of charges
Back in May I wrote a snippet about a so-called love & prosperity guru, Bijan Anjomi,
who was facing rape charges by two of his former followers. Those charges have now been dropped. The moment it became news that Bijan was in the clear, a person I'm guessing to be a Bijan fan wrote this comment to my blog:
May I add to the discussion that you seem to have based your comments on "observations" and "opinions" and "conclusions" based on your personal belief system which is that all new age coaches have false motives. This way of looking at the world, seeing male authority as evil, leads to that being the reality you see and present.

Bijan is beyond your belief system and he is human but he is also transparent. He and his wife do not hide their life and sincerely wish peace to all, including you, me, all the blog readers and the women who made the false accusations.

Because we are all One....this includes you, me, Bijan ........and all the other people who have committed sexual offenses or false accusations.......this is part of all of us and we are healing from this all together.

I hope it gives peace to all to know that these charges were dropped by the ladies involved.
I replied:
"May I add to the discussion that you seem to have based your comments on "observations" and 'opinions' and 'conclusions' based on your personal belief system which is that all new age coaches have false motives. This way of looking at the world, seeing male authority as evil, leads to that being the reality you see and present.

"Bijan is beyond your belief system and he is human but he is also transparent..."

Condescension duly noted, Anon, but if you think that *my* opinion about most New-Wage "coaches" is based merely upon a "belief system," particularly one that "sees all male authority as evil," then I would suggest that you have not been paying very close attention to this blog!

But then, you probably never did really make an effort to read anything here except the post and the comments about your god, Bijan. If the charges against him were false or exaggerated, then I agree that it was only just that they be dropped. However, none of this does anything to change my opinion about New-Wage coaches in general. Some are fine people, but there are many scammers, charlatans and sexual predators in the lot too. And even though the charges were withdrawn, I still wouldn't rule out the possibility that Bijan, like so many others, has indeed used his position of power to exploit some of his followers sexually, financially or both.

I did notice that the article said that even though the charges were withdrawn by a judge, there is a peace bond between Bijan and the two women who accused him. A peace bond, in Canadian law, is an order from a criminal court that restrains one person from bothering or threatening another. This could simply have been done to ensure that Bijan would not turn around and counter-sue. Then again, there could be something more to this story. As I said in an earlier comment, where there's smoke, there's fire.

Maybe I do have a "limited belief system." But it's the kind of "belief system" that keeps me from being taken advantage of in a hotel room by a slick-talking joker wearing nothing but a towel and a smile.
As for that "we all are one" rationale my correspondent used, Jody addressed it on the Guruphiliac blog, in a post aptly titled, "A 'Love Guru' Gets Off." He described the oneness-of-humanity concept in this context as "a meaningless interpretation of nondual truth in an attempt to skate...out of a tough spot." I couldn't have said it better myself.

Is it ACCESS...or are they just H.A.F.?*
Recently a commenter to my blog sent me links to a couple of YouTube offerings presented by the very silly ACCESS Energy Transformation cult, which I've snarked (and snarped) about on more than one occasion here.

First we have the two main perps...er..."leaders" of ACCESS – former real estate agent Gary Douglas and former chiropractor Dain Heer – sharing their wisdom and expertise on childhood nutrition and ADHD, among other things. (Their expert advice? Let your kids eat anything they want, even the sugary junk food, and let 'em eat till they puke. That'll learn 'em not to eat stuff that's bad for 'em.) It's kind of disquieting to watch some of those parents and their kids in the audience...

Next we have this video, which is absolutely classic.

At one point on the clip an ACCESS devotee says, "It was something that I always observed, y'know, but could never really name."

That person's lack of ability to name "it" was, I assume, pre-ACCESS. However, it seems that post-ACCESS, people still can't seem to name "it," whatever "it" is. In fact, they seem to have a great deal of trouble expressing themselves verbally about anything at all – which, I suppose, is only fitting, since the ability to speak well requires at least a rudimentary ability to think, and ACCESS actively discourages thought.

The blond who appears towards the end of this vid is priceless; her vacuous facial expressions and equally vacuous attempts at verbalizing appear to be textbook symptoms of ACCESS indoctrination.

I realize that some folks who have read about ACCESS and/or have watched the promotional videos might be somewhat curious, perhaps in the way people are curious about car wrecks they pass on the road, about that special state of enlightened mindlessness these folks are babbling about. I think that to truly understand it, we need to turn once again to a lovely song that I know I just linked to recently, but it's so fitting that I feel obliged to do it again. I believe this guy 'splains it better than anyone else. (And by the way, why don't they sell porcupines on the Internet?

* H.A.F., If you don't already know, you can figure out what it stands for if you follow the link in the paragraph above.

