The Enlightenment Business

Tears of the Buddha.

Maybe you’ve felt it – or read it. Or perhaps even seen it.

There’s a growing global sense that a worldwide shift is coming. While some link this shift with such apocalyptic events like 2012 or The Rapture, the more subtle listeners know the real shift is in consciousness.

While the New-Agers have been singing about the Age of Aquarius for awhile, they haven’t been as clear on how or why it’s happening.

It could be the speed at which information flows through the web, and the hyper inter-connectivity provided through social media networks. Traditional gatekeepers have lost their grip on topics like work and morality.

More and more people are becoming restless. They’re not content with their current jobs, lives, religion, and relationships. They’re waking up to the fact that things aren’t working. They’re discovering the deeper questions that whisper from their inner voice.

Ironically, the pain of the current recession rippling through our economic system has likely provided unintended motivation to speed this process along. After all, if enough people are handed lemons, they learn to make lemonade.

Does this mean the golden age is coming? That war will cease, neighbours will embrace, and celebrity magazines will disappear off the racks?

On the contrary… the transition will be far from smooth. And the uncertainty will be capitalized on by the growing behemoth that some call “The Enlightenment Business.”

As more people start asking bigger questions about the universe, more gurus will appear to fill the demand. Some will be reputable, many will not.

Osho, speaking over 30 years ago, described how this process works:

Very cunning people have been exploiting humanity. They teach what to ask, and then they give you the answer. If you ask the right question, they will supply the right answer. And both are bogus because the question has been taught by them and then you ask it. And they teach you only questions which they can answer.

So the game goes on very well, perfectly well.

How can you discern what is a right question to ask? Osho is clear:

Never ask a theological question, because that is borrowed. Find out existential questions, find out where your difficulty is, find out your own problems. Problems are individual, they are not a universal phenomenon.

Remember that if a problem is individual, it can be solved – because it is true. If you have borrowed it from tradition, society, or somebody else, it can never be answered because it was not your problem in the first place.

What do you think about the enlightenment business? Share your thoughts in the comments!


  1. What do I think of the enlightenment business? It gives me the creeps, to be perfectly honest. I lump it together with the self-help industry as a whole, which is a multi-tentacled parasite that feeds and then exploits human weakness and the desire for “betterment” and “meaning”.

    That’s not to say that everyone is a charlatan. But I think the more dissatisfied we become with the state of the world, and ourselves, the more vulnerable we are to exploitation.

    And for every great spiritual teacher, there will be allegations of abuse.

    I remember asking an old sadhu in Varanasi, who’d rescued me from a marauding cow in a thunderstorm, about the idea of living in the moment. He laughed in my face, told me that *in theory* it’s a great idea, and then asked me to donate my clothes and bag to a local school.

  2. I think more and more people are asking questions, learning new ways of living, and becoming gurus themselves. I think there is a growing movement of conscious people who want to change the world for the better. I’m so thankful that more and more people want to improve their lives and live with more light. I started my own journey 15 years ago and here I am now. I live a happier life every day, I have more wealth than ever before, and I wake up every day excited about my life, even on the bad days. I have learned a lot from various gurus and self improvement experts. I have become my own guru. So does this industry upset me? Not at all! Watch me thrive!

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