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Your Unfolding Path
July 2001

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Carol's Current Column

by Carol Adrienne, Ph.D.

Carol Adrienne's work and teachings have been a great inspiration to me!  In August of 1998, about four months after my father passed away, I read about one of Carol's workshops in a Learning Annex catalog and synchronistically found her book on a bookshelf at the bookstore.  The themes of her teachings were familiar and comforting, as they confirmed the thoughts and ideas my father had shared with me shortly before his passing.  Her books and workshops ignited my spiritual curiosity, setting me on my soulful life path, which led to the very creation of SoulfulLiving.com!  Carol's participation has been an integral part of SoulfulLiving.com, at its soul level!  Thank you, Carol, with all my heart!
~Valerie, Founder and Soul, SoulfulLiving.com

Blame it on the Dalai Lama

I first met comedian, Steve Bhaerman when I attended his seminar, "The Alchemy of Humor," in 1998. Bhaerman, well-known as his alter-ego, Swami Beyondananda, is the author of Duck Soup for the Soul, The Way of Living Louder and Laughing Longer. He is also the creator of three comedy audio tapes, and a soon-to-be released music-comedy CD, entitled Drive Your Karma, Curb Your Dogma (a title which gives a tidbit sample of Steve’s wacky-wise approach to the enlightened life.)

How Can I Make a Contribution to the World?

One of the big concerns I often hear from people exploring the purpose of their life is: How can I make a contribution to the world? I don’t know where to begin. In this interview with Steve Bhaerman about the importance of being who we were born to be, Steve shared with me something he recently learned at an initiation weekend with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Mountain View, California. "One of the things I admire most about the Dalai Lama is his ability to take himself lightly," Bhaerman said. "For example, sometimes when His Holiness is asked intricate technical questions about Buddhism by very serious scholars, he might burst out laughing and say, ‘I don’t know!’ He’s light about heavy subjects. He models the idea that we don’t have to be a perfected being in order to make a difference.

"The teaching that my wife Trudi and I attended with His Holiness centered around the nature of selfishness and selflessness. The obvious aspects of selfishness involve the sins of avarice and acquisitiveness. The Dalai Lama’s message of compassion, of course, is a potent antidote to the dominant Western paradigm that the human race is something we run in -- either chasing some elusive prize or being trampled underfoot by those who are stronger and swifter. However, those of us who are repelled by this competitive paradigm may also be susceptible to a more subtle form of selfishness—and that is keeping ourselves ‘small’ so as not to appear selfish."

Four Ways That We Keep Ourselves Small

I italicized Steve’s last comment because I think this idea reveals a lot about how and why we stop ourselves from moving forward or taking a stand. We can free ourselves when we awaken to how we subtly fail to develop our gifts.

  1. Fear of being different from family or friends. Who are we to stand out? How selfish and self-aggrandizing! Antidote: Find a place to be of service, and don’t worry about how it looks.
  2. Procrastination. Why bother? We put off developing our talents, passions, or interests out of a fear that we might not succeed, or, worse, that we’ll look foolish. Antidote: Take one small step in the right direction, and see what opens up.
  3. Listening to old ‘scripts.’ How often do we hear that inner voice that says, "Who do you think you are?" or "What difference does it make if I turn a blind eye to [bad business practices, ecological disasters, injustice, and so forth]? Antidote: Remember that you have been placed in a situation for a reason.
  4. Apathy. We keep ourselves small by not being willing to leave our comfort zone to stand up for what we know is right. Antidote: Learn something new.

Steve says, "I grew up in a family where wealth was associated with greed. We were ‘too good’ to have money, which was a very convenient belief to have since we didn’t have any money. I came of age during the anti-materialistic 1960s and quite easily made a segue into voluntary (and later, involuntary) poverty. I became a self-employed teacher and freelance writer, and went out on the road as a traveling comic Swami. Throughout all of this it’s been a struggle to ‘speak my value’ without thinking of it as a self-centered ego trip."

A key principle to remember when opening up to your in-born life purpose is to Start Anywhere. For example, Steve’s own breakthrough in comedy writing and performing came out of a comic newsletter that he started while doing tree work for a city government. The newsletter literally created a new consciousness among his co-workers. In this case, Steve’s natural talent for observation and good-hearted humor—and his willingness to take the extra step in collaboration with co-workers—changed the nature of the job and created a higher level of community among all the workers. Steve was doing what came naturally—and by doing that, allowed others to shine as well. "During the weekend with the Dalai Lama, I realized that it is actually selfish to keep yourself small (i.e., not develop your talents) out of the misguided fear of appearing selfish. Keeping your gifts to yourself instead of using them is really a sin."

