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Excerpted from I Had It All the Time by Alan Cohen. Copyright 1994 by Alan Cohen. Excerpted by permission of Alan Cohen Publications.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.
 

"Some of us have become so addicted to the process of seeking that we would not know what to do if we actually found what we were looking for."

  Alan Cohen, I Had It All the Time, Part 2

Responses ranged from "Every penny I have ever earned," to "more than my husband can afford" to over a hundred thousand dollars - the cost of a home in many parts of the U.S., or the gross national product of some South American nations.

Many of us have been amassing information, techniques, and personal growth programs for many years. Some of us have become so addicted to the process of seeking that we would not know what to do if we actually found what we were looking for.

In the film The Princess Bride there is a character named Inigo Montoya who spends most of his life searching for the man who killed his father. When he finally finds the man and does him in, a friend asks Inigo, "So, now that you have avenged your father's assassin, what will you be doing?" Inigo stops in his tracks, a blank look washes over his face, and he admits, "I don't know - I have been in the revenge business for so long, I don't think I will know what to do without it!"

Like Inigo, many of us have built an identity around searching for the truth. We have become professional patients, clients, students, seekers, and disciples.

Two contemporary gurus, Calvin and Hobbes, sum up our situation:

Hobbes: Whatcha doin?

Calvin: Getting rich

Hobbes: Really?

Calvin: Yep. I'm writing a self-help book! There's a huge market for this stuff. First, you convince people there's something wrong with them. That's easy, because advertising has already conditioned people to feel insecure about their weight, looks, social status, sex appeal, and so on.  Next, you convince them that the problem is not their fault and that they're victims of larger forces. That's easy, because it's what people believe anyway. Nobody wants to be responsible for his own situation. Finally, you convince them that with your advice and encouragement, they can conquer their problem and be happy!

Hobbes: Ingenious. What problem will you help people solve?

Calvin: Their addiction to self-help books! My book is called, "Shut Up and Stop Whining: How to Do Something with Your Life besides Think About Yourself."

Hobbes: You should probably wait for the advance before you buy anything.

Calvin: The trouble is, if my program works, I won't be able to write a sequel.

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