Friday, January 23, 2015

The High Cost of Enlightenment

If all books were free, who
would have the time to write them?
In a recent discussion on the Carlos Castaneda group on Facebook, someone commented that a well-known "nagual" takes money for his teachings. I hear this argument often - not just about one man, but about many naguals, including myself. But here's the thing - Carlos used to bring don Juan a sack of groceries, and drive him all over Mexico. And while it wasn't exactly a monetary "payment", it was a form of barter appropriate to the circumstances. But isn't money just another item of barter? Are our teachers (school teachers, college professors, et al) expected to perform their services for free? Do we go to a professional such as a doctor or lawyer and expect that we will not receive a bill?

Point here is simply that nothing in life is really free. I've had people argue with me to the point of mutual unfriending about internet piracy. Many seem to think it's perfectly okay to download (read: steal) a book or movie or song from a pirate site, in which case the writer/artist never gets paid and eventually has to start asking, "Would you like fries with that?"

At THAT point, their art is usually forfeit altogether, and any knowledge or artistic talent they may possess never sees the light of day. The consensual agreement (and the foreign installation) wins because some deep-rooted programs tell some seekers that it is "wrong" for a teacher/artist/writer/musician to take money for their time and efforts.
The bullshit justifications for piracy  run rampant.
Calling a turd a rose won't make it stink any less.
Think before you stink.

All of the seekers I've ever worked with have jobs of one sort or another, and they expect to get paid. Why is it different for teachers? Is it just a sense of entitlement? Do we EXPECT everything in life to be free? I'll be sure to tell that to the door greeter at Walmart when I walk out without paying for a big flat screen t.v. and a stack of DVDs and books. "Information and the means to access it should always be free!" I'll say to her... just before the cops pull up and arrest me.

This is one reason I have personally tried to make myself and my knowledge available online. I've even encouraged other "naguals" to do the same, but most don't and most won't. One even said to me, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?" Meaning - why would anyone buy my book when I make it (and myself) available for free. Well... I don't have an answer to that, and it doesn't really concern me. I work for a living, own my own retail business, and do editing and book packaging for other writers as a sideline. Sure, I love it when someone buys my book or asks me for an intensive personal/private consultation, but I also love (and benefit spiritually!) from being able to interact directly with others in discussion groups, or sitting in a restaurant over lunch. That facilitates my own assimilation and - hopefully - has the potential to assist someone else with their own. To me, that's a great exchange of energy.

I don't think there are any pat answers to this question. I have come under heavy criticism in the past for taking money for my books and for my private consultations. But here's the thing - I'd be HAPPY to trade my knowledge for a sack of groceries, but that isn't the world we live in NOW. So while I sometimes WISH everything in life could be free, I can't condemn people who take money (or other forms of barter) in exchange for their expertise. The question becomes - do you as the seeker benefit from the exchange, in which case it was a price well paid. If you DON'T benefit, either find a different teacher and move on, or turn to the BEST teacher in the house: the one who lives inside your own head.

The best guru in the world is the one inside your head.
You really DO have access to all the Knowledge in the universe - through the art of silent knowing (or gnosis, as I prefer to call it). You don't even need a teacher to access that knowledge, or to learn HOW to access it, despite what you have been programmed to believe. It is right there. It is in YOU. You can call it your double or your higher self or Uncle Bob - but it's in YOU and it won't cost you a dime. But if you're successful, what it WILL cost you are all of those belief systems that tell you there's a right way and a wrong way to spiritual enlightenment. In reality, the only RIGHT way is whatever way WORKS (whether solo or with a teacher). The only WRONG way is to decide there are WRONG ways and stand on your high-fallutin' principles instead of having the courage to shatter those false foundations.

Nobody owes you anything. Nothing is ever free. When you understand that is when you will have taken a huge step toward the evolution of your awareness and freedom from the machine.

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