Celebrating Guru Free Week and 2010 Scammy Awards

Honoring Guru-free week

Dear friends

I have just learned of a very significant event this week – Americans Against Self-Help Fraud (AASF) are celebrating Guru-free week. They ask that you: “Go GURU-FREE by NOT listening to gurus and by not reading any more Self-Help books, at least until you have applied what you read in the last one.”

To celebrate this event, the AASF has published the results of their 2010 Scammy Awards. The Awards, based on research and reader surveys, acknowledge the most dishonest self-help and self-healing gurus of 2009-2010.

Why would I tell you about this?

I hope at least one of you is pondering the superficial irony of me – a healing “expert” and blogger telling you to stop listening to Gurus. Why would I do that?

The reason is simple – I am not your, or anyone’s guru. I never will be. And yes I know that all of the frauds also say “I’m not a guru” but they thrive off the attention and love, so let me be clear – I don’t. I am a private guy with a private life who would love nothing more to retire to an island and run an anonymous business. I could make a lot more money doing that (or returning to Law), but I don’t do that because I know I can help lots of people by sharing what I know here on this blog. So the least I can do is help you develop discernment so you don’t make the same mistakes I did.

My journey to “Guru-free”

Without boring you with my spiritual journey, I acknowledge that I have been burned by at least 3 false prophets or gurus in my life, 2 briefly and 1 expensively over a 5 year period. That says a lot more about me than about them. (Yes, I can be a slow learner!) All 3 seemed wise and connected and could tell me “God tells me to tell you…”. All 3 founded their own healing modalities, and at least 1 is internationally famous. All 3 truly believed they were speaking to God, and in good faith I spent thousands of dollars for courses or consultations before I finally realized that NO ONE speaks for God. How can anyone else speak for your essential essence? No one is closer to All That Is than You (it’s an oxymoron – you can’t be disconnected from yourself).

Having spent the last year dealing with very broken and damaged teachers of a healing technique supposedly “given by Creator”, all I can advise you is this: if someone tells you that something must be safe or good or valuable because it comes from God / Spirit / Creator: RUN, as fast as you can! The most disempowering part of the Guru cult is that people turn their rational minds off. They stop thinking about how ridiculous the person’s words are, because, after all, they are connected to upstairs!

So please, join me in celebrating Guru-free week. Please do as Americans Against Self-Help Fraud ask and take at least a few days to find your own wisdom. Read the books you have before buying another. Realize how much practical knowledge you have before you put anyone else on a pedestal. No matter what I, or anyone else tells you; no matter how good the advice sounds, don’t believe anything that doesn’t sound right or logical, and don’t accept that anything or anyone has a higher Truth than You.

If you’ve made it this far through my daily rant, you may also really enjoy reading the AASF’s list of winners of this year’s Scammy Award for the mist disreputable Guru of 2009-2010. The Awards are voted by an AASF survey and cover a range of topics such as “Hypocrite Award”, “Dumb Speak” and “Hoodwinked Award”. For more info see the listings: http://www.selfhelpfraud.com/Incident_Report.html

Yours in Guru-free week!


PS what has been your experiences with Gurus?  Have you been lucky enough to find a real one that wasn’t really in it for the money, fame or adoration?  Leave your comments here.

April 7, 2010 in Thoughts For the Day
Tagged , , , ,

14 Responses

  1. hi simon,

    thank you for posting this. a very interesting topic, i had thought about a lot.
    i think there are always two sides to every issue.

    on one side, the ‘threads’ of these so called gurus are multiple. the perceived ‘new age junk’ that turns people off and keeps them forever away from healing, the negative image it reflects to all other true seekers and devotees.. plus of course the lifes/lifetimes lost in being ‘lost’ in wrong paradigms..

    but i honestly think that each one of them means well, maybe knows about healing and spirituality on an intellectual level, but is not on the consciousness level he/she is talking about? i think that is what is creating real harm.

    and how can we say these gurus are better or worse then main world religions? to me at least, they have too many parallels. they give hope, they brainwash, they exclude, they put god outside of you.

    i know i am generalizing a lot, but at the end my believe is that they all serve the specific purpose of being a stepping stone to higher awareness. like dr. david hawkins explains it so well with the different levels of consciousness. everybody is at a different level and needs a different entry ticket.

    everybody has free will and a god given judgement. if people dont learn and dont make use of it, is it the gurus/religions to be blamed for?

    never letting go of your good judgement is a choice, like you did. like i did. like everybody can do.
    i think spiritual disappointment is a major traumatic happening in ones life, but then even that serves you as a gateway and you learn from it.

    its just my humble opinion. maybe i am wrong :)

    lots of love



    simonrose Reply:

    hi Pinar, thanks for visiting my blog.

