Gurus Who Light My Fire, Literally

I have many Gurus loaded up on my Kindle Fire. They’re all good. Sometimes one really grabs me, and sometimes I simply cannot understand a word they are saying. Paul Jarvis, author of Everything I Know, just grabbed me — his Guru-ness was nothing earth-shattering but very straight forward and honest. I enjoyed reading the one key takeaway I got from his short $6.99 ebook: honor your values above anything else and everything will work out.

Yongey Mingyour Rinpoche, a real Guru and author of Turning Confusion into Clarity, had lots of good stuff but also a great deal that I could not quite grasp. He would say that is a good thing knowing that I don’t understand something. Being aware of your misunderstanding is the first step toward understanding.

I guess that is what Gurus are for. They remind you of things you already know and just need to hear again because you have been overly consumed in your caught-up-ness.

I’m rummaging through the Fire — wow, I forgot about lots of these Gurus. I totally forgot that I read The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling by James Hillman. I don’t erven remember who he is. I refresh and come to find out that he is an eminent “psychologist, scholar, international lecturer, and the author of some twenty-odd books.” He’s also “a Jungian analyst and originator of post Jungian archetypal psychology.” I scroll though randomly and he writes, “Uniqueness in the mist of societal mediocrity is the subject of Studs Terkel’s interviews.” I have several Terkel works on my physical hard-copy book shelves.

A good number of my Gurus are writing Gurus. Take The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, who says “The artist must be like a Marine. He has to know how to be miserable. He has to love being miserable. He has to take pride in being more miserable than any solider or swabbie or jet jockey. Because this is war, baby. And war is hell.” Not so sure I totally agree with that statement, but I will admit that writing is indeed hard work and it does require a certain battle-like stance whereby you must constantly push yourself to get things done, which brings me to You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) from Jeff Goins, who advises me to not write words that others want to hear. “You have to be yourself, to speak in a way that is true to you.” In other words “taking yourself seriously so your audience will too.” There are many more writing Gurus I could quote, so many that I just picked the aforementioned randomly in order to save some time. They are all good books, all confidence boosters, all shots in the arm to get moving. I have way too many Gurus in the writing category. Pressfield would call that a form of “resistance,” meaning I’m reading too many writing Gurus instead of doing the actual writing.

Same holds true in the spirituality category. I mean this is where I often get lost searching for meaning in an absurd world. This is where I attack my existential angst and pursue some kind of intelligibility with regard to trying to find who I really am and how I can stay on the pathway of a life worth living. And while there are a few atheists in this volume — my favorite being Sam Harris and his book Waking Up — these are all very much in support of the supernatural and that there is life after death, there is something about our consciousness that is other worldly. From these readings I have come to disengage from the Richard Dawkins and Chris Hitchens of the world.

I believe! Why? Because there has to be something as Dinesh D’Souza argues in Life after Death: The Evidence. This book really held my interest. It was one I read right through in two days. He explains quite convincingly in my mind that atheists who profess that “the absence of evidence is evidence of absence” are false prophets because such thinking only indicates that “we haven’t figured out how to locate what we are looking for. ‘Not found’ is not the same thing as ‘found not to exist.’” That logic resonated with me because it gives hope and more of a reason to live life consciously aware of all your actions and deeds.

Another considerable volume of books address the future. This is my science and technology collection, along with a good number of books on how the Internet and our Digital Age are affecting us in dramatic and unprecedented ways. Things about the so-called Singularity have been drawing my attention, including, most recently, Our Accelerating Future, by Michael M. Anissimov (only $3.99), who writes that the Singularity is really “not about technology! It’s about intelligence and wisdom and higher thought, and getting to that through the only realistic means — AI or human intelligence enhancement.”

On the Digital Age side of life I have always enjoyed Nicholas Carr’s work and just recently started The Glass Cage, where he writes about the deep and hidden effects of automation and our growing dependence on software and computers.

There is, of course, a hodge-podge of numerous other ebooks on my Kindle, ranging from books related to psychology and happiness, to things on poverty, social entrepreneurship, politics, history, the Nordic countries, Bitcoin, various self-help guides for working more efficiently, and much more. The authors can all be said to have Guru status, and I am grateful to be living during a time when all I need to do is manage (an be able to afford) a few clicks to instantly obtain another well-lit enlightenment on my Kindle Fire.