It's because the Universe likes greed, Michael.
I'm on the mailing list of a New-Wage guru named Michael Mirdad, a third- or fourth-tier spiritual teacher who hasn't made it really big in the New-Wage world yet but is still out there trying. He's into everything from A Course In Miracles to Christ consciousness to Buddhism to sacred sex to prosperity. His persona leans much more towards that of the wise-but-humble master than the slick, materialistic hustledork, though I imagine he does a little elbow-rubbing with the hustledorks, merely by virtue of the fact that he often speaks at New Thought churches, which, let's face it, are hustledork magnets. In a recent newsletter he addressed the greed in today's spiritual teachers. Here's what he wrote, in part:
As I hope you have noticed by now, it's rare indeed to hear me spend time on such worldly issues as politics, the economy, and monetary gain. Nevertheless, after much deliberation, I feel compelled to share my thoughts about something, namely the huge emphasis within "popular" New Age thought over the last year or two on people learning to "get more of what they want" from life-particularly when it comes to money and material possessions.

I can't help but notice that Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, Krishna, and numerous other masters forgot to tell us this newly discovered "prerequisite for enlightenment." How is it that the ancient masters failed to tell us what so many New Thought teachers and authors are now commonly addressing? These modern teachers tell us to use the creative power within our minds to get more "stuff." Instead, the masters of old taught that we should practice getting rid of our "stuff." This should make us wonder if the teachers of old were missing something or if today's teachers have perhaps fallen prey to the lord of this world-greed. Of course their greed is disguised as "creating your reality." But, who do you think is giving them the finances for the material possessions they are "creating"? It's you, the spiritual student! Don't get me wrong, I agree that we should all be abundant, but why do spiritual teachers (or anyone, for that matter) need several cars, houses, and boats, while failing to be equally okay giving such possessions to others in need?
Actually, Michael kind of overlooks the current trend of what I like to call "conspicuous altruism," wherein various New-Wage gurus and hustledorks work earnestly – in between car-shopping and mansion-hunting – to look as if they're trying to make a difference in the world by distributing copies of The Secret to third-world countries, or by vowing to end poverty or homelessness in our lifetime, or whatever. I'm not making the claim that all of this altruism is mere posturing. But it does seem that many of these enlightened do-gooders are in it for the ego rush and the publicity as much as anything else, and it appears that some of their programs are mainly about making yet more money for themselves and a few cronies. Well, that's a topic for another blog post (coming soon).

Mirdad continues:
Once the movie The Secret (which was great) made it so big, too many teachers and authors jumped on the bandwagon writing books, making more movies, and creating seminars, in effect telling people how important it is to get more from life. Sadly, it's rare for any of these same teachers and authors to allow those who have little or no money to attend for free-mainly because such folks who have no money can't help to supply these teachers with another boat payment.

I recently saw an interview with one of these teachers/authors. Asked how he was doing, he replied by stating that he had just paid cash for a new house, as though this is the measure of one's state of being. Instead, imagine answering such a question as "How are you doing?" by the measure of how much you are able to give to others.
Once again he's overlooking that conspicuous-altruism trend, which at least pays lip service to the value of giving; nevertheless, his point is well-taken (except for the bit about The Secret being "great").

But here's the part that really made me pay attention:
Also, I recently heard from the coordinator of a popular spiritual conference that she was having difficulty getting speakers to attend her next event because most have followed the trend of asking for $15,000-$25,000 per hour for their time, which they usually want to have paid in advance. This seems absurd to me! While teaching and speaking at conferences for over 25 years, I have met all of the well-known teachers and authors (many of whom are friends and colleagues) and have not found one that has wisdom worth $25,000 dollars per hour. In fact, I personally find that many of my students have more sincerity and as much wisdom as the most popular of these teachers and authors.

It seems acceptable even for students of spirituality to complain about the profits the government makes on our taxes or the oil tycoons make on fuel or large corporations give to pad the lives of their CEO's, but nobody bothers to notice the greed of modern spiritual teachers. Buddha laughed at the likes of these individuals; Jesus rebuked them and referred to them as blind guides and hypocrites. Furthermore, neither Buddha nor Jesus ever charged a dime for their teachings, which by the way, far surpass the teachings of any of today's authors...
If the fees currently charged by Secret stars such as Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale are any indication, the events coordinator that Mirdad quoted was spot-on. Joe's current fees for speaking are $25,000.00 an hour for domestic events and $35,000.00 an hour for international events, plus first-class travel for two and hotel accommodations in a suite. James Arthur Ray, another Secret star, charges from $30,000.00 to $75,000.00 for keynote speaking, depending upon the length of the presentation, distance to venue and other factors. Travel and other expenses are extra.
Mars-and-Venus author "Dr." John Gray's keynote fees range from $50,000.00 to $75,000.00, according to a speakers' bureau that represents him. Some speakers such as Chicken Soup for the Soul co-creator Jack Canfield, who was also in The Secret, don't even list their fees; the various speakers' bureaus that represent them just say, "Call for fees."

