A Rant Against Culture

By Leo Gura - November 7, 2016 | 32 Comments

How culture limits your consciousness


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Ramona says:

What are you talking about? It’s like you are pointing the finger at your computer and accusing it for standing in the way of your imaginary spiritual process. The computer is a tool, a necessary one nowadays. Your way of relating to it is the problem, your identification with this tool. As for the consciousness growth/progression, ha ha ha. I am sorry, but you are putting people on the wrong path with these confusing messages.

Thomas says:

Please get a life will ya, your comments are always of the same nature. Go trolls go!

Ramona says:

Initially, I felt pulled to reply to you with a sarcastic answer. Sarcasm is part of my personality, but I don’t use it with everyone. You are special. I saw clearly every thought and emotion that arose reading your comment and I loved everything about my inner landscape. I loved your comment, your energy. I loved you. It is insane how beautiful it is. There is no enlightenment, no need to be on a spiritual path because you are this path. This is what I am trying to say with all of my recent comments, to point out that it is so simple that it is hilarious and that there is nothing else but love for everything that arises insideout (there is no inside/outside haha). No need for a technique, no need for hours and hours of meditation, yoga, books, inquiery, retreats, mantras, cultish devotion, just a clear perception of what it is and Leo should emphasize this simplicity more often instead of talking about spiritual growth, imaginary spiritual process and so on…

Mr Enniss says:

It’s not so simple as to say it’s so simple , I do understand what you are saying Ramona . Self awareness is like learning to ride the “Backward Brain Bicycle” , it takes some time and before you take off you can convince yourself you got it , then one day x amount of time later it will just click , and off you go down the path of unconditional happiness.

Christine says:

Thank you Leo for this great video. It takes courage to speak this way. I agree with what you are saying. Its liberating!

E says:

Thanks, Leo. I have watched almost all your videos. I think that it is time well spent.

Wendy Boode says:

Another fantastic rant and it resonates with me so much because I am about to embark on leaving the place I was born in (Montreal, Quebec) and moving to Holland, which is where my Dad comes from, to be an artist and live my life’s purpose.
I’ve been trying to communicate my distaste of this place with friends and family, but I could never have explained it so eloquently as you did here.
I can no longer live comfortably in this society where I feel the collective consciousness is too low. I am not happy here, nor do I feel I can reach my full potential and self actualize in this community.
I want to be surrounded with nature, art, beauty, not distracted by commercial Western influences. I want to actually live MY OWN LIFE, instead of being bombarded by images and stories of other people’s lives or lifestyles through the media.
I love how you describe it as “transcending culture”, it’s a beautiful way to explain it, not defacing it, by accepting that it exists but that you don’t have to be influenced by it. You can live amongst it but only with awareness is it made truly harmless.
I am enjoying becoming aware, thank you again for your insightful gifts.

Katya says:

so happy to watch this video as i moved from Ukraine to Canada, ran away from one toxic culture to another one… this question was always bothering me within me but i had no answer what exactly i was experiencing, so not i was explained! Leo,many thanks and as always i love exploring myself and life around with your help!

Beth Lewis says:

Go Leo Go!!
Preach it!! You’re speaking my ‘language’! This is what I work on with my clients daily, day after day–working to get others to challenge the programmed beliefs we’ve all been brainwashed to believe without the ability to truly think for our own selves, outside the realm of what others have said or done. We really are brainwashed without our own knowledge of it, unless we’re of the few who have the capacity to step back and really ‘think’, for ourselves by way of questioning exactly where did our beliefs and norms even come from, from who, when, and how far back do these ‘standards’ really go? Our history books? ha-that’s another operation of the programming we’ve all bought into as if those who wrote the texts we all studied were not biased? Not possible. In the US it is thought here that “normal” is what everyone or the masses does or thinks and yet? The masses in the US? Are all basically miserable, anxious, stressed, depressed and they cannot articulate why.

