There’s a confession I have to make. Each time I write an article or conclude a speaking engagement, a little voice inside reminds me that I am nothing but a salesman. Although I’d like to pretend I’m a few degrees removed from the television pitchmen promoting new super cleaners and ultimate knife sets, in truth, I’m not. Nor am I alone. Every human being on this planet, knowingly or unknowingly, is a huckster, promoting some agenda, expressing some set of beliefs about the nature of themselves, the world, and the Creator (or lack of) in the way they think, act, and feel. How many of us, however, own up to it?
It’s easy to ridicule the obvious peddlers of expediency. (How do you know if a politician is lying? You can see his/her mouth moving. Or, as nineteenth-century European statesman Otto von Bismarck once remarked: “People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election.”) But it’s the unconscious truth mongers – those so enamored of their point of view that they cannot disentangle themselves from their own rhetoric – who cause the most harm. Lawyer and feminine activist Wendy Kaminer (author of Free for All: Defending Liberty in America Today) notes: “To rationalize their lies, people – and the governments, churches, or terrorist cells they compose – are apt to regard their private interests and desires as just.”
I would take Ms. Kaminer’s sentiments even further and argue: too many spokespersons in fields like religion, politics, and social commentary believe what they say is more than just; they assume what they say is immutable truth. I used to be simply entertained by the Bible-thumping preachers on Sunday morning television until I realized how many millions of people willingly hand over to them their own power. May these television evangelists be blessed, for they are hucksters just as I am. What separates us is not so much our message – although some would argue we are at polar opposites – but the vehemence of our belief. Those who know me well would tell you that I am no champion of belief. In fact, I consider it the lowest possible form of processing information and the greatest single stumbling block to human self-realization.
Whenever I address a group, I try to be up-front about my agenda. I make it clear early on that if any audience member is so completely caught up in their present beliefs that they prefer not to explore beyond them, then further dialogue between us may serve little purpose. I have no desire to have them simply trade one set of beliefs for another. Such a swap serves neither of us.
Like any infomercial, my presentation is meant to be entertaining, informative, and above all, a call to immediate action. I tell the audience that I am there to sell three things, and if they don’t want to hear my sales pitch, neither of us should feel badly if they choose to leave the room. However, I promise them that the three products I sell are the finest ingredients for genuine transformation available on the planet. Yes, I am a consummate pitchman.
The first product I encourage people to buy is increased awareness. I remind my audience that there actually is a universe out there beyond the drama of everyday human life, and that they are not only a tiny part of it, as tangible, sentient expressions of All That Is, they actually are it. Each of us embodies the potential for infinite vision. As we become willing to release our sense of limitation, our consciousness expands and we shift to increasingly elevated perspectives from which to view existence.
As a bonus, I throw in the second product, curiosity, at no extra charge. This, I explain, is the impelling force behind all aspects of creation. Every aspect of the creation, including ourselves, is imbued with two inalienable rights: free will and curiosity. The two, working in tandem, is how the Oneness explores, through ever-expanding permutations and combinations, the limitless nuances of its infinite nature. To the extent that we relinquish our individual curiosity, we stop serving the creation. I encourage everyone to rekindle the curiosity he or she had as a child.
But wait, there’s more. If you accept the first two products on my unconditional lifetime money-back guarantee (of course, there’s no charge, but this iron-clad assurance appeases certain people’s cautious nature), I’ll include a second bonus. This third gift will not only dramatically enhance your newly acquired increased awareness and curiosity; it will turbocharge your life. You will amaze the old you with newfound purpose. You will move through your life as an adventurer, seizing opportunities as they come, vaulting over obstacles as if they were insignificant pebbles on the path. This third gift may well be the most powerful of all: personal empowerment.
These three products are my holy trinity, and I pitch them hard to anyone who might listen. I never tell audiences what to do with these cosmic perks; frankly, I wouldn’t have a clue where to begin. At the insistence of my celestial attorneys, however, I always include the following disclaimer: These three gifts are given freely with no strings attached. There is no dogma, no ism, no ology; nor is there a prepackaged, well-marked path. You are free to follow wherever your curiosity may lead you. Just bear in mind that what you do with these three gifts constitutes your gift to creation – and consequently, to yourself.
Jean-Claude Gerard Koven is a writer and speaker based in Vilcabamba, Ecuador. He was a featured weekly columnist for the UPI (United Press International) Religion and Spirituality Forum and is the author of Going Deeper: How to Make Sense of Your Life When Your Life Makes No Sense, recipient of both the Allbooks Reviews Editor’s Choice Award and the USABookNews.com Award for the Best Metaphysical Book of the Year.
©2004 – 2019. Jean-Claude Gerard Koven / All Rights Reserved.