I hasten to add, however, that the amounts listed above actually fall well within the accepted current range for "celebrity keynote speakers," and some of the bigger names in the selfish-help world charge $100,000 and more for a keynote speech. (And real celebrities, such as actors and top athletes and such, charge $200,000 and more.) So you might say that some of the spiritual "teachers" are charging bargain-basement prices, relatively speaking, for their keynotes. Still, it's all quite a bit more than Jesus and Buddha charged for their stuff. And perhaps the whole keynote-speaking price structure could be looked upon as yet another reflection of our culture's misplaced priorities, particularly when real teachers – you know, those dedicated women and men who work in our schools – are generally so underpaid and under-valued.

Gosh darn it, I'm sounding moralistic again. Sorry.

As for another point that Michael Mirdad addressed, the ancient spiritual masters' views on wealth, there's no shortage of rationalization among the New-Wage "leaders" about that. On more than one occasion, Mr. Fire (to give but one example) has defended his own brand of spiritual materialism as being right in sync with the teachings of Buddha. In a fairly recent blog post he mentioned a book he'd been reading.

The Buddha’s Teachings on Prosperity at Home, at Work, in the World by Bhikku Basnagoda Rahula. What a great book! I’m relieved to see someone show that Buddha was not against wealth or success. He instead wanted you to be wealthy so you could help yourself, your family, and your community. That’s exactly what I say is the best reason to get rich. I never knew Buddha agreed with me. Anyway, this is an insightful, practical book that I keep returning to. Get it. Make it your devotional reading for a while. Rich stuff.

Prosperity Buddhism is to the New Wage as Prosperity Christianity is to the Born-Again camp. And I'm sure Buddha would be pleased and proud to know that Mr. Fire just bought himself yet another car, a 2008 Rolls-Royce Phantom, auto of choice for sheiks and tycoons. Prices start at $340,000.00 US. He offers this latest purchase as further proof that his "Attract A New Car" program really works.

Anyway, Michael Mirdad admits that he too charges for his services, products and workshops, but says that in the more than twenty-five years he's been in the biz, he and his staff
"have NEVER turned away a student who couldn't afford our workshops or sessions – that is, as long as that student or client was sincere about learning or healing." He added:
At our recent mastery intensive, our attendees were surprised to see that such a large portion of their fee was spent on workshop supplies, guest facilitators, and on beautifying the property for their further enjoyment. In other words, we directly gave back to those who gave to us. We see this as a win-win scenario, rather than being one person benefiting from what they take from others.
In all fairness I should say that judging by what I've seen and heard, some gurus and leaders, including Mr. Fire, do occasionally make exceptions for people who can't afford their workshops or other events. But Mirdad's main point seems to be that when it comes to keynote speaking engagements (as opposed to seminars and workshops and such), most of these folks are waaaay overpriced in the first place. Even realizing that concepts such as "overpriced" and "affordable" are generally subjective judgments, and even being aware of the keynote-speaking price tier, I am still left with one thought: Holy crap, $35,000.00 an hour?!?

I gotta find me a scam. (So, okay, that's two thoughts.)

Contents of magical briefcase revealed!
Speaking of scams, on several occasions I've mentioned the magical mystery briefcase you get when you shell out the nearly two thousand US dollars required to join "Scientist" Bob Proctor's famous Science of Getting Rich Program, in which he partners with two fellow Secret hustlers, the aforementioned Jack "Chicken Soup" Canfield and the Reverend Michael "Zormak" Beckwith. But just what is in that briefcase?

Well, here's a clip that reveals everything.

And as a special bonus for my faithful readers, here's Scientist Bob himself unzipping it and showing it all. (I promise this is not as disgusting as I made it sound.)

The take-away lesson from Bob's show-and-tell: "The main thing is to keep The Main Thing the main thing." It is this thought (along with that briefcase, of course) that is supposed to hold the key to making millions of dollars.

Look, I know we're supposed to respect our elders and all of that stuff. But can someone please explain to me WTF so many people see in this guy?

Apparently enough people see enough in him that he has sufficient resources for yet another sea cruise this year (I wrote about last year's cruise here). This year's theme is all about prospering in the changing economy. Here's a link to the speaker list.

They probably won't be giving briefcases away on this one. I'm sure they're way past briefcases now. (Perhaps miracle steamer trunks, a la Joe Versus The Volcano...?)

