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Are You A Spiritual Window Shopper?

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In the last 5-10 years the search for meaning in our lives has taken
on similarities to visiting a shopping mall. Never before have we seen such an
array of teachers all saying they will bring ever-lasting happiness and proclaiming
their path is the way to Nirvana, that they have
the only or the best teachings, that if we do this we will be free,
transformed, changed for ever, happy as never before, fulfilled, enlightened. We
can even become a teacher or master within a few days: we once received
notice of a Guru Training program where we can become a guru in two weekends,
after which, the brochure assured us, we are guaranteed to receive endless
adoration, wealth, fame and happiness or our money back.

Put together a great interest in all matters spiritual with a fair
amount of money, plus a love of stardom as seen in the adoration of all things
Hollywood, and the result is a huge plethora of New Age 'stars'. We were
recently sent an invitation to a conference on Altered States of Consciousness:
Enlightenment, Entheogens, Shamanism and Peak Experiences. There are forty-six
headlined speakers, all of whom have endless credentials, books, teaching
centers and followers, and all of whom will speak for just one or two hours
each in a five day period. Subjects range from The Humpty Dumpty Trajectory:
Cracking Open Consciousness, to How to Tell Your Friends From the Apes,
Gender-Specific Altered States of Consciousness and, thankfully, The Miracle of
Ordinary Awareness.

At the MindBodySpirit Festival in London England, there is a huge
range of speakers offering subjects as diverse as Attract Your Past-Life Soulmate
NOW!, The Secret Tibetan Red Egg Cure, Discover Your Secret Chakras, and Learn What
Planet You are From. And that's just on the first day. Later on you can learn
spiritual laws for ascension, teach your DNA to listen to your higher mind or,
if that doesn't work, at least you can learn how to bend spoons.

When people are in need they will often try anything.
They are susceptible and easily vulnerable to outside influences. When ego-centered
or strongly persuasive people say they can help save them they believe it. There would appear to be
three main reasons why someone goes window-shopping for a spiritual teacher:

1. Life does not easily satisfy
our needs. We get something but always want more. More becomes the mantra. But
from constantly wanting more materially and emotionally, we then apply the same
principle to spirituality: more teachers and techniques must be better than
just one, surely?

2. Like the musk deer in India that
has a beautiful smell in it's anus but looks throughout the forest for that
smell, so we look for happiness outside ourselves and come up short because whatever
we find never lasts. This is the truth of impermanence: happiness comes but
happiness also goes. Not wanting to believe this, we continually search for
that elusive promise of foreverness, and we search for it wherever we can.

3. Everywhere we look we find
flyers on bulletin boards advertising how each can help save or heal us,
promoting different teachers and methods which are the BEST. Each is more
enticing: surely this one will finally solve all those nagging difficulties in
my life? Or maybe it's this one?

Where is all this taking us? How do we find our way through such a
maze of offerings? Many of the above subjects may have something wonderful to
teach us, but what can we really learn in an hour or two or even a weekend? When we dig
for oil we have to dig deep to reach it. If we dig too many different holes we
will never get to the source of the oil. In the same way, if we guru hop and
shop too much or learn too many techniques we will never get to the essence of
the teachings. Does this sound like you? Are you a
spiritual window shopper?

This blog is a chance for you to do a reality
check. Are you being taught to listen to your own wisdom and to be self-empowered
or is someone telling the way it is? At what point do you stop and are simply
still? Do you need to go shopping or do you need to look within your own mind
and heart for what you know to be true? Do you have any stories to tell, as it
could be helpful to others?

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You
can pre-order a copy of our book at: BE THE CHANGE, How Meditation Can Transform
You and the World
. It will be published Nov 3.

Come see us at our booksignings: the Boulder Bookstore, Boulder Colorado on Nove 3, Powell's in Portland Oregon Nov 11, Barnes & Noble in Seattle on Nov 13, and Barnes & Noble on the Upper East Side, New York. November 16th.

****

Ed
and Deb Shapiro’s new book, BE THE CHANGE, How Meditation Can Transform
You And The World
, forewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with
contributors such as Marianne Williamson, astronaut Edgar Mitchell, Ellen
Burstyn, Michael Beckwith, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Jane Fonda, Jack Kornfield, Byron
Katie, Ed Begley, Jean Houston, Russell Bishop and others, will be published Nov 3 2009 by Sterling Ethos.

Deb
is the author of the award-winning book YOUR BODY SPEAKS YOUR MIND. Ed and Deb are the authors of over 15
books, and lead meditation retreats and workshops. They are corporate
consultants, and the creators of Chillout
daily inspirational text messages on Sprint cell phones. See:
www.EdandDebShapiro.com