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The Absurdity of Certifications

I just spent one hour of my life listening to a sales pitch from a reputable well-being company. It was a "free" webinar telling me I could "live the life of my dreams" by being a well-being coach.

It told me things I already knew--that well-being was about balancing the mind, body and spirit. The webinar promised me I could learn from all of these other certified teachers under this company's name and gain worldwide recognition by tying myself to this brand.

And I swear, if the woman touched her chest one more time, I was going to "comment in the chat space" about it. I honestly felt like I was at a multi-level marketing sales talk. Cue the Amway and Mary Kay.

Rather than spend thousands of dollars learning about Ayurveda and meditation from these "certified" teachers, why don't I just go to the source? In other words, why don't I read the texts myself, learn from different traditions, rather than use their methods?

And frankly, in terms of all the science, I can read all the research myself. I don't mind doing that work because I'm going to the source.

Basic marketing tells you that to entice the potential customer to know more about the quality of your product, you give a sneak peek of something for free. Based on this "free" webinar, I wasn't sold. Honestly, give me a "free" sample of part of a course. I want to see the meat of the course--to see if it's actual meat and not meat byproduct.

As much as I love the man behind this brand, I have not been a fan of some of the yoga instructors and teachers he has endorsed. They have very little substance, but they look good in marketing.

So after being very underwhelmed, I turned to Lion's Roar, where they were offering a "course" on Tibetan Buddhism. I got a sampling of one of the talks from Thubten Chodron, whose book I absolutely adore. There was no sugarcoating, no stylized videos in some exotic location. It was just her, explaining Green Tara so perfectly and succinctly.

Needless to say, I signed up for the course. I would much rather know more about the spiritual teachings that permeate healthy living than to fill out some life balance wheel to show me how my life wheel isn't really round.

I don't think life can be figured out by formulas or expensive systems. Each of us has to be open to the opportunities that each moment gives to us. Although self-help programs talk so much about purpose, many spiritual traditions focus on transcending purpose.

Yes, I do think having purpose and meaning can make life more fulfilling, but that purpose can change from moment to moment. You don't need a $3000 certification for someone to tell you that, or for me to learn that.

Life is found out by being more aware. Life has meaning when you live it more authentically.

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