DNA activation really works: scientifical proof!
Among the conspicuously enlightened, many of whom like to pretend they are highly trained scientists, DNA is a really, really big thing. Some of these folks can barely spell DNA and aren't even sure exactly what the initials stand for, say nothing of what DNA actually is; nevertheless, many of them either sell or promote various techniques, products or gimmicks that aid you in reprogramming your DNA in order to achieve wealth, health and happiness, and/or to raise your vibrational level. Naturally, I have made fun of this, and so, as it happens, has my pal HHH in the UK.

But HHH had a humbling lesson recently, and he wrote to me about it.
I felt I should check out Gregg Braden's work before casually dismissing it, and boy am I glad I did. Gregg says that our maintaining a positive state of wellbeing can activate the hidden divine code within our DNA. So, both before and after a period of intensive prayer and offering of gratitude to the all spirit, plus a bit of chanting and wotnot, I had my DNA tested. I know technical stuff like DNA analysis bamboozles less cutting edge people, but I'm sure anyone can see the hidden code in my DNA. Find attached the highly scientifimicological diagram of my DNA, before and after activation.

[Note: Click on graphic to view it full size.]

Wow. I too am a believer now. Thanks, HHH!

Another brain destroyed by The Secret
Speaking of The Secret, a dear friend of mine who at one time was kind of a Secret fan sent me an email recently about a pal of his who had been introduced to The Secret around the same time as he.

I had a real sad eye opener re “self help.” My friend who watched The Secret about the same time I did has gone off the deep end. He quit his nice easy PhD. job, cashed in his retirement, went to Mexico to live with his Internet bride, made $0 in 6 months while launching his breakthrough website; had to beg borrow and steal to get back to the US; hasn’t paid child support in months (but has managed to learn all the secrets of the ever expanding universe). [He] met some “prophet” (read: down and out retired PhD) in the Caribbean and they are starting an “online university” to revitalize and reinvigorate the universe.

All of a sudden “Democracy” and the US government are evil incarnate (OK, so a lot of folks say that, but guess where he came when he finally
bottomed out and needed $$?) [Other beliefs and stuff he's into]: Extraterrestrials “seeded” Terra Firma and spoke through Ra, god of Egypt...worldwide alignment of the Pyramids…Rothschild banking conspiracyBilderbergs…the Trilateral CommissionIlluminati…Bush, etc. A handful of people control everything that the other 6 billion of us do on a daily basis…

It was really sad to see this guy go from slightly eccentric to full blown wacko, and he’s all about Proctor, Hicks, etc. “The Secret was just an introduction to the truth as it is being revealed to the universe…BTW have you ever noticed how some humans look like space aliens?"

ARRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHH!!!!!!! That’s me losing what’s left of my flipping mind.
Granted, my friend liked The Secret, and its inspirational message seems to have helped him through some rough spots he was experiencing at the time. So I know that some might point out that because The Secret apparently was somewhat helpful to him, I could just as easily have titled this snippet, "Another life enriched by The Secret." But The Secret was just one of several factors in his life at that time. In the end it was his own hard work and determination that really made the difference. He didn't just sit around and wait for the Universe Genie to deliver good things to him. (And when he decided to go back to school to get his Ph.D., he went to an accredited university to get a real Ph.D., rather than one of those Faux-h.D.'s that are so favored by New-Wage "leaders.")

I also know that some might argue that had it not been for The Secret, my friend's buddy would probably have found some other road map to lunacy. And that may be true, especially in light of all of those conspiracy theories floating around. But the fact remains that in this case, it was The Secret that provided the "inspiration" for this guy to turn his back on his life and on people who were counting on him.

That's it for now, snippet-wise. I leave you with another song that I just can't get out of my head (thanks to Shaza). This is an old one by Phish. The video part leaves a bit to be desired, but this is the studio recording of the song, which is far superior to the live-concert version that can also be found on YouTube. For some inexplicable reason this song was going through my head all through Hurricane Ike and during the power outage afterward. And even though I was sick of hearing it in my head, it was the first thing I played on my computer once the power came back on. Thankfully, I wasn't actually wading in a sea of any kind during or after Ike's visit, but unfortunately, many people were.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent post but I thought David Schirmer the Aussie (cough, vomit, sprew) wannabe guru, fake investment coach, ludicrous lying leech was the wannabe Lerve Guru.

I sit here and think that these idiots all are getting whats coming. I bet they are financed to the eyeballs to make sure everything appears what they are telling people about. We've already seen that idiot in Australia lose his dignity, his house, his credibility, his sanity (not sure he ever had any) and his sense of reality over this stuff. Whats to say that the rest of them are not following suit so it would be interesting to know just what their REAL bank balances are. I suspect a lot of people who pass them off (or probably piss them off) have a hundred times more.

