Treasures in the Desert

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth.” Jesus

If someone is holding satsangs to talk about enlightenment, they will explain how they had an experience of being one with everything. That is the silver bullet everyone is after. It is also the measuring stick, the criteria for online gurus. You will probably never meet them in the flesh. If you do, rest assured they may have had that experience, but they are also capable of getting pissed off and upset with life in general. So never put a guru on a pedestal. And by the way, can’t we just use the word “teacher” instead of throwing a mystical blanket over the word “guru”?

My teacher would never have called himself a guru; in fact, he said that saffron robes indicate nothing, that the humblest teachers would not dress up to differentiate themselves. He wore shirtsleeves and bought a lot of his clothes used.

He had a way of shooting new students down. As I entered the building to hear him the first time, I noticed a sign that said: No Talking To Vernon. Or words to that affect. I can’t quote them exactly. His desk was raised up on a little platform and his look could have withered a hothouse full of flowers. He knew exactly what he was doing.

For one thing, those that tried to argue with the sign were coming at him as if they knew more than he did. Or they were arguers out of habit. We sat in metal chairs and listened to him speak for half an hour or so. Everyone in the room was uncomfortable pretending to be comfortable. Of course he was a genius at forcing us to see how artificial we were, how easily frightened we could be.

At the end of our trip to Boulder City, Nevada, to hear him, I said to my husband that it was quite an experience. It would be a year before I gathered the nerve to go out for my second visit. The handwriting was on the wall, though. I had dreamt of attending classes in a place outside of Las Vegas. The classroom was protected and I was told that you have to go down to look up. Lo and behold if that isn’t one of the basic teachings of truth.

Vicki Woodyard


  1. I would invite you to read a post called “Oh, c’mon” by Vicki. In that one the joker is telling you how to accomplish a life you’ll probably never get, but it cost you $500 to get in. In this “Treasures in the Desert” the joker is describing a state of being you’ll never attain. (maybe you will, maybe you won’t. I like Nathan Gill who says if you’re a junky lying in a gutter you have the same chance of awakening as a guru sitting in full lotus.) You just have to spend years following him/her around as a devotee. Buy all his books, which all say the same thing in slightly different words. Cost? Your life. I don’t see much of a difference. They’re both hucksters selling a pocket full of mumbles.


  2. Mr. Rose never did any of that nonsense. I take a bus to Wheeling and called him on the phone. He then drove to pick me up from the bus terminal and took me to his home in Benwood. He shared dinner with me and introduced me to his son. Real teachers are rare but there are a few.


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