Gurus are Human

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I received an email this week that spawned an interesting conversation. I’ll share it here. Hector wrote:

How are your teachings different from all the dozens of gurus advertising out there?  I’m genuinely confused by inconsistencies from the gurus.

For example, Wattles wrote books about health and riches and then he died at 53, lost his bid for public office and to my knowledge he was still scrambling economically.

The author of Science of Miracles, Max Long Freedom committed suicide due to leg cancer while his group was in disarray and his wife left him.

Arthur Ray is in jail.

I honestly would like to come to terms with these inconsistencies.  Can you help me?

I didn’t verify his facts, but here was my response nonetheless:

Hi Hector,

That’s a fair question.  I think the bottom line is that each one of them is doing their best to make sense out of life and how it works, and they enthusiastically share the nuggets of wisdom they find along the way.  But just because you gain wisdom, it doesn’t mean you will always be the perfect example of how to live by that wisdom.  If gurus waited until they had perfected a principle before they shared it, only perfected people would have anything to share… and I think we know how many perfect people in the world there are not.

We as students need to separate the principles from the person sharing them or we will quickly become disenchanted, no matter who we choose to listen to.  I’ve been mentored by many a guru, and I’ve seen more than one fall off the pedestal on which I placed them – but that does not remove the value from the truths I learned from them.  Life has a way of delivering tougher and tougher challenges – when we’re ready for the next “lesson”, life delivers experiences to help us overcome and learn.  All the big gurus are still members of the human race, and will continue to face greater and greater challenges until the day they die.

You may solve the money problem, or you may overcome a health challenge, but growth only comes through opposition in one form or another, and frankly, we’re here to grow.  The answer is to learn all the wisdom you can, and apply the principles to your best ability, so that those challenges refine you and strengthen you instead of defeating you completely.  To get up every time you’re knocked down is success.

About each of the gurus you mentioned – only God knows how they faced, or are facing those challenges. The ultimate measure of success is whether you can find serenity and happiness in spite of the challenges that rage around you.  Whether or not you’re teachable enough to grow and learn and become a better person on the other side of the present challenge.

People think they need money to be happy.  People think they need to be in perfect health to be happy.  But the fact is, it’s happiness that is the goal – and some of the greatest people who ever lived were successful at finding happiness no matter what. I’ve had a lot of people go through my programs and find out that they can actually have what they want, and then they go get it, and then they discover that what they wanted didn’t bring them the happiness they thought it would, so they use the programs and principles on more carefully selected goals… and the good news is that it works for those, too.

We can be so quick to judge a person by their bank account, or their outward appearances – there will always be those in the media who love a good hero-to-failure story, but if we jump on that bandwagon of criticism, chances are, life will bring us through experiences of our own that teach us empathy instead of criticism, and to be more forgiving in our judgment on others.

We must try to give people the benefit of the doubt.  Any more, when I hear a story of a fallen guru, I immediately wonder about the “rest of the story” that the media isn’t sharing. I wonder about the person’s internal growth and what lessons they learned in those final days.  I feel that I could probably still learn something valuable from them, and how I would love to pick their brain and learn from their errors rather than wind up repeating them myself.

Anyway, some of the greatest lessons come from our failures, and God bless the man who shares those lessons in spite of his imperfections.

In answer to your other question, to find out how I’m different from other teachers, you see an article I wrote about that very topic at http://www.positivethinkingtips.org/human-empowerment-in-perspective/

Hope this helps,

Leslie

His response:

Leslie,

Thank you for your prompt and thoughtful reply. I still remember when doctors endorsed cigarettes in advertising. That didn’t take away the value of medicine.

I am going to reflect on all the good advice I give to others and to my children, but I don’t follow myself. This is going to be my task for the day.

Without coming to terms with the gurus’ inconsistencies I mentioned to you, I’m always going to poison my progress with doubt and cynicism. I have been infamously good at that all my life and it’s time to change it.

Thanks again.

Hector

PS: I finished the Rabbit book and watched your movie yesterday, and I’m registering for the 12 week Family Course Today.

