Barry Smith: Irrelativity |

Barry Smith: Irrelativity

Barry Smith
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Jordan Curet The Aspen Times
ALL | The Aspen Times

Dear Bad Guru,

While reading your book “Kick Dog, Carry Water: The Reality of Zen, the Zen of Reality, and Vice Versa” I noticed you kept using the expression “inversely inspirational.” You never really went into much detail. Could you explain?

Signed, Reader in Redlands

Dear Red,

Imagine you’re running down a hallway, fleeing something horrible ” like a disease, or a zombie with a chainsaw, or a Guns ‘n Roses cover band. You duck into an unfamiliar door only to find a free buffet on the other side ” one you never knew existed, but is apparently there every day! What a discovery. Had you not been fleeing for you life, you’d have sat idly by, being “inspired” by a sunset or a tree or a piece of classical music or any number of equally inedible things. But a chainsaw-wielding zombie turned out to be your best friend.

These “inverse inspirations” propel your growth much more than the traditional inspirations. From a cosmic perspective, the best day of your life wasn’t the day your daughter was born, like you always claim, but the day you got fired for stealing office supplies. When it comes down to it, your abusive father belongs much higher on your spiritual “shout out” list than does Miss Garofas, your 5th grade teacher who let you read your sissy-boy poetry in front of the class.

Luckily for us, inverse inspirations are abundant in this glorious universe. You don’t even have to go looking for them.

Dear Bad Guru,

In your book, “Oh S%!t, I’m Enlightened!” there’s that one page where the folded paper version of your hand springs out to receive a “High Vibe.” You know the one, right? Problem is, even knowing that this “High Vibe” is supposed to be an enlightened play on the standard “high five,” I just can’t do it. I can only high five sarcastically. I also can’t say “hells yeah,” “true dat” or “fuh shizzle” in a sincere manner. Really, any new expression that came out after “da bomb” is impossible for me to embrace. How can I continue my spiritual growth when my cultural growth seems to have stopped in the early 1990s?

Oh, by the way, brilliant idea to do a self-help pop-up book.

Signed, Stuck in Squaresville

Dear Stuck,

Like souls, cultural slang also reincarnates. Just sit tight. “Groovy” will be back soon.

Oh, and the High Vibe™ is a trademarked gesture. Theoretically (which is to say, legally) you owe me five cents each time you do it, sarcastically or otherwise.

Dear Bad Guru,

I have so many ideas of neat stuff I want to do, but I just can’t seem to focus on any one of them long enough to make any progress. Help!

Signed, Inefficient in Idaho

Dear Innie,

You’ll be happy to now that this summer will see the release of my new meditation/productivity CD, “The Sound of One Hand Getting Things Done.” Through complex, meditative list-making techniques, this CD will facilitate the blending of the human “being” with the human “doing,” creating a perfectly balanced human “having stuff.”

While waiting for the CD, try this simple exercise. Take out a pen and paper and make a list of 3-5 things that you want to do. Over the next few days, do them. When you’re done with each one, cross it off the list. Assuming you don’t skip any of the steps, you should start seeing real progress in less than a month.

Dear Bad Guru,

For most of my life I’ve been scared, and frantic, and fearful, and resentful, and insecure, and ashamed, and regretful, and vindictive, and bitter, and angry, and frustrated, and paranoid, and judgmental, and confused, and stressed, and depressed, and shy, and competitive, and self-conscious, and nervous, and just plain yucky. But then I read your book, “Be All That You Can Be Here Now: An Easy Guide To No Longer Being Scared, Frantic, Fearful, Resentful, Insecure, Ashamed, Regretful, Vindictive, Bitter, Angry, Frustrated, Paranoid, Judgmental, Confused, Stressed, Depressed, Shy, Competitive, Self-Conscious, Nervous, or Just Plain Yucky.”

Wow! I have to say, parts of that book were totally uncanny. Like you were in my head or something.

The thing is, I’m also agoraphobic, racist, insincere, dishonest, violent, tone deaf and slightly overweight. Do you have any new books coming out soon? Please say yes!

Signed, Potpourri of Problems in Paonia

Dear Pot,

Yes, my new book, “I’m OK, You Don’t Exist” is due out this month! You’ll find some useful info in chapter 4, “Pounds and Adjectives Begone!”

You can pre-order from my new web page, (please make a note of the unusual spelling ” somebody else already had

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