Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Paris (Hilton) in the Springtime 

No unhappiness is as difficult to cure as the unhappiness that comes from being overly spoiled. Even a starving person can find happiness in a crust of bread, but someone who has had too much for too long can't find the inner resources to bear challenges happily, and can also become unhappy from the boredom of having too much for too long. Getting more of what you want can't help someone who has been "spoiled" by a life of ease. The only thing that can help a spoiled person is to go through the hellish experience of surrendering to unbearable demanding challenges, and to finally acquire the inner strength resources that most people gain through common usual struggles.

Today I sent a copy of my book, Spirituality For Dummies, to Paris Hilton at the Century Regional Detention Facility, to offer support for her recent attempts to raise herself up spiritually by parading past the paparazzi with some spiritual books, a somber face that perhaps was meant to look pious, and a silk blouse with no bra. Hey, you do what you can do.

The books Paris carried were probably carefully (and well) chosen by a publicist -- The Power of Now, and The Holy Bible – a good combination!

I've been in the midst of writing the brand new second edition of Spirituality For Dummies (January 2008, Wiley), so I thought of how this book would be a good introduction to advanced spiritual concepts for someone like Paris, or for anyone who is seeking to explore spirituality in an intelligent and interesting way (a tiny plug!).

I'm sure Paris and her publicists would never want to give Jay Leno and Kathy Griffin fodder for their humor by having Paris be caught carrying a book called Spirituality For Dummies. So I thought it would be nice to send the book to Paris in jail, wrapped in a plain brown bag (it was my last copy, no less).

(CLICK HERE to watch a video where I discuss how people -- especially spiritual people -- sometimes have a problem with the word dummies. So much for spiritual humility!).

Here is my letter to Paris:

Dear Paris,

I thought you might enjoy reading a copy of my book as you begin this challenging but hopefully beneficial part of your spiritual journey. Sometimes a challenge like this is just what it takes to jumpstart you on a better road, and it looks like you have had the intelligence and guidance (outer or inner) to recognize this.

May you continue on this good road of spirituality, and be a blessing to yourself and the world.

Stay healthy – bad food is better than no food!

Wishing you the best,

Sharon Janis

I added the “bad food is better than no food,” part, because this is probably not an issue Paris has had to deal with very often in her prosperous life. Poor folks know that bad food is better than no food, but someone like Paris might choose to not eat anything, which could cause health problems worse than the ones she’d have from eating bad quality prison food.

Prison is like the opposite of a health spa in one way, although I do feel that Paris has a lot of blessings, and that this could end up being a wonderful, life-transforming experience on her journey – a time when she’ll discover parts of herself that she never knew existed. Of course, looking at ourselves in the silence of solitude can also be difficult and challenging to do.

Clearly Paris was seeking this kind of rush while planning and creating her show, “A Simple Life,” which required Paris to leave her comfortable circumstances and –- in the one episode I watched –- to even do unsavory things like reach her hand in to impregnate a cow. Once you’ve voluntarily done something like that, a few weeks in prison shouldn’t be such a big deal (not that I'd want to have to do it). Paris should just consider this as one more episode: “A Simple Life: Alcatraz.” But perhaps the experience of being swept out of your comfortable environment is not so easy when there are no cameras to inspire or freedom of choice to leave the circumstances.

With Paris’ public position, she could become a very good example and a wonderful blessing to the world, and I think that would be just great.

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