Laughing Buddha

The Foolproof Guide To Becoming A Guru – Part 1

Fake Guru Becoming a spiritual Guru is a tricky business. One wrong move, and you could end up actually having to work for a living. But with a few time-tested tricks from GD and me, you can have a spiritual empire which spans far beyond your dog and driver. So here’s the hilarious first-class pass for all those on a guru-trip!

[Disclaimer: No real gurus were harmed during the writing of this article.]

1) Invent The Big Bang:
The first thing you must create is that truly cosmos-shattering enlightenment anecdote aka The Big Bang. This is important. But what is even more important is that your enlightenment story must always be preceded by a disclaimer like, “I don’t really like to talk about this…” or “I only share this for your understanding.” And then share it as freely as a visiting card. Next, dismiss everything pre-enlightenment as a meaningless dream and choose your grandiloquent new name. Again, insist your disciples conferred it upon you out of love and respect!

2) Create ‘The Chosen Ones’:
To convert potential disciples, you need to privately say this to each one: “You have such great spiritual potential.” It does two things: one, it supports the poor bugger’s secret belief that he is a highly evolved soul. More importantly, it shows him that only you have the penetrating insight to see this, and guide him to his glorious destiny!

3) The Mystical Touch:
Tell your students what you want to give them cannot be contained in words. To add that special kundalini mystique, every once in a while during deep meditation, flap your arms like an albatross and channel moaning sounds from a galaxy far, far away. If you can’t burp up holy ash, at least wear enough crystal jewelry to make Elizabeth Taylor look like a nun.

4) Copyright Your Own Technique:
Next, copyright any ordinary technique in your name by adding the word ‘quantum’ to it. For example ‘quantum relationship yoga’, or ‘quantum argle-bargle technique’ or ‘quantum of solace method’. Explain it by randomly combining words like “fifth dimensional attunement”, “pure being” and “Archangel Zigzagel”. Finally, create a pseudo-Sanskrit Ritual Mantra ‘Oppa Ganga-namah Stile-Om’ (Translation: Oppa Gangnam Style)

5) Spread The Good Word:
Like every brand, you need a strong marketing & PR team, except you will call them ‘gullible-disciples-willing-to-work-for-free’. Virtual followers on social media are more important than real followers these days so give up-to-the-minute updates of your gloriously happy, perfect life. Since everything is part of one consciousness, feel free to recycle others’ ideas as your own (but remember to copyright your words and sell them for $13.95 in paperback).

6) Answer Every Question With ‘Absolute’ Confidence:
So what if your attempts at discourses are as shallow as monsoon puddles? Just paraphrase everything by saying things like “Don’t pay attention to my words. Listen to the silence between my words.” Remind students that even Lao Tzu admitted that the Truth cannot be spoken.

A few tips on dealing with smart-ass questioners. If you don’t know how to answer a difficult question, the first option is to shoot back: “Who is asking this question? Who wants to know?” If that doesn’t work, dive straight into the Absolute (as in the state of Being, not the Vodka). Remember this: “Pure Consciousness” is the correct answer for every question ever asked! For example:

Q: Master, my wife has left me, and I am about to shoot myself. What should I do?
A: Everything is happening in Pure Consciousness. Nothing happens outside Pure Consciousness. Pure Consciousness is all there is.
Q: Oh thank you, Master! I didn’t see that perspective! I am so small and petty.
A: Yes, you are.

If someone persists, then say with a deep sigh: “I am ready to give you enlightenment right now, but are you ready to receive it?” (If he persists in saying ‘yes’ that’s obviously ego speaking.) And if all else fails, dismiss the student as ‘too intellectual’. And recommend a month of kitchen duty to cure him of this disease.

7) Set Impossible Standards:
If anyone demands to know where they are heading, reply ‘the day you are able to surrender FULLY, you will be enlightened’. The trick is to use words like ‘completely’, ‘totally’ or ‘fully’. Because hey! What ‘fully’ actually looks like is so totally in your hands! So keep the herd running after goals like trusting fully, loving fully, serving fully and you can keep them busy for a decade at least.