Everything we do and think, want and dont want, believe in or not believe in….is ALL shaped by the silent programming we all endure starting with our own caregivers, then our cultures schools and our peers, our media, then our jobs and somehow we begin believing that what happens here in the US is actually “right” or “normal”—when all it takes is one trip to another culture to quickly see, nope, we are just one of many cultures that are formed, again, without much thought as to why or how. Unless we step back and really look at what and why we think and believe what we believe, we see people walking around in a trance, thinking that all of this is actually normal or right. How sad.

To be able to stop and question WHY we think what we think, or WHY we do what we do, or what we’re motivated by, we’re not actually thinking for ourselves at all. An effective “education”? Is one that teaches us to THINK, and do more than think according to the set default that so many are walking around in, a haze, not even aware. We all have a choice to believe, think, reason, choose, anything we want, period. An education is “when we’re given the ability to “think about what we think about and still choose to think what we truly want to think and/or believe, regardless of whether it is popular, acceptable, ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, and still choose the way we want to think and see our selves and our world, solely because we choose to”. Education brings us the ability to choose how to think, and to question all things, without the fear of being kicked out of our culture just for thinking outside the “box”.

Well done Leo. Well said. Your last 2 videos are quite profound and I’ve used them in my practice widely over the past week. Getting others to really ponder these deep, and necessary ideas is what brings individuality forward and perhaps? Can also bring about the very changes this “culture” needs: fresh new perspectives on existing “rules” and “ways of being” that really tend to create human lives filled with anger, hate, rigid thinking, comparisons, urges to be somehow perfectly flawless and perfectly ‘same’ , thus creating a false sense of safety and in the end, it’s all lies. NO wonder the US has the highest rates of anxiety and suicide. This US culture has set us all up to have and obey rules of behavior that are contradictory, unhealthy, and create millions of people daily who simply cannot live up to this culture’s impossible and quite shallow values anyway. So the US people keep pushing themselves, driving themselves more and more to be better, and push themselves towards a system of values placed on them by others, equally miserable–and the beat goes on. And…when did mediocre become a negative word? How sad. When did a “C” become a ‘bad grade”? Wow the judgments this culture has developed against being same or ‘not special’ when in fact, we are all basically average in some way-and yet that’s now somehow a bad thing? When did it become “bad” to not be “the best” (not to be confused with “our best”? As if that really matters in the end? Who lays on their death bed and thinks “Man, I really wish I had driven myself harder to be the best student, or worker, or employee, or employer?”. Ask the dying from any culture. What do they all say? “How did I live the life I was given? Did I live it? Did I appreciate the very breath I had while i had it? Did I mindfully live and eat and love or was I lost in the trance of unworthiness simply because I wasnt the best _____? Did I feel love when it was available? Did I love myself regardless of what others did for me? Did I offer love when I could? Did I learn who I was–outside of what everyone else told me I was? Did I learn to LIVE? What else matters in the end? Life here is fleeting and what a sad sad thing to be caught up in the cult-ure of others’ ideas while we live, instead of living according to who we really are, or at least living a life that represent the journey of finding out who we really are. Only way to do that? Challenge every belief until we land on those we truly see to define us, because they resonate within us, not with others. That’s freedom. That’s and education!

Katya says:

so happy to watch this video as i moved from Ukraine to Canada, ran away from one culture to another one, not much better… this question was always bothering me within me but i had no answer what exactly i was experiencing, so not i was explained! Leo,many thanks and as always i love exploring myself and life around with your help!

Lenka says:

You are just astounding, thank you for helping us to grow and open up.
Many times I do cry, when I hear the true, you say.
Thank you for all my world.

