Deepak Chopra’s name has been popping up in the media of late. A recent controversy was about him giving a talk at a cryptocurrency symposium: people were upset that such a “charlatan” could be at the event. Apparently some were complaining that Chopra has opined that consciousness is the driver of evolution not natural selection and therefore Darwin was wrong.
I met Deepak years ago — a couple of times. It was through my comrade Stuart Wilde, who was on tour with Deepak, Wayne Dyer and Louise Hay. For a while they were the awesome foursome of the New Age speaking circuit doing gigs around the world. I was living in Melbourne and Stuart called me and said he wanted to take Deepak and Wayne out to a restaurant and asked me to organise it.
At the time, compared to Stuart, Deepak and Wayne were big hitters in the lecture tour/book selling game. Stuart was delighted to be on tour with them. He said: “Deepak likes Chinese food so make sure you get a good place”. Stuart called me several times about it so I think he was really worried that I would choose a dump. The pressure was on. I chose a restaurant in Chinatown and we met there — the four of us plus my girlfriend.
Being so young I was pretty much in awe of the whole experience. The conversation started light and then moved on to mysticism and accessing higher states of consciousness. Then Wayne Dyer’s eyes lit up and said something along the lines of: “Yes certain drugs can really get you there quick”. There was nods and smiles of agreement from Deepak and Stuart.
A part of the spiritual journey is about opening up the Doors of Perception. Partaking in psychotropic substances is a big pastime for many a spiritual teacher. Experiencing altered states is often the nature of the travelling show. Some talk about it freely, while others are up on stage — sanctimonious, pretending they are pure and free of such indulgences only to be after the show hopping into Colombia’s finest.
The teachers of pop psychology and new ageisms have their place in our modern world. We can garner much from what they say, but we also should remind ourselves that such knowledge is not secret or special.
I thought that Wayne Dyer on stage was a bit boring. Deepak is very interesting and thought provoking. Tony Robbins — big talking, can do, wheeling, dealing speaker — I’ve never met but couldn’t listen to any more than 5 minutes of such gushing positivity. For a short time the motivational speaker will take away your anxiety as they bolster your confidence, but afterwards, what then?
I met a lot of teachers/gurus in those early years and fairly quickly came to the conclusion that it’s all a bit phoney. That’s OK, as some understood it was a bit of a show, giving the teachings a sincerity that I could appreciate. Stuart was like this — where the entertainment was often grandiose, self indulgent and undisciplined. But some teachers are grimly serious and pretentious, all the way back to the swishy hotel. And yet others are complete frauds.
The Dalai Llama looks like a lovely bloke, parading around in his striking robe. I have heard snippets of his teachings and they are truly lovely but it’s quite probable that he too thinks he’s a bit a phoney. He may have said as much — I don’t know. After all he fled Tibet when the going got tough. I wonder what he really thinks of that move?
Others are excellent at manipulating audiences. I remember a gig I attended at Melbourne University. It was along the lines of consciousness and mind and Dennis McKenna gave a brilliant talk. Loved it.
Up next on the bill was Graham Hancock. He seemed to be terribly upset that the “establishment” were not taking him seriously about his theories on Atlantis. At one point in the lecture I asked a question, challenging his evidence and he deemed it far too impertinent and was dismissed. The 200 or more people in the lecture all murmured approval. I felt like the lonely voice in the crowd in Monty Python’s “The Life Of Brian”. Brian was making his speech to the masses telling them they were “all individuals”. The crowd all chants: “Yes, we’re all individuals”. A lonely voice pipes up and says: “I’m not”.
So the teachers, the Gurus that we all should listen to — the one’s who have “got it” — are the ones who say they haven’t. Let’s face it, it’s all a bit of theatre and we shouldn’t take it too seriously. That’s why I liked Stuart. As I wrote HERE — best to get the information but not hang out too long.
But if Wayne and Stuart were still with us, I am sure they would agree – the genuine teachers are the one’s you never hear of. They are powerful and silent in their energy. They are the people you stumble upon from time to time: the gardener, the cleaner, the forester, the lawyer (did I say lawyer? – I guess it’s possible) — anyone who naturally has no ambition to convince you of anything. That great teacher could be YOU.
Such people are a delight to hang out with. They are not hiding or trying to project more than what they truly are. They are not complicated, or needy for people to believe in them. Nor do they secretly hold malice in their hearts while having all the graces wrapped and packed and organised for show.
So back to the restaurant – much to Stuart’s delight the night was a success and he thanked me greatly as did Deepak and Wayne. God bless the spiritual teachers. Amen.
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Categories: Mind, Spirituality
I love this and have followed along quite consciously and happily with all of these (and more!) teachers at certain points in my life (Stuey and Wayne are still part of my staple spiritual diet) and I am so grateful that they have been accessible and generous with their teachings. Alan Watts had it right though when he said …”Anybody who tells you that he has some way of leading you to spiritual enlightenment is like somebody who picks your pocket and sells you your own watch………” Peace and Fire to you xx
Great essay, I get it. I have either read of heard most of these guys. At some point you get it and you become your own guru. If you happen to stumble across that chance meeting with a real shaman wise man guru and you get a chance to listen to them great. I always like Stuart and his ideas. I still listen to his tapes and lectures and got most of his books. I have alway enjoyed spiritual learning, and I guess it’s a passion of mine but I eventually figured that the seeking some new teacher or book became the focus instead of the being. The accumulation of books and information doesn’t not necessarily lead to transformation. One has to look within to find heaven and remember their true name and purpose. No one on the out side can tell you. Some people need a religion that gives them all the answers and absolutes. Its tight and secure, narrow and predictable, I never liked that though I did that trip for years. My shoes were too tight so I bailed out and squats books fell into my lap for a shelf at the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver.