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Reader comment on Andrew Cohen's passage ...

You Are Not a Prisoner


On Aug 23, 2011 Mr Lips wrote:

What an interesting discussion here.  Can you trust the message if you can't trust the messenger?  The answer is that you can't trust any messages, no matter the source.  This isn't sad, this is liberating.  Please read on.

iJourney, The Daily Good, etc., these are all candy for the mind.  You are in pain.  Your life is painful.  The details for each of us is different, but it is the same pain.  And then a message appears on your screen and for a few moments, the pain subsides.  You see that there is a method, a process, a paradigm or structure that will lead you out of the pain.  The person you are can change, be better, more whole, "enlightened" if you will. 

You leave the house for the day and smile as the stranger cuts you off in traffic or the boss criticizes your work.  But by the end of the day, you kill an ant walking across your plate.  You are gruff with your mate for using the wrong dishrag.  You are frustrated about what your boss said at work.

Keep meditating.  Keep doing yoga.  It will calm you.  This is not a bad thing, this is not unproductive.  It will help.  But you will not change.  You will not hold onto the thought or paradigm or method or whatever it is that you bought in the book or lecture or retreat.  These are all structures of the mind, and the mind cannot cure itself of being a mind.

I once interviewed a somewhat famous Buddhist scholar.  This man had travelled with the Dalai Lama for 20 years.  He had dedicated a life to Tibettan Buddhism, and leads expensive retreats all over the world.  While we set up the lights and cameras, he became visibly irritated that we were not moving fast enough.  He repeatedly interrupted the interview to check email in another room.  He was curt and unfriendly and never offered us even a drink of water.  I consider him one of the most difficult interviews I had ever done.  We were doing him a great service, yet were treated like a bother.

For the same project, we tried to interview several "famous" self-help authors and gurus.  These are household brand-names in the self-help market.  I can honestly tell you that dealing with their PR people is no different than dealing with any other celebrity.  They want to know what will be asked, where it will be aired or printed, and most of all they want control of the message.   They allow very limited access and only agree to interviews with the largest self-help promotional vehicles.  Self-help is a business like any other and the iconic figues at the center of these organizations are celebrity-brands.  Eckhart Tolle's brand has earned over $100,000,000 in the last two years.  How much has gone to charity?  Do you have any idea what Eckhart Tolle charges for personal counselling?

Don't forget that you are a consumer.  The guru or the minister preaches, and you pay in some way for the service.  Does the fact that your favorite singer is a jerk change whether you like the music?  That your favorite actor has a cocaine problem change your love if his work?  It shouldn't; it is entertainment.

Now why is knowing this liberating?  Because you, dear reader are indeed the root of all being.  This entire existance does in absolute truth emmenate from you.  The eyes that you read this message with are not a window into a world outside.  You do in all reality create this world at all times.  You do in fact create the idols that you pray to, be they Jesus or Eckhart Tolle.  You are the one who bestows meaning on them and their messages.

You don't need any of it.

Enlightenment came to the Buddha after he stopped trying to become enlightened if the story is to be believed.

If you truly want relief from your pain, retreat from all of these messages.  Stop reading the books written for profit, attending the lectures, or staying at ashrams.  They are entertainment.  Instead, focus only on your self.  Hold the "I" that you are steadily in your mind.  Be cusious, watch it, and let go of everything else.  The You that you think you are will not change, but you will find truth and you'll quit wasting your time and money.

Unfortunately, I can't charge you for this advice.  And that is how you know it to be truth.



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