Eugene says:

Hi Leo!
I have also felt the same about culture sort of a rebel without a cause. I totally agree with you about the collective ego; It highly probable I have been pushed aside or rejected because of my deeper views of truth or reality. Keep on leo! Gene

Charlie says:

Great video !
Self-Actualization is something I have been engaged in for many years – without knowing it (Is that is even possible ? LOL). I have always noticed culture, and often wondered how and why everyone went along with it. High school seemed more like a feedlot for programming cattle rather than an institution for higher learning or mind expansion. I have always hated school – and more so the fact that I was forced to attend.
This video really articulated and organized so much of my personal experience and observation. It was very affirming to hear it expressed that way as it resonated deeply and helped me clarify my intentions and focus my resolve.
Also, I want to say “Thank You” for taking the time to choose your words wisely, to articulate with clarity. It’s a real relief, knowing that I do not have to “second guess” or “read between the lines” to be sure I am understanding you correctly.

gordana dasic says:

I am from Serbia. Seen nearly all your videos. Of course, some of them many times. I am sure that you cannot be fully aware of how useful your videos are to the ones who listen to them. I just hope you will continue. Thank you so much!

Gillian says:

Thank you Leo just want to say how much I’m appreciating all that I’m learning through watching your videos!

Milos says:

Hi Leo!

I am very confused by teachers who say that it is not necessary to meditate to become enlightened. Like Tony Parsons, Lisa Cairns…. Is neo advaita bullshit or not?

I have a feeling that there is some truth in what they say, but I also feel that there is still something much deeper then that.

Leo Gura says:

In fact nothing is necessary to become enlightened.

And yet, you’re stuck.

Meditation is a useful tool. It’s useful for enlightenment seekers, and it’s useful for spiritual purification and developing mindfulness, which is separate from enlightenment.

But you can certainly become enlightened without ever meditating.

Milos says:


I feel like they are stuck. Is there a more profound insights of those from whom they describe ( when I say they I mean Tony Parsons, Lisa Cairns…)?

Is the Kriya yoga, Tantra… A waste of time or is useful for spreading consciousness?

Jake says:

Hey Leo,

Do you think there is a danger of reading too much about enlightenment and over conceptualising about it?

Leo Gura says:

Sure, that’s pretty much guaranteed to happen.

Jake says:

So does that mean that we should not read too much about it or just try to be conscious of when we are doing it?

Elisabeth says:

I might have to take a break from the videos, just return to the less advanced ones or other teachers or take a break and just do some work myself, not yet decided. Watching the last few of them just left me in a kind of “have to do it all at once” spasm, which is much of a wrong attitude. But I don’t want to backslide and forget, which could happen pretty easily (as my meditation habit is not even that regular), so that’s the dilema now.

Milos says:

Why can i reply? When i want to reply this this appears:

Invalid Message: Special Characters Not Allowed

Glenn says:

Also so much of the trap is in the language we use. We all live in a culture of separation which is reinforced by our language and thought processes. God/Spirit which is the only “real reality” is beyond any words and concepts. David Abrams book “Spell of the Sensuous” points this out so well! Our language directly reflects our ideas of “separation”…”I am this and you are that.” Indigenous languages are better at describing the spiritual. God become external and separate.
For myself, Meditation and Qigong practice helps me arrive at “no-thought” and stillness which transcends separation. Yes you can have no thoughts and no thought trains whenever you choose to do so. This is a New World. Try it!

Lucas says:

You might want to check out this radically opposite approach to enlightenment.
As you are saying the enviorment has an unstoppable influence on a person. But why not use this power and influence to overcome the ego and move towards spirituality? Why not use envy of others and the competitive desire of understanding life in order to become a loving person and hence see and recognize the evil ego inside of you?
After all if you want to go the way of aquiring a content free consciousness, like the Buddha you will have to free yourself of all the worldy influences.

Even if it may not feel like this method suits your type, it is another authentic approach to enlightenment.
I see and respect your intense desire for spirituality but making your path like a law for all is in no way open minded to me.

