The 100 Most Spiritual People Of 2013

There are several disinformation friends on this year’s most spiritual people list, including Alex Grey at No. 12 and Graham Hancock (No. 55). Commentary from Watkins Books:

This year’s list is more global and diverse than ever before. The youngest person on the list is Jeff Foster (32 years old) and the oldest person is Kyozan Joshu Sasaki (105 years old). We are also sad to report that Stephen Covey who was on last year’s list, passed away in July, 2012.

Here are the top ten – check out the rest at Watkins Books:

1. Dalai Lama
2. Thich Nhat Hanh
3. Eckhart Tolle
4. Deepak Chopra
5. Rhonda Byrne
6. Dr Wayne W Dyer
7. Paulo Coelho
8. Oprah Winfrey
9. Nelson Mandela
10. Byron Katie

[Alex Grey. Photo: Dan Allison (CC)]

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  • http://twitter.com/RayButlers Ray Butlers

    Seems like a random list of celebrities

  • Frank W

    The one hundred most spiritual people probably all have a too low profile to be on the list.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742104313 Adam Goodwin

    Spirituality is evaluated from within, not from without. However, it seems like very few of those people go without.

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    technically no.

    • echar

      Agreed, may as well pack them all in a room and roll the apple of discord in there.

  • LucidDreamR

    I feel awfully bad for anyone who is looking for spiritual guidance from any of these people… Eckhart Tolle? Really? Now is this before or after he was SELLING his pseudoscience on the oprah winfrey show?

    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=farnsworth+i+don%27t+want+to+live+on+this+planet+anymore&oq=farnsworth+&gs_l=youtube.1.2.0l10.1087.5760.0.7634.11.6.0.5.5.0.260.1269.0j3j3.6.0…0.0…1ac.1.8pppxM5hIuw

    • mannyfurious

      I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I sort of feel like a “true” spiritual leader–whatever that means–probably should not creep you out. And just looking at Tolle’s pictures creep me the fuck out. Never mind video. If you read about ancient spiritual leaders, whether Jesus, Lin-Chi, Buddha, Chuang Tzu or Marcus Aurelius, or whomever, they don’t come across as being maladjusted geeks and weirdos. But in modern times, starting with at least Joseph Smith and those guys, suddenly these people turn into genuine geeks. I don’t know what all of that means, but I do know it makes me feel good about my skepticism.

      • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

        I think he looks like Yoda. I always thought is lack of Charisma revealed the strength of his message.

        • mannyfurious

          I would say someone like a Brad Warner or even a Joseph Campbell have a “lack of charisma” (some may disagree, but compare either of them with Alan Watts. Alan Watts had charisma, Joseph Campbell just wasn’t a creep, which is fine enough for me.). These small little white men with weak voices–like Merzel, like Baker, like Adyashanti, like Ram dass– just give me the willies. I hate to sound like a dipshit American, but if I don’t feel comfortable having a beer with you (or leaving my child alone with you), I don’t want you teaching me how to get through life.

          What is Tolle’s message anyway, beyond new-agey bastardizations of what are often described as “mystical” insights? “The world is as it is. We are all one. There is no ‘self.’The Ego sucks. There is only NOW” Yada, yada, yada–Oprah Winfrey and A MILLION BUCKS!

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            Well, if I just had Youtube videos to go on I wouldn’t be into him, but I really got a lot out of his two books.

        • mannyfurious

          I’m not sure that second sentence makes any kind of sense, anyway. Are charisma and “message strength” mutually exclusive, or connected in such a way that as one increases the other decreases? I don’t get it. I kind of thought they were two different things.

        • mannyfurious

          I’m not sure that second sentence makes any kind of sense, anyway. Are charisma and “message strength” mutually exclusive, or connected in such a way that as one increases the other decreases? I don’t get it. I kind of thought they were two different things.

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            Well, he is a horrible speaker. So I figure he must have something good to say, otherwise why would anyone listen to him? . That’s my only point.

          • mannyfurious

            I guess that makes sense. How else to explain Alex Jones or David Icke…..

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            I remember seeing things online about him and not being drawn to him. Then I ran into his writings on the Pain body and so I checked out his two main books “The Power of Now” and “A New Earth” I was glad I did. It just really resonated with me.

            I don’t think you can reverse engineer his popularity any type of linear way.

          • mannyfurious

            A friend of mine kept telling me about him, and finally, a couple of years ago, he loaned me The Power of Now. I made it about 3/4s of the way through. By in large his message is harmless and probably helpful to many people. So perhaps I’ve been too rough on him. But I still believe him to be a phony and a fraud. Hopefully, unlike many others of his ilk, he’s harmless.

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            yeah, a lot of people say that. Not sure why. Never seen anyone give a good reason as to why he is a fraud. Also many people say that “anyone can write a book like that.” I think some people simply don’t like him and envy the fact that he made a lot of money.