And don't forget their price might sound like $35,000 per hour when it fact they only do about one hour a month if that!!!!!!!! It all SOUNDS good and follows the same HYPE that they teach.

Thursday, October 02, 2008 3:51:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you, Anon. David Schirmer has certainly had his share of legal and personal troubles, with more to come, no doubt. And I suspect that many other New-Wage gurus don't exactly have impeccable business practices or personal lives either. I further suspect that many of these folks have a tendency to exaggerate their accomplishments and their success, as Schirmer seems to have done on many occasions.

One point, though: It probably wasn't very clear in my post, but I wasn't suggesting that any of these guys are making $35,000.00 an hour or more 24/7, or even very frequently. (Although even a "mere" $35,000.00 a month is not small potatoes for most of us.) Those figures are just the fees they say they charge for keynote speeches at conferences and similar events. In some cases, the published figures may be more to boost their "perceived value" than a reflection on their real income from speaking. What I found snarkworthy was the very fact that these figures, even if merely theoretical, are so high compared to the fees charged by people in other professions.

I should also point out that most of these gurus have numerous other income streams, e.g., from books, audio and video products, workshops and seminars, and various joint ventures, MLM schemes and affiliate programs. The more successful/well-known they become at all of that, the higher they can set their speaking fees.

Whether they actually receive those fees or not, or receive them on a regular basis, is another matter, as you suggested. I am sure that those who have reached a certain level of name recognition regularly pass up speaking invitations because the organization extending the invitation can't afford the steep fee. And I am sure that in some cases, particularly for a "good cause," some of these gurus may lower their fee or, in rare cases, waive it. (Especially if the "good cause" is another conspicuous-altruism op. Damn, I'm cynical).

But some of these folks are getting lots of money from *somewhere*. To give just one example, one of the people I mentioned in my post, Joe Vitale, just bought a $340,000.00-plus Rolls-Royce – after just buying a classic 1976 Jaguar and a $150,000 "fuel-efficient" Scorpion (the latter being his nod to "green" living, I suppose). Previously he'd bought a couple of expensive Panoz sports cars to add to a couple of BMWs he already had. He really plays up these purchases, using them as lures to convince people that the stuff he teaches really "works." And granted, some people find inspiration if nothing else in his stuff, and there are always plenty of folks who say they used his techniques or bought his products or whatever, and they have enjoyed similar successes.

Cars and such are just material things, of course, and even car-happy boasters like Joe at least pay lip service to the idea that there are more important things in life such as emotional and spiritual fulfillment. However, he claims to have all of those intangibles as well as material success, and once again, he uses these claims to market his stuff. (Well, why wouldn’t he, after all?)

With him as with most gurus, a great deal of attention is paid to marketing as well as to cultivating a public persona. Few people -- especially those who either want badly to believe, or those who are benefiting directly from a guru's success -- will dispute the public claims.

I should also say that I don’t see anything wrong with charging market prices for one’s work. It was an issue I struggled with for years in my own business, first as a freelance writer and then as a ghost writer/editor/book designer. And ghostwriting isn’t cheap; our fees begin at $25,000.00. On the other hand, creating a book for someone is much, much more than an hour’s work. It takes months of our time and effort, and requires thought and skill. (I know, I know, a lot of those New-Wage gurus brag that they can write a bestselling book in a week. And many of their books *read* as if they were written in haste, and most of them are NOT bestsellers.) My point is that established professionals should indeed charge market prices for their work and they’re cheating themselves if they don’t. It’s just that they should offer something of value in return, and while I realize that “value,” like “affordability,” is a subjective judgment, I also question just how much value some of the selfish-help gurus are really delivering for their hugely inflated fees.

Thursday, October 02, 2008 10:08:00 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Cosmic Connie,

You give great snarp as always. And thanks for the nod to Michael Mirpad, I'll try him out, he might be on to something with those old masters.

Thursday, October 02, 2008 4:03:00 PM  
Anonymous AbalanceofHope said...

Nice post Connie, I enjoy reading your snarps on the selfish newage mob.

I gotta say though - that briefcase. I checked out the link and watched (with the same disdain as I watch someone shove 3 hotdogs in their mouth at the same time)... and I'm just wondering. With all that stuff in the briefcase - the cds and mp3 player and the other useless crap that wouldn't even pass as a cheap christmas present - where is the room to put actual NEEDED stuff, like folders, pencil cases, a good book for the train ride home, a lunch box, wallet etc? The briefcase seemed pathetically small! So I thought I'd give others a cost-cutting alternative:

Leather briefcase from K-Mart, $80.00 (twice the size, too!)
Mp3 player 1GB, priced at less than $30.00
CD's: Second hand Amazons - whatever you can't download off bittorrent, you can find second hand on amazon (average $75.00 for this).
Vision board, creative chart, tacky motivational posters: Less than $5.00 at a good printer / copier place (with a greater variety).
Pen & Highlighter: Office works, less than $3.00
Science of getting rich book: Amazons, second hand, less than $8.00.