I congratulate this reader for his astute conclusion. Gurus are human. I’ve shared plenty about my own challenges, even in spite of the pedestal on which some of my readers have placed me, and hope this conversation helps others view leaders in the proper light.

We should learn what we can from them, but ultimately we must all learn to enlist and trust the guidance that comes from God directly. Sometimes that guidance leads us to a guru – but I don’t think that it was ever meant to be a final destination. Each mentor or guru is there to help us get past our present obstacles, or move us through to the next level of happiness or success.

Whatever the case may be, trust that when the student is ready, the teacher will always appear. As students, it’s our job to keep growing, learning, and preparing ourselves for our next teacher.

Isn’t life FUN?!  It’s an adventure for sure!

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Human Empowerment, in Perspective

Bell

There are a lot of success “gurus” out there, and in spite of what some of my readers have said, I have to admit I don’t really see myself as one of them.

Having traveled the seminar circuit, and having written two award-winning and three best-selling books, I’ve been lumped in the category of speakers who “have it all together”—which is laughable to me.

I am an ordinary person who tries her best to do the right things, but who still makes mistakes just like anyone else—if not more so. Perhaps one difference between me and other people is that I’ve made a project out of publicly sharing the lessons I’ve learned (and have yet to learn) along the way.

(Thank you for coming along on my journey—it’s nice to have your company!)

So what’s the difference between me and the other “gurus”?

Well, one difference has to do with my perspective on human empowerment.

While some gurus teach that you are the ultimate master of your own life, and that you can have, do, and be whatever you want, and that you deserve to have everything life has to offer—my take on it is similar, but it’s different enough that I think it’s worth bringing up.

Some gurus will tell you that you deserve it all.

That’s reasonable, but realize this: They tell you that so you’ll overcome the common mindset that you don’t deserve abundance.

In that light, it’s a good philosophy. But it’s incomplete.

Yes, we must overcome the feeling that we are unworthy or undeserving of success—but the flip side of that is NOT that we are entitled to it, or automatically deserving of anything.

The antidote for feeling unworthy or undeserving (from my perspective, at least) is to believe that the gap between who I am, and my potential, can be bridged when I lean on the power of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

Frankly, I “deserve” nothing because I fall so short of living the principles perfectly. But gratefully, I’ve also learned that I don’t have to be perfect to enjoy the blessings, I just need to recognize my shortcomings, acknowledge them, and rely on Him to make up the difference.

Think about it: if we’re really talking about Universal Law, and if it’s as absolute as the term “law” would indicate, then you would have to maintain a perfectly positive, expectant attitude ALL the time or the law of attraction wouldn’t work. Period.

Yet, while nobody keeps their thoughts perfectly (and I mean perfectly) positive at all times, goals are still achieved; victories are still won.

How do you explain that?

I explain it this way: God has provided a way for the demands of the law to be satisfied, but it requires honest effort to be obedient to the law, while I do my best to bounce back into right thinking as soon as I can, and having humility—humility which is demonstrated by acknowledging the role of, and my need for, a higher power in the delivery process, and hoping that God will make up the difference where I fall short when I trust him. (How’s that for a run-on sentence?)

It takes faith to believe that my Creator can and will help—but that’s the price I pay. The price is not to achieve perfect, unfailing obedience to all the laws of success every moment of every day. The price I pay is to do my best, and then have faith in God that he’ll line things up for me, anyway.

The key is unwavering faith.

Not unwavering faith in oneself, not unwavering faith in the laws (because that would mean nothing but predictable failure, from imperfect obedience to an absolute law), but rather: unwavering faith in God.

Related: Trick, or Treat?

So, do you subscribe to the philosophy that you ALONE are powerful enough to make your life the way you want it? It IS a better philosophy than believing that you are powerless to change anything—

But faith in yourself alone can only get you so far. Faith in a divine Creator takes you the rest of the way. In many ways, it can be harder to do, but when you get into the groove of it, it’s definitely the easier of the two options.