          • mannyfurious

            Well, I could give you a lot of what I consider “good” reasons as to why I believe that to be the case, but somehow I don’t think you’d think they were very good. Admittedly, none of my reasons would be a “smoking gun.” This kind of stuff doesn’t necessarily adhere to the normal expectations of logic. It’s more like art than math. It’s like recently I read an article about the director Tom Hooper and Hooper has apparently gone on record as saying his biggest influence is Stanley Kubrick. Now, even though Hooper makes boring, safe, gentle, mainstream films and Kubrick basically made the opposite, that fact struck me as obvious. I had never noticed before, but after I read that, it was easy to see the Kubrickian influence on Hooper. Certain things Hooper does with the camera or with the cinematography or the performances. It’s there. However, it’s also abundantly clear that Hooper doesn’t “have” whatever it was that Kubrick “had.” Hooper doesn’t “get” filmmaking the way that Kubrick did. I’m not the biggest fan of Kubrick’s films, but the man obviously understood the medium in ways that the vast majority of people never will. There was an “essence” of filmmaking that he knew how to elicit or arouse. Hooper does not.

            Tolle is like Hooper. Nothing he says or writes is ever technically “Wrong,” but it’s missing something gravely important. And it betrays that he doesn’t truly know of that of which he speaks. (I don’t necessarily believe, however, that Tolle is purposely deceptive. I don’t believe he’s a scam artist–though he may be–I just don’t believe he is what he purports to be. It’s a lack of self-awareness, ironically.)

            Like any of my reasons, it’s a flimsy argument in purely logical or rational terms, and I don’t expect it to sway you in any way. And that’s fine. You really have no reason to. I will however point out that I’ve called these sorts of things before. I was on the anti-Merzel bandwagon years before his scandal came through (and really he got in trouble for the wrong thing) and I was calling bullshit on “The Secret” before anyone was even open to that idea. That’s not to portray myself as something great or anything. That’s the point. I’m just a numbskull idiot but I am skeptical enough to see through some of this garbage.

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            Well, It seems to me his first book became a best seller due to word of mouth. That’s not exactly an easy thing for a con artist or someone who doesn’t “get it” to pull off. I mean its easy to say its easy to write a best seller about spirituality, but not as easy to do.

            Feel free to listen to your intuition. I’ve had similar conversations as this about Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. In that case I was explaining why I thought HE was a fraud and to no avail.

            They were like “yeah I know he fucked and assaulted all those people(before drinking and coking himself to death), but you can’t judge him because you don’t have his mind”

            But anyway, my burden of proof is not that steep to disqualify a Spiritual teacher/guru. But i need SOMETHING to go on. But I did get a lot out of his books.

          • mannyfurious

            “50 Shades of Grey” began as fanfic on a Twilight website. Through word of mouth it eventually got published with pretty much no marketing. Through word of mouth it eventually became an epic seller. Is E.L. James a great writer? Is 50 Shades of Grey a good book?

            I thought we established a long time ago that popularity has very little to do with quality.

            I think what has made his approach so popular is that it’s easy to digest and it’s very warm and fuzzy and it makes people feel good. Again, is this necessarily a “bad” thing? Not really. I don’t think it really solves anybody’s suffering, but I do think it might mitigate it slightly, from time to time.

            Also, I agree with your assessment on Trungpa Rinpoche. Compared to him, Tolle is a goddamned saint.

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            actually, Tolle’s message is pretty hard core. He just explains it well. Feel free to lay on me whatever really deep hard core truth you think he is missing. I can take it.

          • mannyfurious

            I’m not sure what “Hardcore” means in this case. It’s not so much that he’s missing some kind of “hard core truth,” it’s that he’s simply reciting the same old platitudes and ideas he’s read from other, probably better, sources. It’s the “mysticism” of someone who doesn’t really know of what he speaks. I don’t know what else you want from me. I’ve already acknowledged that there’s nothing I’m going to tell you that is going to change your mind. If anything, I will recommend some other reading. You’ve probably read at least some of these, so you should be able to recognize the difference between these works and the works of Tolle. I would suggest the book of Chuang Tzu, the Lin-chi Lu, The Zen Sayings of Huang Po, the Platform Sutra, Penguin’s collection of Meister Eckhart’s homilies, anything by D.T. Suzuki, The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, the poems of Ryokan or Stonehouse or Ikkyu, the Zen Teachings of Bankei, anything by Ramana Maharshi, Wholeness and the Implicate Order and pretty much anything else by David Bohm, pretty much anything by Joseph Campbell or Alan Watts. That should keep most people busy for awhile.

          • Kevin Leonard

            I think that is the point. Especially in America, we need to be able to look past the superficial layers. If charisma were the mark of enlightenment, George Clooney could be the 5th Buddha.

          • Kevin Leonard

            I think that is the point. Especially in America, we need to be able to look past the superficial layers. If charisma were the mark of enlightenment, George Clooney could be the 5th Buddha.