Total cost: $201.00. How much are these ripoff merchants charging for their crumby briefcase?

PS: Having probs posting using my LJ :(

Friday, October 03, 2008 12:40:00 AM  
Anonymous yakaru said...

I found this phrase from your corespondent rather interesting: "...Bijan and all the other people who have committed sexual offenses..."

I wonder if that was a freudian slip. That, and the obsession with "male authority" adds up to a familiar picture. - Also the idiotic "he is beyond your belief system" - I've heard that kind of talk associated with a "powerful" gurus so often before...

What I've noticed is that gurus basically fall into two types: the "nice" ones who try to give people what they want; and the "powerful" ones who tell you why you "need" them - because they have a power you don't.

The nice ones tell you you've "got it already" so just be Here and Now (with them, in their presence, in Truth); and the powerful ones promise to somehow *give* it to you, or "do it to you" if you go to them.

The powerful ones tend to just kick their girlfriends out when they (or their wife) has had enough, while the nice ones wait until the woman's boyfriend comes and takes her back, saving any difficult "scenes" or guilt trips, or confrontation with the separation from his mother which he never quite managed.

But then again, that's just my belief system, and maybe I reject my own "male" authority, or....something! Whatever, we are all one, so anyone who disagrees with me needs to look at their own trips before getting negative and judgmental!

Friday, October 03, 2008 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

ellen said...

"You give great snarp as always. And thanks for the nod to Michael Mirdad, I'll try him out, he might be on to something with those old masters."

Hi, Ellen, and thanks for the compliment. You might be interested to know that I just got another email newsletter from Michael Mirdad, in which he did a follow-up to his piece on "The Greed in Today's Spiritual Teachers." He says he received numerous favorable responses to that piece. But he also got "a couple of emails...that disagreed and defended the teachers who charge excessively, stating reasons such as that they paid their price for education and such and deserve to [be] paid well."

(As a matter of fact, some of the hustledorks DID pay a price for their “education.” They paid good money to buy their phony degrees. But I digress.)

Mirdad says that one person who disagreed with him on the subject just happens to be an agent for several speakers who now make it a policy to only participate in events that will pay them nearly $10,000 for an hour lecture. That’s still a little on the cheap side when you consider some of the fees I wrote about in my post, but nevertheless it’s a lot more than some event organizers can afford. It’s not a trivial amount by any standards.

Mirdad wrote that the speakers’ agent who made that comment referred to authors who charge less as those who are still struggling to reach a larger audience. Apparently Mirdad either had a conversation or an email exchange with her, and he reminded her that some speakers still make a practice of lowering their fees and attending an event “to simply add to the energy of the group or perhaps even receive something for themselves from such a group.” To which the agent replied, "In years past, just being together in the same room with like-minded, spiritual seekers, and devotees of spirituality would be remuneration enough. But now that such opportunities abound at every turn, it is less a draw to simply participate and commune than it once was."

Pretty twisted rationalizing, don’t you think? It would have been more honest of the agent to simply say, “Energy from like-minded spiritual seekers might make you feel all warm and fuzzy, but it won’t pay the bills.” And if she’d been REALLY honest, she would have added, “It certainly won’t buy you a $200,000 sports car or a yacht or a vacation home in Maui.”

Another reader suggested to Mirdad that maybe the greed shown by some teachers is a sign that it's time for a new group of spiritual teachers to come forth and lead the way. She wrote, "Perhaps those who charge the fees that they do may in some way leave the door open to lesser known named Divine Beings who bring through heart-warming, soul nourishing messages. That is to say, perhaps they'll price themselves at a rate that some will be nudged/pushed/guided to choose those who charge considerably less and have just as powerful messages to deliver, for certainly the messages don't become greater or more important simply because one charges a higher fee. Maybe it's time to let those who don't have marketing teams behind them, come forward?"

Which is really just a flowery way of saying, “Let the market decide.” Mirdad said he agreed with this woman’s comment but that even the next round of spiritual teachers will experience the same temptation of materialism. “But I hope they pass their test,” he added.

