Bad Guru is back |

Bad Guru is back

Barry Smith

Dear Bad Guru,I have a friend who thinks his “process” is the most interesting thing in the freakin’ Universe. It’s all he ever talks about. Every time I see him it’s some new epiphany or revelation or insight, and on and on he goes about how he got around to this new way of thinking and how he once was lost but now is found. And I don’t care. Does this make me insensitive? Signed,Fed Up in FredericksburgDear Fed,One’s “process” is as much a part of being human as one’s bowel movement. Alas, if we get too close to the former, we tend to forget that it’s no more significant than the latter. The next time your friend goes on about his process, do the same about your digestive habits. This should break him of his habit. Should he persist, invite him over and show him your latest bowl wrapper. Dear Bad Guru,I know they say that meditation can be the purest, best “high” there is, far surpassing the “high” you get from drugs. Well, I’ve tried meditation, and I’ve tried drugs, and frankly drugs are a lot more fun. Am I not meditating properly?Signed,Om in OmahaDear Om,It all depends on your intention. Meditation is an amazing way of getting you in touch with YOU. It can bring you clarity, insight, calm, focus and even happiness. However, if what you are looking for is to have a psychic conversation with a house cat, or see faces where they previously didn’t exist, or be convinced that your couch pillow has a soul, then drugs are your best bet.Dear Bad Guru,I have a problem – I live in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I realize you probably think I’m just saying that to be funny, but it’s true. My problem is that I am puzzled, but I can’t exactly sign my letter to you “Puzzled in Kalamazoo.” Now if I were “konfused,” or “konfounded,” or even “kaotic,” then things would be fine – I would have the perfect way to sign this letter. But I’m not, and therefore I don’t, and this is what I find most puzzling.I doubt that you’ll even read an unsigned letter, but if so – please help.Signed,?Dear ?Get a post office box in Poughkeepsie, then we’ll talk.Dear Bad Guru,What makes you a “Bad” Guru? Were you once a Good Guru who went to the dark side? Or are you “Bad,” like in the way Shaft is bad?Signed,Wonderin’ in WashingtonDear Wonderin’,Here’s the brief history of Bad Guru:I studied with my teacher for 20 years. He said he was from India, but I later learned he meant Indiana. He taught me everything he knew within a few hours, but since neither of us had much else do to, we hung out for the next 20 years, “studying.” There was a lot of competition among Gurus in those days (this was the 1970s, and you could hardly swing a dead cat without knocking off five turbans), so I decided to anoint myself Bad Guru for three reasons. 1) Because people were so hung up on wanting to do Good, I thought this would be a way to shake them out of that paradigm, constantly reminding them of the relativity of good and bad, 2) because even a bad doctor has people willing to pay for his services, and 3) I knew that “Bad” would put me near the top of the Yellow Pages listings under Guru.Dear Bad Guru,Why are we here?Signed,Contemplating in CincinnatiDear Con,Different people are here for different reasons. If by “we” you mean specifically you and your friends and family, well, you are here to go to work, have kids, keep your nice yard and host the occasional barbeque. Enjoy.Barry Smith’s column runs in The Aspen Times on Mondays. His e-mail address is, and his very own Web page is at

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