          • mannyfurious

            Fuck enlightenment. If a person doesn’t have enough “insight” and “self awareness” to perceive that he’s coming across as a little odd, then why should I believe he has enough insight and self awareness about stuff that is more important and more difficult to grasp? It’s not about charisma. Personally I think people tend to be born with charisma or with out it, whatever it is. It’s about not being skeevy in the presence of other people. Which shouldn’t be too difficult.

          • Kevin Leonard

            enlightenment has nothing to do with the personality.

          • mannyfurious

            And if you think that’s what I’m implying, you don’t really belong in this conversation.

          • Kevin Leonard

            You are judging that “he’s coming across as a little odd” and since he’s not altering his persona, you, therefore, doubt he has insights into deeper matters of intellect and wisdom.
            There really isn’t getting around the fact that your statement is shallow.

          • mannyfurious

            So, while you’re extolling me to “look beyond the superficial” re: Eckhart Tolle, you continue to judge me and my arguments based entirely on a superficial reading of some message board posts? That’s not stupid in the least….

            I will say, though, that while my initial criticism of Tolle was aroused after reading The Power of Now, it was only further vindicated by seeing him on video. There are aspects of his personality that betray that he isn’t all he claims to be. There’s nothing I can say that will convince you otherwise–and, again, that’s totally fair, since you have no reason to believe what I say or my “authority”– so why are we continuing this conversation?

          • Kevin Leonard

            I have never defended Tolle, though it it is obvious his message has impact, despite his alleged faults. And I’m not judging you, I’m just pointing out that you are judging the authenticity of Tolle’s message based on his personality, which is a fallacy. There is no requirement that one’s personality dissolve upon reaching a certain stage of enlightenment. If the personality disappeared, all sages would sound the same. Tolle’s personality just isn’t that personalble.
            I’m continuing the conversation because it amuses me.

        • jnana

          I’d have to agree w/ manny. What is the strength of Tolle’s message? I admit I haven’t read much by him but a few passages, but I couldn’t find anything different than any other new aged watered down Buddhist/hindu-ey stuff.
          I do know it gets a lotta people on the spiritual path. I met one dude at a Vipassana course who got turned onto Buddhism by Tolle. It seems to me what Tolle says is easier for most people to swallow than traditional religions.

          • mannyfurious

            I think this is exactly right. Is anything he says “wrong” or “misleading”? Not really. But it’s watered-down and it’s sanitized so as to appeal to a large group of people. It’s funny how people keep telling me that I need to get past the “superficial appearences” when I agree completely. Get past the superficial “profundity” of Tolle’s nonsense and see it and him for what he really is.

    • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

      I don’t really get why writing books about meditation is selling pseudoscience. If a person sells books about oil painting is that pseudoscience as well?

      • David Howe

        Straw Man much? Please don’t be disingenuous. I think you know exactly what I’m talking about and – no – I don’t think there’s anything wrong with meditation. And I think your comparison is just stupid.

        • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

          Do you ever post more than snarky sentence fragments? If so feel free to explain to me how writings not purporting to be scientific can somehow be “pseudo-scientific.”

          • David Howe

            I’m only snarky with you because your attitude invites it. And don’t give me orders. Go get yourself a dictionary and high school diploma. I’m not here for your remedial education.

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            so i guess that would be a ‘no’

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            and no explanation as to how books that aren’t written by scientists and which don’t make scientific claims can be “pseudoscience”

  • Andrew

    Where’s Jan Crouch!?

  • Joe

    Bullshit! Where is Duncan Trussell?!?!

  • Thad McKraken

    Alan Moore? Grant Morrison?

  • Jim

    they mean 100 most Spiritual People who rake in the most Coin

  • mannyfurious

    Where’s Manny Furious!?!?

  • f_galton

    Why is Ram Bahadur Bamjon not on this list?

  • f_galton

    Why is Gronk not on this list?

  • f_galton

    Why is Robert Rønnes not on this list?

  • f_galton

    Why is Kris Holm not on this list?

  • f_galton

    Why is Pat Cooper not on this list?

  • BuzzCoastin

    the source article was titled
    100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People
    in that sense
    the list is right on

    but it does highlight the fact
    the many still need leaders to tell them how to think
    even for something “spiritual”

    I can also add
    that a few of those people on the list
    have provided me with useful information & insight

    • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

      Yeah I agree.

  • DrDavidKelly

    No one is any more spiritual than anyone else.

    • Andrew

      Nobody’s more spiritual than me?

      That’s scary.

  • Monkey See Monkey Do

    My most influential for 2013 (from the above list)
    1. Alex Grey 2. Graham Hancock 3. Stanislav Grof 4. Rupert Sheldrake 5. Ram Dass 6. Michio Kaku

  • VibrateThis

    why is Alex Grey a disinformation friend (not looking for argument, don’t know much about him other than that he’s an artist who paints his psychedelic experiences)

    Thanks

    :)

  • Hobbyfarmer

    The list should be renamed The 100 Most Self Promoting Book and DVD Marketers.

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