Here is a scientific approach to reach spirituality with the power of the environment: Dr. Michael Laitman, Wisdom of Kabbalah

All the best

Russell Youngs says:

I have gone through 3 years of something I would not wish on anyone, but has given me the capability to remove the label of Christian. While I am still in that culture 50%, I am disagreeing with several facets of it. I am now trying to see all of it as belief systems. Thanks for the rant Leo and I have watched probably 3 of your videos thus far. I would highly recommend the Mechanics of belief video as well. Thanks for the website.

Roy says:

I read in your response to a comment that mindfulness is separated from enlightenment. That surprised me quite a bit, how can enlightenment not bring to also mindfulness? Can you elaborate on that a little bit? Thank you

Venus says:

This is realized especially when one study the modern system we’ve grown up in.

By the way, a great unconventional resource that will help you open your mind culturally is The Venus Project and the documentary Zeitgeist: Moving Forward.

mark says:

hi leo and all,”a collective bubble of delusion”, the social construction of realty. excellent stuff. one of my favourite writer describes culture in to ways. 1) the time-binding of knowledge 2) a conspiracy (in the sense of a shared vision, spire- breathe, together -con).
Personally, I’ve had over 500 psychedelic experiences, and some of my friends ended up catatonic, or came back very damaged. I’m so glad that you stress balance in all these things. I think your headed in a brilliant direction, and I agree wholeheartedly that most people are really stuck in cultures web. pls keep in mind the spread of your audience, it is easily possible to isolate too much and loose all connection with social consensus (yep, been there and go the scars to prove it). Balance, balance, balance, balance, balance. keep up the goo work. my best wishes to you all. M

Daniel says:

I really connect with this leo! Some of the comments here are ego driven. Stop impressing Leo with your thoughts, words, and long paragraphs and go and figure it out for yourself. Stop defending your dogmatic ways and live a prosperous life.

Max Raoy Gron says:

No one listens to this, not even believe it, nor take this seriously, but when something is different it’s not the same, and it’s not part of any group, and doesn’t deserve to be boxed as a category, therefore if my beliefs are different, they’re not the same, they’re individual and should be treated as such and not as a group thing, or like anything else, and shouldn’t be treated like it takes after my parents, anyone else or my ancestors, it doesn’t, it should be treated like where I get my ideas I make them up, original, not derived from or based on something else, nobody takes that seriously as I said. It’s even worse when I began my originality at the age of nine, which is a pseudo-originality because it derives from the teacher and therefore it’s made a lot of influence in how I was different and unique and how this notion of new inventions isn’t my own, that means my culture raised me to be weird. I wasn’t born weird, different, unique, eccentric, unconventional, freaky, unusual, or an individual, it’s purely dressed on me by my culture, which I’m fighting, but I’m not fighting my hectic living, not-rush-hurry-and-go culture, I don’t agree that the national culture should be treated as special, like it’s bad, but I don’t agree that all kinds of culture are bad. The culture I’ve chosen over the years from peer pressure from dad and support workers to resist some individual trait of mine, I resist the peer pressure to hurry up drinking coffee, so now my culture is to drink it slowly and not rush with coffee, hurry and go, which is influenced by a Greek Cyprian who said coffee should be drunk slowly. I think that’s not arbitrary nor blind or dumb as not all cultures are the same, I choose to be in the coffee culture in that sense without forcing me to hurry, rush and go. It’s simple I don’t agree with Leo about culture, not all cultures are worthy of disregard and throwing in the rubbish bin, I’m conscious I didn’t get this from my parents.

Max Raoy Gron says:

To save me from all the bullying I received I’d like you to reconsider, even a pseudo-obedience and pseudo-loyalty to your culture has a considerable impact on your culture attacking you you not anymore regarded as one of them, think about people who want you to hold that you’re different, then think about how ordinariness is a new one and how it’s shaped your definition of normal. Then you’ll have a taste if you do it right of a culture-free yet hard life, all you have to do is be sceptical and how culture influenced you to think scepticism’s not true, but I suppose accepting all these videos is having a taste of every type of person of somebody else, but not my own type.

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