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Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment
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64 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I've never been interested in having a guru, and Thaddeus Golas was never interested in being one. He wasn't looking for converts, followers, or even agreement, and I've always felt free to disagree with the way he makes this or that point. So this book has long been perfectly suited to me and my somewhat iconoclastic/refractory temperament.
This little book is one of a very small handful that I regard as the absolute cream of "hippie spirituality". Stephen Gaskin's _This Season's People_ is that literature's Diamond Sutra and Paul Williams's _Das Energi_ is its Tao Te Ching. Golas's slim volume comes very close to Gaskin's in its adamantine wisdom and so ranks as a close second in diamond-sutrahood, but I think of it as something like the Dhammapada.
Its message is so easy to put across that, technically, you already know everything it says. The heart of the matter is: relax; just love as much as you can from wherever you are. When you come right down to it, you're already "enlightened" and you don't have anything to prove.
But somehow, the _way_ Golas puts this message (and the bit about "love as much as you can" is a direct quotation) has some major mojo in it, enough to knock your mind loose from your brain.
Golas knew it, too. He died in 1997, but a couple of years before that, he wrote a nice long introduction to this book so that it could be republished in hardcover. It was, and this is that edition. There are also some photos of Golas, ranging from childhood to middle age. (That's good for potential buyers to know, because the full text of the original book is available online and there wouldn't be much point in getting this one if it didn't contain anything new.)
In the introduction, Golas provides some interesting autobiography and also expresses more than a little wonderment at the effect this little book has had. He even notes that there are some things in it that he's even come to believe are incorrect, and yet he won't change a word of it because it seems to have the power to _do_ something to its readers, something compared to which his "corrected" views seem flat and tame. This is quite true. So beware; in its way this text is every bit as potent as all of Anthony de Mello's books.
A longtime "underground" spiritual classic, this little book belongs on your shelf next to Douglas Harding's _On Having No Head_ (which takes a very different but every bit as "simple" approach to the non-problem of enlightenment).
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The recent reprint of this book has an addition of a short biography with photographs of the author. Included is a letter for readers that he wrote in his last years about how the book came to be and a few added thoughts he had towards the end of his life.
What I have learned from this book is that no resistence is the way to love people with charity; with full unconditional love. If you can look at someone for what they are, with all of their strengths and weaknesses and love them regardless of what is right or wrong, in fact, love them for what they are, for what you see wrong in them too then you have discovered what many call the Christ love and are no longer drawn to and imprisoned by what you might deny.
From reading this book it has become very clear to me that we become what we hate. The very thing that we fight against is what we become. The same with our government fighting against terrorism, it has become a federal terrorist. The terrorist fighting against unjust governments have become unjust. Self appointed protectors fighting against what they perceive as protecting the innocent have become the guilty.
It always works that way.... no resistence is the only answer, love that which you would hate and you will not become that. It appears that the universe is built to teach us compassion. Hate something enough and you are drawn to it like iron to a magnet, offering your soul to the very thing which you sought to deny and in the end becoming a perfect image of that which you tried to destroy.
The big joke is that because none of us see everything the same way many of the pretty or ugly colors that you might see upon others uniquely exist in your own mind alone because you have colored them that way. When you see injustice, cruelty, ignorance and stupidity most of what you see does not exist exactly the way you see it, sometimes far from the truth. When you fight the image upon the mirror of your mind it's the most dangerous enemy you can possibly have because the internal oscillations of hate and dislike reflecting off of the surfaces of your own judgments take on a life as your own personal phantoms capable of haunting you to the ends of your days, never vanishing until accepted and loved for what they are, for what you have created.
Fighting against another with hate is like offering your soul to the devil. You will be consumed by and become the very thing you sought to perish. In the end trading one for the other, you stand in its place. Do as you wish to diminish the problems in this world, but do it without the resistence of hate, replace it with accepting love or you will become that which you fight against.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I am a lazy man too. I also like to laugh. I bought the book at a used book store before Amazon was even around. I thought it was a parody of the other arrogant "self help" books in fashion at the time.
This is the real thing. The truth in this book cuts through the jungle of spiritualism like a bolt of lightening. That was 10 years ago. I keep it by the bed on the nightstand--the ultimate anonymous, unpretentious keyhole to the way it is.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
If you are interested in this book, you will love it, and as you grow more loving, you can get more konwledge from this. But how about if you are not interested in it? You may say to yourself, "This is boring. I wasted my time and money. I should have bought another one." But how about if you do love yourself? Are you still not interested in this book? You may think, "I am not interested in this book, but it makes me more interested in this subject", or "Why did I try to read this book? I must be interested in leaning more about myself."
This is this book's theme. In the first example, you only focus on this book. But in the second example, you focus on yourself. And by loving yourself, you will accept everything. Loving yourself will expand your consciousness. The author says enlightenment is an experience of expanding your consciousness beyond its present limits. And he also says that the most efficient and easy way to attain enlightenment is to love everyone and everything.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 1997
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is the book that I've given away to at least 100 individuals over the last 20 years. Of the countless books I've read on the subject of enlightenment/higher consciousness (ok, so I'm a slow learner), this little book captures all of the essentials without obfuscation, in a scant 80 pages. There was a time when I read it cover-to-cover each and every day, and I've never been so clear, expanded, loving and happy (so why did I stop, you ask? What fun is life on Earth if we can't be dense and contracted from time-to-time? <G>). I corresponded with Thaddeus for awhile back in the early '70s, and I was very impressed by his no-B/S attitude to personal growth, and the fact that he eschewed followers and self-agrandizement.