My guess? Some will pass that “test”; most won’t. In any event the point is moot for today’s new batch of “spiritual” marketers. These folks have met the materialism issue head-on by insisting that spirituality and great material wealth are not mutually exclusive. They generally feel compelled to add that being wealthy gives you a chance to make a difference in the world, so it’s a good thing, and some go so far as to say that being poor is a sin. Most insist that, furthermore, Buddha/Jesus/Krishna/Source/The Universe etc. WANT all of us to be rich.

(Here's a point rarely if ever addressed by the folks who say that everybody deserves to be, and CAN be, monetarily rich, and that the Universe wants us all to be rich: If everyone became, say, a millionaire, prices would go up and up and up, and mere millionaires would become the nouveau poor. In other words, there are certain basic principles of economics that these folks aren't considering. But that's a moot point because in reality, most people will not become millionaires, or even close -- not even those who attend hustledorks' seminars.)

One of numerous people who agreed with Mirdad’s take on the greed of spiritual teachers wrote, “My advice in regards to the greedy teachers . . . Simply do not feed them : ) Do not attend their events, read their books, watch them on TV, listen to them on the radio. . . do not give them any energy. Remember ‘by their fruits you will know them.’ If you do not know what fruits they are bearing . . . find out before you lose your soul and/or funds to what they are ‘selling.’ Better yet, e-mail these ‘spiritual’ teachers a request to borrow & use one of their yachts or their homes for a few weeks/months, along with their servants and toys, while you process some of their ‘spiritual’ exercises.”

As it happens, Joe “Mr. Fire” Vitale, who writes about his advanced spiritual state nearly as much as he does his expensive cars, will soon be generously sharing time and space in his new Rolls-Royce Phantom with three lucky people who respond to his email invitation to a “Rolls-Royce Master-Mind session.” Those fortunate three will get to ride in the Phantom with him and go to dinner with him and brainstorm about new money-making ideas. I’m sure he’s charging for it, of course. But no matter. Who sez those rich teachers aren’t also generous to a fault?

Ultimately, I guess, greed is really in the eye of the beholder. I looked at some of Mr. Fire’s recent Tweets on Twitter:

[from yesterday]: “Watching a team wash and detail my cars for the photo shoot tomorrow. Only car missing is the Rolls-Royce Phantom, which arrives next week.”

[from earlier today]: “Photographer from Heavy Hitters magazine comes out this morning to shoot my car collection. The girls are shiny and ready. I'll go shave.”

[from later today]: “300 photos later, the cars are shot, as was the gym, guitar collection, cigars, catarium, my study, my office and me. Why am I tired?”

Following that Tweet, another Twitter member wrote: “why do you find it so necessary to brag about your possessions?”

To which he responded: “Why do you consider it bragging and not inspiration to reach for more?”

Oh, yeah, I keep forgetting. The whole point of his writing and writing and writing and writing about his cars is not to rub people’s noses in his wealth. It’s to INSPIRE.

But seriously now...In the end, it really is a matter of “letting the market decide.” When – and if – the market finally gets saturated with materialistic spirituality, people will stop paying outrageous prices for the spiritual equivalent of junk food. Till then, well, I got a lot to snark (and snarp) about!

Friday, October 03, 2008 6:30:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you, Abalance, for taking the time to research a low-cost alternative to Scientist Bob's Magical Mystery Briefcase. But the one thing a person won't get for the $201.00 spent on the alternative is the chance to screw other people out of $2,000.00...I mean, a chance to help other people attain a life of wealth and abundance!

Friday, October 03, 2008 6:32:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Yakaru, you hit the nail on the head in so many ways with your comment.

Your last remark in particular:
"anyone who disagrees with me needs to look at their own trips before getting negative and judgmental!"...
...That seems to be many gurus' standard response to criticism.

Rolling my eyes...

Friday, October 03, 2008 6:39:00 PM  
Anonymous ellen said...

As one narcissist to another, I might be wrong but Buddha Joe may be selflessness in disguise. Lots of those old masters came to a premature sticky end and Joes astute observation:
“Why do you consider it bragging and not inspiration to reach for more?”

has just a tinge of truth to it, if we are not caught in the words or other manifestations of our strange brains.

Perhaps we all need a disguise or three, if thats not too schizophrenic for ya. Me? I lost myself long ago and never went back to look for it, so who gives a toss what clothes I wear, if I don't?
I thought I was following a path, the path disappeared and I was free-falling back to mama.
Wheeeeee----enjoy the ride! Anything goes, for it all goes, I laughed for months when I finally got the joke. Still cracks me up, its a great joke.
Still stuck in that good/evil trap?
What are you afraid of? Jump, and enjoy the feeling of the air all around you. No ties at all.
Happy snarking.

Saturday, October 04, 2008 6:44:00 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

"anyone who disagrees with me needs to look at their own trips before getting negative and judgmental!"...

Anything goes because everything goes--the only trip is my free-fall trip to mama.