Some gurus will tell you that you’re the creator of ALL that comes to you. I see myself as a CO-creator with God. It’s a partnership. Yes, I am capable of original thought, and I am even capable of creating circumstances in my life with some independence.

But I’ve also learned (the hard way) that when I take the independent approach and get what I want, I find out that it may not have been the wisest thing to ask for.

(Be careful what you pray for, as they say—because you might just get it.)

Yes, I’ve seen astonishing results from applying the laws of success and utilizing the power of intention. But I’ve seen even better results when I first make the effort to determine whether my desire is in alignment with God’s divine plan. When I know with certainty that I am in alignment, it’s infinitely easier to have the faith required while I wait for the necessary elements to line up.

You might wonder, “What if what God wants for me is less wonderful than what I want for myself?”

I feel assured that we cannot possibly imagine the unbelievable rewards that are available for us; rewards that are beyond our comprehension.

We’re like the child who wants nothing more than the plastic toy in the store window, while our parents know that the joy will be short-lived, and that life has much deeper joys to be experienced.

So it is with us. Trust that the object of your desire may be, relatively speaking, childish in comparison to the rewards that are available to us. Check with the parent to see, “Is this something that will bring me ALL the happiness I’m capable of experiencing?”

True, you can use the laws of success to get what you want, apparently without God, sometimes with amazing ease. And using the laws in alignment with God’s purposes often puts you first through tougher challenges than by going independent…

That’s because He’s a good parent.

He’s smart enough to let you first grow into the person capable of appreciating and completely utilizing the reward when it finally comes.

Don’t begrudge the challenge that shows up when you set a goal. Embrace it with gratitude because it’s there to shape you into the person who will be able to fully appreciate the reward you seek.

Haven’t you heard that you don’t attract what you want, you attract what you are? How else do you think you change who you ARE, without opportunities to grow through opposition?

Yes, I am the captain of my soul; I am a creative being, capable of original thought, and able to build a better life for myself—no matter who I am, or where I come from.

But without God I am nothing.

Before you get all up in arms about that, think about it: I don’t dictate whether I have the breath of life in me today or not; it could literally be gone in an instant. (Try attracting another breath with your positive attitude when God shuts off the power fueling your life.)

You may not already have everything you want, but you HAVE been granted another breath, at least. How much say did you have in that matter?

It’s a gift worth acknowledging. I look at all I receive as a gift, even when I’ve worked my tail off for it.

So in summary, I am constantly reminded by my weaknesses how dependent I am on that higher power for strength. I rely on unseen help for the guidance I need, which leads me to the necessary resources to accomplish the goals I have. Call it the law of attraction, call it guidance, call it your subconscious, call it whatever you want. The point is, there’s something bigger than all of us that helps us along.

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been successful at achieving a goal with an attitude that I “deserved” it or was “entitled” to it. I think this is the reason why:

Sometimes when one of my own children comes to me with a request, and s/he approaches me with an entitlement mentality, I am more inclined to deny the request. (What makes me think a cocky expectation of a goal achieved is what will impress my Creator?)

Related: God or Science – Who Pushes the Apple?

But when my child comes to me with gratitude for what they already have, and make the request for something additional, sometimes I’ll test them with, “What if I say no?”

If their response is, “That would be okay…” then I usually freely deliver.

When their response is anything resembling a tantrum, I hold it back. I can’t reward the ingratitude. Even if I want them to have it, I can’t deliver, lest they conclude it was their tantrum that did the trick.

It’s all just food for thought:

How are YOU asking Life for what you want? With an entitlement mentality, a tantrum, or with gratitude?

Are you going to be able to find peace of mind if it never comes? I think you’ll find that sometimes it only finally arrives after you’ve learned to live in genuine peace and happiness without it.  My newest book, Portal to Genius (free) helps you understand this better in a story form.

Wow, that post was longer than I intended. Sorry about that.

If you want to travel this journey with me, I can help you better if you’ll read The Jackrabbit Factor. (It’s free.)

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