    > but i honestly think that each one of them means well,

    I have struggled with this question. Of the three gurus I have had interactions with, I know for sure that one of them means well. Two of them I think meant well at the start but have been so distorted by money and ego that they no longer do.

    Case in point – when a follower says to a guru “I think there might be something wrong with what you are teaching, maybe people are getting hurt”, the guru who actually means well will at least say “show me the evidence, let’s talk about it.” The guru who no longer means well will say “if you say anything to anyone I will sue you.” This has been my experience with one guru, as reflected in the Scammy Awards result (which had nothing to do with me by the way, I didn’t even get to vote).

    This is more detail and drama than I intended to mention, but worthwhile if it answers your questions.

    Good luck with the RPT course in Istanbul, I hope you guys get the numbers, David is a great teacher. (Anyone reading this near Turkey, please contact David via our website for an amazing weekend of grace.)



  2. Hi Simon,
    I have a VERY strong BS detector which usually alerts me to (accurate within about 150 metres) the proximity of crap, hypocrisy, nonsense, or any of the other usual signs of a ‘false prophet’. Having spent pretty much my whole life searching for a good teacher (i never knew why, but i just always had a feeling that there must be SOMEONE out there who had achieved what I had always been looking for) I found one a few years ago.
    This is a man who truly seems to have no ego; pretty much infinite patience; and 24 hour joy radiating from every aspect of his being. I’ve known him for about 3 years now, and he works harder than anyone you can imagine – spreading love, wisdom, and beauty in every way he can (and he has many ways!). Without him, I wouldn’t have come to you, and with his help… he’s helped me a lot.
    So, please be assured, there are real masters out there.
    I don’t like the word Guru. It’s an Eastern word which most of us Westerners don’t fully understand.

    Anyway, while I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment behind your article (I really have no time for the ego in spirituality – it’s another oxymoron no?! – it drives me nuts, and there’s SO much of it isn’t there!) I find it a bit TOO cynical.

    I’m looking forward to checking out the Scammy Awards though!

    ps – You know, the reason these people exist and get away with so much is because our society educates it’s children NOT to be discerning…


    simonrose Reply:

    Well you are lucky to have such a great BS detector and to have found a good teacher(s). Also I acknowledge that you know the Eastern meaning of Guru (you even wrote about it on this blog), which is not the same as the usual Western meaning.

    I don’t want to get caught in a rant about whether I’m too cynical. I think my other reply to Pinar says it all.

    For the record I have met AMAZING teachers who are in their integrity. My favorite in this context would be my spiritual coach and friend Soleira Green. The key distinction between Soleira and any guru is that Soleira only ever helps people find their own light. I consider myself blessed to have met her, as it was Soleira that de-programmed me from the cult of Creator (someone else’s new age idea of God) and taught me about Beingness and the light within – a major theme of this blog. My committment now is to share this transition with everyone freely here.

    Back to your post; a guru by definition helps people to find the light via them. The Guru says “If you are not ready to see yourself as the light, to see that Though Art God, then see Me as the Light and allow me to take you there.” This may be culturally appropriate in India but the transplantation of this concept into the Western Hemisphere has only resulted in the disconnection of people from their own light.

    The joint winners of the Scammy Awards say it all – charging thousands of dollars for people to connect to God their way, whether fatally in a sweat lodge or by changing your brain state and travelling through an imaginary inter-dimensional wormhole (or whatever it is she does). They are gurus but they are only drawing people further and further away from the light within. Until the day the light becomes so dim it flickers and fades – which is the case with all the cult-survivors we are helping.

    best wishes


  3. Totally agree with you Pinar


  4. here some beautiful short videos on BEINGNESS, from Beings who would not call themselves GURU or teacher.

    the traditional ramana: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlRkmbqRB88&NR=1

    his more modern (and so maybe easier to grasp) manifestation


    simonrose Reply:

    thank you Sascha. I believe that, like Ben, you have had a very different experience of “gurus” then me. I think you are both very lucky to have found such authentic teachers.