If you do have occasional pangs of conscience, remember that sheep need a shepherd. If it’s gonna be somebody, might as well be you! And if the CEO of Goldman Sachs can get paid millions, why shouldn’t you? Chances are, you might actually help someone!

These tips should get your little spiritual movement off the ground. But the difficult part is yet to come – how to keep your new flock from bleating too loudly, grazing on greener pastures or jumping the fence completely. More about resolving these issues in: The Foolproof Guide To Becoming A Guru – Part 2.

Cartoons

The Real Akashic Records

Akashic Records Cartoon

GD Speaks

The Buddha Mask (And Other Spiritual Facades)

spiritual masksAs seekers, we may believe we have become aware now and dropped our false personas, but sometimes we have only traded it in for a new mask – a spiritual persona. In a hilarious group session a few months ago, my mentor GD helped us dissect and laugh at the masks we may wear as seekers, healers and therapists. Here’s my light-hearted summation of the key spiritual ‘displays’:

The Buddha Mask: You’ve seen the statue, now meet the person. Unaffected by others, far removed from worldly emotions, this mask says: You can’t touch me… I am beyond it all. Behind it hides sensitivity, fear and confusion. During my early Vipassana days, some people called me ‘aloof’ instead of ‘aalif’!

The Positivity Mask: Those who practice affirmations and positive thinking sometimes feel compelled to uphold an abnormally high frequency of ecstasy. Ask them how they are, and an automated voice reply comes: “AMAZING! Life is full of miracles!!” But when it is a mask, their eyes, their energy, and their aura tell a different story.

The ‘Superior-Seeker’ Mask: They enter a room, and the whole room suddenly feels unworthy. They carry a subtle air of superiority. They are on the high road to heaven and they smile beatifically upon all the creepy crawlies with an air of cultivated compassion. Proving superiority all the time is a dead giveaway for a sense of inferiority inside.

The Messiah Mask: They are out to change the world – one flailing, resisting human at a time. These are the givers of support and nurturance and advice… whether anyone asks for it or not! But give they must, because they need to avoid the confusion and emptiness within. A beautiful, socially approved mask and hence more difficult to let go of…

The Pundit Mask: References obscure texts and uses big Sanskrit words. Will disrupt a conversation to quote a 16th century Indian mystic or a little-known modern non-dual teacher. It’s a mask when they talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.

The Lost-in-Space Mask: They find a way to bring Pleaedians, Archangels and Entities into every normal conversation. They would interrupt you to whisper conspiratorially that there’s a 6th dimensional entity behind you right now! They take name-dropping to a whole new dimension.

While the masks may be twisted and rigid, the people underneath these masks are not foolish or nasty. They are you and me, GD said, innocently trying to cover up a wound of not-being-enough by putting on a show. Masks are a way of saying ‘I am special’ but ironically, each mask ends up proving the opposite: each mask reveals a lack of self-love and self-acceptance-as-I-am.

All of us play a variety of roles in life. When we are conscious of the role playing, there is no problem. Masks are problematic because they are compulsive and unconscious, and the behavior comes from ego not insight.

And whenever the ego creates a mask, it has to suppress the opposite in oneself – a compulsive giver finds it hard to ask for help; the intellectual ceases to listen and ask questions; Buddha-face cannot show vulnerability or intimacy when needed.

When someone asked GD at the end of the workshop how she could prevent the mask from coming back on later, GD replied, “Make a joke of it, phone us all up and say: ‘Hey look, my mask is back!’ The moment you become aware, it loses its power. And once you make it a joke, it disappears.”

And in the absence of masks, he reminded us, we can become like the beautiful little children we all are inside – who can be all of the above when required – and their exact opposite when required – without holding onto any particular face.

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