Ask the Swami – Winter 2006
“Where Swami answers your questions, and you will question his answers.”
I was one of many who was shocked to wake up one morning and find that Pluto is no longer a planet. What is your take on this, and what are the likely repercussions?
— Ben Tehellenback, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Well, I was initially very hopeful that with this declaration all of the plutocrats would disappear. Alas, that didn’t happen. And since Pluto has long been considered the planet of transformation, perhaps Pluto’s demotion was orchestrated by the forces of “trance formation” who want to divert attention from the work they’re doing to demote our own planet to a pile of space rubble. Perhaps the editorial in the Pluto Post said it best: “Mind Your Own Planet!” And I have to agree. Before we go making other planets not planets we should watch ourselves that we don’t make our own planet not a planet.
I meditate at least three hours a day, and I have been told that I will achieve enlightenment this lifetime. I hope you don’t think this is a silly question, but here goes: Will enlightenment be boring? — Frieda Mind, Watsonville, California
First of all, there is no need to be concerned about asking a silly question. I mean, look at who you are asking. Secondly, understand that enlightenment is an internal state and you may not look any different from the outside. As the saying goes, “Before enlightenment, wash dishes. After enlightenment, wash dishes — but they’re 50% brighter.” No, the key to having an interesting life is finding a worthy purpose and serving others, so here’s what I suggest: find yourself an unenlightened friend, and vow not to leave the planet until they too are enlightened. I call it the “Buddysattva” program, and it’s guaranteed to speed up spiritual evolution by making sure enlightening strikes twice as often.
As a citizen concerned with the war on terror, I’m beginning to wonder if our President is really keeping us safe from those Islamo-fascists he talks about. Not that I’m questioning his judgment or anything, but, well like that bumper sticker says, we seem to be making enemies faster than we can kill them. Can you offer us some reassuring words, Swami?
— Newcombe Gladleigh, Norfolk, Virginia
Assuredly, I bring reassuring words. Our President — with the help of Congress — has now struck at terrorism at its very source, and his strategy is remarkably clever and simple. For years now, the President has been telling us over and over again, “The terrorists hate us for our freedoms.” So what better way to thwart those terrorists than removing the very thing that sparks their hatred — our freedoms? Just last month the President and Congress passed legislation which now gives him the power to detain any American citizen indefinitely who he deems to be “aiding and supporting terrorists.” And since, he has already proclaimed that anyone who isn’t with him is against him, well that makes it pretty clear, doesn’t it? With our freedoms just about removed, we now have no reason to fear terrorism and are now free to devote our full attention to fearing anti-terrorism.
I just heard a rumor that you have uncovered the secret of being young again. If this is true, then you have the answer people have been longing for — well, for as long as longing has existed. Please enlighten us!
— Diane Wither, Sun City, Arizona
The answer you seek has been with us as long as the ancient Vedas, but now can be revealed to all. As Bob Dylan didn’t quite say, “You don’t need a veda-man to know which way the wind blows.” So, here is the secret to being young again…and again… and again: reincarnation!
I’m confused. At the bookstore, on the web, in conversations with friends caught up with one food fad or another, I’m overwhelmed by all of the different diets. Which one is right? And which is right for me? You must be doing something right in that regard, Swami. Do you have a special diet? And how do you manage to look so slim and trim? — B.K., San Diego, CA
It is indeed confusing out there. All those different groups arguing about why their diet is the best — “diet tribes,” I call them. Now of course you realize that many weight problems are psychological, due to an unresolved Edible Complex. We think something is edible, we eat it, and that’s where the trouble begins. Indeed, science has shown a remarkable correlation between weight gain and eating. The food industry knows this, so they’ve come up with sugar-free, salt-free, fat-free…but the ultimate weight-loss food? Flavor-free! Put people on the flavor-free diet, and they’ll eat less. Personally, I’ve settled on the “mucous-free” diet, because frankly mucous is pretty unappetizing and I figure it should be pretty easy to give up. As for the secret of looking slim and trim, if I told you it wouldn’t be a secret, would it? But since the NSA knows all our secrets anyway, I figure what the heck. So I’ll tell you. The secret to looking virtually perfect all the time? Photoshop.
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