Since Steve’s passion for healing laughter became clear, his mission is to create conscious comedy, which wakes people up as opposed to putting them to sleep. He says, "I remember reading about [comedian] George Carlin several years ago. He said that people go to comedy clubs to release just enough tension in order to be able to go back to their stifling and mediocre lives. I think that’s generally true, but I also believe that there is a whole new population that is yearning for a new way to laugh at life and let that laughter bring more light into the world. For example, I recently read the book, The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World by Paul H. Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson. This population—the Cultural Creatives—values personal growth and self-actualization in the context of a world that works for everyone. I was excited to read about the growth of this movement because the music and comedy on Drive Your Karma, Curb Your Dogma speaks directly to this audience. The ideas are about ‘taking the wheel’ as far as your own destiny is concerned. It’s about steering clear of limiting ideology and beliefs and about being who you were meant to be. You don’t have to be special or be the Dalai Lama in order to make a contribution. Just be yourself." Lyrics from Steve’s new CD exemplify these ideas:

"If you think you need a special key

To unlock the holy mystery

Brothers and Sisters, better be prepared for a shock

Because the whole Universe has been left unlocked."

Steve’s lyrics also speak to our fear that we are being selfish when we take time to develop our interests and talents by reminding us that:

"The unexamined life is not worth living

Philosophers have said this for so long

But I say, the unlived life is not worth examining

So be happy,

Be useful

Live long."

How do I contribute and where do I begin?

Do what you love to do. Look for ways to collaborate with others who share similar aspirations and values, says Steve Bhaerman. For example, to launch his new CD (Drive Your Karma), his performances benefit New Dimensions Radio (see locations and times below). New Dimensions Radio, a syndicated leading-edge interview show that airs on 300 public radio stations as well as on international armed-forces radio, is totally supported by listeners, and reaches 7.5 million people around the world. New Dimensions is the only national radio forum for the ideas of the cultural creative movement, and as Swami would say, "We need more for-um’s and fewer against-ums."

By collaborating with another venture such as New Dimensions Radio, Steve’s passion and talents synergistically become "larger." A win-win situation is effortlessly created for all involved—including the audience, many of whom are Cultural Creatives. By creating a forum where everyone is given a chance to further something they would like to see more of in the world—i.e. the broadcast of community-building, innovative ideas by master teachers and authors—Steve contributes to "the world." He not only develops his own products and services, but also creates a forum where everyone can participate with their passion and their talent. This win-win concept, by the way, is one of the primary ideas in James Redfield’s The Celestine Prophecy’s Eighth Insight, in which evolution is furthered by each individual’s enlightened (conscious) action—no matter how seemingly small. As Steve Bhaerman’s song goes….

Blame It On The Dalai Lama
(to the tune of Blame it on The Bossa Nova by Eydie Gormé)

"I was in a trance

When he happened by

Thinking just of me

And not the other guy

He began to speak

And every word was true

Now I’m nuts about that old Tibetan dude

Blame it on the Dalai Lama

With his playful smile

Blame it on the Dalai Lama

Loving in exile

When he started I was in a selfish mood

But now I got a Buddha attitude

Blame it on the Dalai Lama

Being of love."

Contact Steve Bhaerman for information about his seminars on "Comedy as a Healing Art," Swami’s books and tapes, or to book Steve or Swami for performances, key notes, and events at: www.beyondananda.com. Email swamib@saber.net or telephone 1 800 swamibe (1 800-792-6423).

Release Benefit Parties for: Drive Your Karma, Curb Your Dogma:
Friday, August 17, Santa Cruz, California, Santa Cruz Unity / Connections Magazine (831) 459-0522
Saturday, August 18, Palo Alto, CA, Palo Alto Unity / East West Books (650) 988-9800
Sunday, August 19, Walnut Creek, CA, Unity of Walnut Creek, (925) 937-2191
Friday, August 24, San Francisco, CA, Presidio Chapel, (707) 525-0711, 1-800-SWAMI-BE

Carol Adrienne, Ph.D., is an internationally-known workshop facilitator and author whose books have been translated into over fifteen languages. Her books include The Purpose of Your Life: Finding Your Place in the World Using Synchronicity, Intuition, and Uncommon Sense; Find Your Purpose, Change Your Life, and The Numerology Kit. She also co-authored with James Redfield, The Celestine Prophecy: An Experiential Guide and The Tenth Insight: Holding the Vision--An Experiential Guide.


Click Here to Learn More About Carol Adrienne


Read Carol's Past Columns

June 2001

May 2001

April 2001

March 2001

February 2001

January 2001

December 2000

November 2000

October 2000

September 2000

August 2000

July 2000

June 2000

May 2000

April 2000

March 2000

February 2000

January 2000


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