  5. hi again

    simon, thank you very much. we are very excited about the seminar here in istanbul. even though we are a smaller number of people, david agreed to come and do the course anyway… i even have a friend who is flying in from berlin to attend the course. if you really wish for something, it happens..

    i am sorry to hear that you had such a bad experience.
    i think your ‘guru’ really meant well for himself :) )
    seems the spiritual ego is even trickier then our regular day-to-day devil
    i have learnt not to take anybodies opinion at face value, it made me more self reliant. so i am grateful for my disappointment anyway.

    best wishes from istanbul to all..



  6. It is a funny award. I completely agree that we should not hide behind a “God told me to…” and instead take responsibility by saying “I heard…” “I feel …”. I teach my students that we always have filters that cause us to interpret the truth we hear, one way or another. It is much better to assist someone in uncovering their own truth, instead of serving them ours as if it was THE truth.
    I’m with you about the following gurus… I did the same (yep, slow learner I might have been, or overly trusting) and it was not pretty. I must admit that I feel a bit vindicated at seeing the results of the award, silly me, I don’t need this to tell me that what “they” did wasn’t cool, but hey, I’m still human! ;o) and yes, of course, I cleaned whatever patterns in me attracted that situation to me in the first place. Live and learn, and then learn some more!


    Tamara Reply:

    Oh, and I also agree that it is not the method or even the practitioner that allows for the healing to take place. It is merely the state of presence in the person receiving the healing and/or the practitioner. The less we do, the faster it goes. Now we can actually say that we get paid for doing nothing!


    simonrose Reply:

    hi Tamara,
    thanks for sharing. Is it a funny award? I think I’m just giving back to those that answered my request.

    I enjoyed reading your website – I hadn’t read any other healing blogs so I followed the link.



    Tamara Reply:

    I meant funny as in peculiar (french is my first language). I’m glad our paths are crossing, seems that we have been working on similar things, with a similar way of being, and I’m glad for that. It’s good to have fellow non-gurus on this path who are open to constantly learning and refining. I feel a sense of kinship with you guys, and my heart rejoices.

    Say hi to Val for me. I haven’t been in contact since things went haywire in 2005, and she is a great person. Val, if you are reading this, I send you my love!


  7. It is an interesting, even surprising, concept– in whom do we place our trust for the epic and deepest spiritual questions of humanity?
    I am an avid self-helper, with all kinds of ‘irons’ in the spiritual ‘fire’. And yet I always first consider myself a curious skeptic. Willing to investigate, but unwilling to attach myself. Nobody takes from me allegiance, money, implicit trust. I only choose when to offer it.
    I would say I only invest money, resources, etc. into seminars and trainings when I feel akin to what is being given, and that I am involved because I can afford it, I do want it, and I am only doing it for my long-term benefit. Yes I spend money in the pursuit of knowledge, but I also check my limits and stay close to my self-integrity.
    There are many self-serving New Agers that find a way into guru status because people still look to trust in someone– that’s where fraud and cults take root.
    But the key is trusting yourself. You are as much of a representative of the Divine as anyone else. That person may have something absolutely great to say to help you access your divinity, but if it costs you thousands and is at the expense of your self-worth, then its a message that isn’t necessary.
    The most healing messages I’ve received have sometimes come with a price, and also have come to me for free– but every time I felt ‘right’ about them. I leave when they no longer feel right.


    Simon Rose Reply:

    hi Jill and welcome to the blog
    > in whom do we place our trust for the epic and deepest spiritual questions of humanity?

    What about trusting in ourselves and our own instincts? We can learn from others, but the deepest spiritual question of humanity is a purely personal one.

    I have no objection to workshops and learning, I object to gurus. I object to teachers who are obsessed with themselves, or who lie about their own health/abilities to look greater than they are. That’s what motivated my anti-guru tirade (this article is over a year old – in fact the 2011 Scammy Awards have come and go since I blogged in 2010).

    Back then – I recall being so shocked to realize my former TH guru was in fact a sick woman relying on regular surgery and constant medication for her health. There is nothing wrong with that of course, I have had life-saving surgery too. It’s just a question of honesty and the glaring disparity between what people claim (“I saved my life by this technique”) and the truth (“I’m a very sick woman”). So suffice to say my guru-tolerance level is zero…

    Hope you enjoy the more recent material on the blog.


Leave a Reply


Using Gravatars in the comments - get your own and be recognized!

XHTML: These are some of the tags you can use: <a href=""> <b> <blockquote> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>