Mr Sashen has good jokes and probably a spellchecker too, Which I, sadly, have no time for.

Saturday, October 04, 2008 7:27:00 AM  
Anonymous HHH Phd said...

Nobody has praised me for my DNA joke yet.
They start out calling you genius, then they take you for granted, then they become antithetical, then they just stop noticing.

Saturday, October 04, 2008 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Ellen wrote:

"As one narcissist to another, I might be wrong but Buddha Joe may be selflessness in disguise. Lots of those old masters came to a premature sticky end and Joes astute observation:
'Why do you consider it bragging and not inspiration to reach for more?'

has just a tinge of truth to it, if we are not caught in the words or other manifestations of our strange brains..."

Well, Ellen, I gotta tell ya that when I think of Joe, the word "selfless" is not the first word that comes to mind. "Shameless," maybe...

But perhaps I'm being unfair. At any rate, as is the case with most New-Wage gurus (or any other types of guru), much of what Joe says has a tinge of truth to it. But I often think he's (unintentionally) revealing truths about himself as much as about whatever else he's writing about.

It's true that most of those old masters didn't live the happiest of lives. Maybe if they'd been more focused on making a buck their lives could have gone better. And despite my apparent moralizing on the subject, I don't think there's anything intrinsically noble about poverty or intrinsically evil about wealth.

Still, I haven't quite gotten "the joke" yet in the way I think you are describing, Ellen, and I might even be happier myself if I did get that joke. I'm just not "there" yet. I'm still at the point where, for example, I look at Buddha Joe's latest "Tweet" on Twitter...

"If you don't have over the top goals, desires and wants, how will you leave your comfort zone? Aude Aliquid Dignum. (Dare Something Worthy)"...

...and while others might see an inspiring thought, I see yet another attempt, however subtle, to rationalize a hunger for more, more, more -- more cars, more fame, more recognition.

Not that my opinion makes a whit of difference in the large scheme of things. At least I "get" that much!

But I appreciate your input, as always. (And if by "Mr. Sashen" you refer to Steven Sashen, I agree; his jokes are great.)

Saturday, October 04, 2008 3:26:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

HHH Phd said...
"Nobody has praised me for my DNA joke yet.
They start out calling you genius, then they take you for granted, then they become antithetical, then they just stop noticing."

First of all, HHH, congratulations on the Ph.D. Second, I feel as if I am at least partly to blame for the lack of praise so far. I put your masterful illustration in with so many other snippets that people may have been overwhelmed. But don't worry; I'm sure some of your loyal groupies will step up to the plate and engage in some mindless screaming. (Mojo?)

Saturday, October 04, 2008 3:28:00 PM  
Anonymous HHH Phd, Fkd. said...

I thought I deserved a Phd as much as anyone else. I mean, universities, since when did they get the big monopoly on certificates, eh?

Saturday, October 04, 2008 4:43:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

"Fkd?" Wow, another degree already. You're quite the over-achiever. But you have a good point. University degrees are way over-rated. I should probably give myself a few degrees.

Saturday, October 04, 2008 4:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Dr HHH MD, Phd, Fkd. said...

's right

Saturday, October 04, 2008 11:19:00 PM  
Blogger JS said...

You've done it again, Connie. Great stuff.
Reading this makes me wish Bill Maher would do a movie about the New Wagers.
I also wanted to say thank you for the inspiration your blogs have provided me. When I first started reading your posts, I was just getting out of the new age way of thinking (at least the phony baloney stuff that I had been afraid to question before).
I am proud to say that I have gotten a publisher for my coffee table book about my city, (without using The Secret techniques) and part of the money from sales will be going to the local food bank, to help families in need.
Giving a sh*t for your fellow human beings, that's the real secret.
Again, thank you for all your observations and wit.
(oh, and there is a song I can't get out of my head right now either.
"Halfway Home" by TV on the Radio

Monday, October 06, 2008 12:20:00 AM  
Blogger bennever said...

I notice that you have used an image of W J Ennever from my site but did not seek permission. I tried to email but that was returned as undeliverable.

Please will you be kind enough to credit the source or remove the image. Many tks

Barry Ennever

Monday, March 23, 2009 4:05:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Hi, Barry:
First off, I am sorry you were having problems sending an email; sometimes Juno acts up. Actually, comments to my blog go to the same email address to which you were apparently trying to send your message.

At any rate, please accept my apologies for not attributing the image. Actually it did not appear in this post, but in this one:

However, I will also copy and paste this message in the post to which it belongs, and I will, as you requested, either remove (or replace) the image or attribute it. Thanks for pointing this out to me.

Monday, March 23, 2009 10:18:00 AM  

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