The Guide is perhaps the most honest book I've ever read and a great and loving gift to us all. Get past the '60s lingo and you have a trusted--and tested--companion for life.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
I bought this book 25 years ago, read it, was helped by it, lent it to a lot of friends, and one of them never returned it--don't remember which one. The most important piece of advice was to love yourself as you are, and if you can't, then love yourself for not being able to love yourself. Wait--I remember one other liberating principle:when you are sad or angry you are adding just as much sadness and anger to the universe as if you make someone else sad or angry. I'd like to see this book back in print so that I can re-remind myself of what Thaddeus Golas reminded me of. Note to publishers: this is an important book; it's as profound as Krishnamurti, Osho, Gurjiev, anyone, and much easier to read. Please reissue it.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 1997
Format: Hardcover
This is one of those books which speaks to your soul and cleanses your heart. If enlightenment really is intended for us mortals, do you think it would avoid the lazy? Of course not. Enlightenment can be really simple, if you let it. This book shows you how. The only thing standing in the way of your enlightenment in this moment is your own resistance to it.

Stay loyal to Love,

Frank Boyd
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As an other reviewer remarked, one has to get by the '60's lingo (references to marijuana, LSD, highs, bummers, etc.) in order to get the full benefit from this slender but substantive little volume. On the other hand, as Golas notes, "Enlightenment doesn't care how you get there," so this is a relatively minor quibble about a generally excellent reality check (in the best possible sense of that term).
There are better introductions to Eastern philosophy (esp. the books and lectures of Alan Watts), but none is more succinct nor more direct than this one. Golas is an absolute master of the aphorism. Space (and Copyright Law) preclude citing them all here, but in addition to the one already quoted, here is another that has become a virtual (unattributed) mantra of various 12-Step programs: "What happens is not as important as how you react to what happens."
If you can find a copy of this book (good luck!), buy it; you can read it in a single sitting, and in the unkilely event that you decide it's not for you, you can pass it along to a friend who probably WILL appeciate it.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Over twenty years ago a woman i worked with handed me this book and said here i think this will speak to you. strangely, wonderfully, Barbara became a best friend. she is someone i feel like i've known forever. and this gift of a book she gave me has served me unlike any other book ever, because it excludes no one, anywhere, ever. it is all inclusive in love. about 15 years ago i was feeling really awful and sat in my bathtub and read this book aloud into a tape recorder so that i could listen to it in my car (which i seemed to always be in). later i found it on tape read by the author which i still have and cherish listening to. i reread this book yearly it seems, because it makes me smile, and i pass it on to those i feel will get some relief from it. i've given so many copies away over the years. i searched bookstores used and new for copies. i finally had only one left. i'm so happy to have found this book in print again and am ordering many copies to give to people i love. thank you thaddeus. you speak to me of love and expansion and inclusion forever. you remind me to expand and love when i'm contracted and dense. i love you.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a great little book. The last page is entittled "Even Lazier" where he sums up the whole short book in one page of maxims and minimums. The silliest part is that they are true! This information is great. Thanks :-)
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