But distance and expense shouldn't be obstacles to enlightenment, so I looked for similar events in my own neighborhood. In the process I found that GATE: Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment will be hosting an event in February which will include Eckhart Tolle, Jim Carrey and John Raatz. According to the GATE Mission Statement, this group "is an evolving community of creative, business and technical professionals in entertainment, media, and the arts, who realize the vital and expanding role media and entertainment play in creating our lives, and who aspire to consciously transform those domains for the benefit of all."
Further, GATE is a "...trade association providing valuable and relevant knowledge, resources and services to a wide range of professionals in the media, entertainment, and arts industries, to aid in their personal transformation and to help them create and distribute content that expresses their transformational worldview."
If I'm reading this correctly, this Global Alliance hopes to transform professionals in the media, entertainment and arts industries and, in turn, help them create and distribute content that expresses their transformation and which, in turn, will transform others. I am a bit puzzled by what this means in practical terms. Media, entertainment, and art industry professionals have been "going to see the Maharishi" for some time now, and (if they are not dissuaded by business types) often seem to produce entertainment which includes some kind of message.
I am both cynical and hopeful. Is this just a money-making project or a sincere effort to change the world? If you look at the web pages of the three founders of GATE you will find that **Eckhart Tolle's is selling online access to his wisdom and you might think he was in it for the money (on the other hand, perhaps he needs business types as a shield to his privacy). Jim Carrey's pages are so over-the-top they seem to imply an over-large ego; however, perhaps that is just an expression of his art. Only after reading an interview in Vision Magazine with John Raatz did I come to the conclusion that he at least does not seem to be looking for money or fame.
While I wonder if "the truth" really needs help being marketed, I realize I never would have found out about Roth, Kornfield, or Gangaji if I hadn't heard about them somewhere. There are many gurus out there, but few attain any kind of fame and maybe it would be a good idea if the right ones went to the GATE seminar and learned how to get more name recognition. I know that Oprah has helped rescue a few self-help gurus and authors from obscurity. Publishing Companies like Sounds True and Hay House help spread the word by offering "in person" appearances from some of their authors. Geneen Roth and Deepak Chopra both seem to have very lucrative marketing systems set up. But, on the other hand, I am wondering if Hollywood has just realized that "the Cultural Creative" and other members of "The Herbal Tea Party"*** are a growing portion of the viewing audience to which the genre of "transformational entertainment" can be targeted. It will be interesting to see what comes out of the GATE sessions.
Now - back to the original objective - to find sources of enlightenment close to hand. Even if I am not able to go to a far away conference it turns out that Sounds True offers a number of free downloads on different subjects. When I'm able to drive myself places again there are a number of local groups that offer all kinds of courses. In short, I don't need to take a long pilgrimage to find transformational resources.
*In short, I fell leaving a table at The Hopping Pig after having a beer with my meal. Hurry, the fact the tables were on an elevated island, and the glass of Lost Abbey beer I drank before the food finally arrived were probably all factors. The beer wasn't that great, but I drank it because I had paid for it, and now I am hopping around wearing an appliance called an "equalizer". The Hopping Pig slogan should be "At happy hour you can get enough beer for $4.50 to make you fall flat on your face..."
**If you visit this website don't be surprised if you start getting pop-ups that say "What if Eckhart Tolle was available right now to support your spiritual awakening? Sign up for a free trial...."
***"The Cultural Creative" and "The Herbal Tea Party" were both terms used in the Vision Interview with John Raatz.