Guru Gimmicks

by Leisa on January 23, 2008

This follows on somewhat from my “Sleepwalkers” blog, where I talked about how people get trapped into habits and behaviours that may be harmful.

Another area that I’d really like to encourage people to examine in their own lives is the common tendency in many people to give away their power to others, and to “hero worship”.  Now it is one thing to have admiration for someone who has certain knowledge or accomplishments, but another to elevate them to the status of “Guru”.

Not that long ago I attended a two day seminar with a presenter quite well known in the health industry, and it was an event that I was really looking forward to. Unfortunately I ended up very disappointed in the whole affair, and although the speaker was very engaging and a great presenter, there was very little substance in what he had to say.

The hype and theatrics that went on around the event deliberately created a feeling that the presenter was like some kind of rock star – complete with groupies, hangers-on, dancers, pumping rock music and fanfare.  All to create an image that led people to believe that this man knew amazing health secrets, and if they paid enough money, they too would be bestowed with the honour of sharing in these “ancient wisdoms”.

But those secrets never came, and I was watching everyone with grins on their faces, dancing to the music, clapping their hands and buying into the hype – not even realising that the information they were getting could be found in almost any whole foods health book for $20, but because it was dressed up in “mystery” they (and I), paid well over $1000 for the privilege.

To me, this is NOT empowering people with the knowledge that they need to heal themselves.  It is creating a following, and a population of people dependant on the “guru” to heal them.  It is giving away your own power of discernment, giving away responsibility for your own health, and being manipulated by hype so that you perceive value where there really is very little.

Now I don’t begrudge anyone the right to earn a very good living from whatever it is that they do – but there is a difference between paying someone for good quality knowledge and information, and paying for a lot of slick marketing with very little substance.  And there is so much misinformation and abuse of people already in the medical industry, that we don’t need people that endorse natural medicine to be disempowering people as well.

Because I have a passion for health and natural medicine, and spend hours upon hours studying this every week, it is wonderful to be able to share that knowledge with people who have a different passion in life.  I don’t expect my architect to have an in depth knowledge of health, and he doesn’t expect me to be able to design a beautiful home.  It is being able to exchange expertise and information in a way that supports all parties, that is a healthy way of living.

So all I want to like to say to finish on this topic, is to keep your wits about you when dealing with anyone that is giving you health information.  At the end of the day the information should empower you to be able to make sound decisions about your own health.  You should be able to take the information, understand it, and apply it in your own life with positive results.  That is what a true sharing of knowledge is all about – not just a gimmick from a self-proclaimed Guru.



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