Metaphorically speaking, there's a huge piece of broken glass threatening the feet of everybody walking this self-help path. And I don't see many educators in the community concerned with moving it aside so their students don't get hurt by it.
And it's this: no one on this planet can really promise you an outcome which depends on a transformation that has to happen inside of you.
For example, let's take a common promise made in the internet marketing community. That there is X system that will deliver you the result of making money from home, or some other convenient way which is preferable to however you make money now. We'll leave it at that for the sake of simplicity, though it's worth mentioning that usually these promises are a little more complex in that they also allude to making money in much greater amounts than you make it now, and in ways that will make life more enjoyable.
But what does it really mean... what's the deeper underlying meaning behind this promise? That there is some place to get to that's better than where you are right now.
The truth is, nobody can promise you that.
Here's why: YOU, not the guru, not the teacher, not the street-wise entrepreneur with years of experience and honed selling chops... YOU are at the center of your experience.
Even if (and in some cases it's a big if) the latest course on money making were able to deliver you atypical results and put you in exactly the picture in your mind's eye of where you wanted to be... you'll very soon find that the experience of doing is not at all the same as the experience of longing for.
And what I mean by that is *playing* a game is a much different experience than what it seems like to play the game from the spectator's point of view.
To a young impressionable man, the ideas of glory, of athleticism, of prestige associated with combat can be overwhelmingly influential. But to actually don combat fatigues and fly to a foreign nation with the intent of killing or putting yourself in situations where you could be killed is absolutely something else (and much less appealing). I'm a Marine speaking from experience, in case that matters to anybody.
In exactly the same way... to hold money or prestige or "true happiness" and "freedom" out in front of someone as a promise that making purchase of some course or taking up some form of discipline will deliver is in the most fundamental sense misleading.
Why? For the same reason you can't bite your own teeth (it's your teeth that do the biting) or touch the tip of this finger *with* the tip of this finger. What these promises aim at is a transformation of the nature of your experience.
For example, to take the unhappy man and make him happy.
But you have no tool to transform your self BUT your self. It's like trying to run away from your own legs. You can't because it is your legs that DO the running. Every step you take down that road is a faster and more pronounced proof of the futility of the endeavor.
Is this fatalism? Not upon close inspection. Because while I am saying in a very real sense it's futile to beat your head against a wall in hopes of transformation, it is that very attitude of dropping it altogether that allows you to wake up and smell the roses.
Unless you experience real, fundamental transformation of consciousness... acquiring more money, more wealth, "more" anything will only exaggerate your unsatisfactory inner workings.
And that sort of experience has nothing at all to do with gain or loss. It is completely independent of and inaccessible from the point of view of any system of symbols, which include money, fame, ego, superficial definitions of happiness to include a state of emotional high, or what have you.
It is *only* available here and now. Anyone who tells you that happiness can be "attained" is lying to you. You are being misled. Because the very idea of attainment distracts you from where you are here and now. And it is only in this very moment that any experience whatsoever is possible.
Does that mean to say that those who make these sorts of promises are evil? Not at all. I have no doubt that the teachers in these communities, whether it be self-help, or money-making, or whatever are mostly well-intentioned people trying to help others get a nice piece of the pie.
But all that is working on a level that is fundamentally ignorant of the deeper truths I'm talking about here. It should be noted I'm not disputing or attacking the intentions, characters or beliefs of any of these teachers or educators. Rather, I'm concerned with what's going on at deeper levels and so there are different criteria for evaluation.
I'm not concerned with whether X teacher can deliver Y result. I'm concerned with whether Y result is at all worth the trouble. Or whether or not there's something underlying the whole game to begin with that ought to be intelligently explored.
And even more than that, I'm concerned with the process of alert, awake intelligent consciousness. Because the man who's got a sharp, clear, alert, awake mind won't need to have his opinions fed to him at all. He'll be able to see straight away the reality of any and every situation.