The Guru in Your iPod

By Alan Cohen

While watching the documentary film Stephen Jobs, Hippy Billionaire, I was tickled to learn that as a young adult Jobs was significantly influenced by Baba Ram Dass and his book Be Here Now. I also credit Ram Dass as one of the most valued mentors in my life. He led millions of spiritual seekers to higher awareness and is considered by many to be the “Father of the New Age.”

As destiny would have it, eight years ago Ram Dass moved to Maui, where he now lives a few miles from my home. I see Ram Dass often at local social and spiritual gatherings. A few nights ago I told him about his inspirational influence on Steve Jobs. He smiled. I told him, “Just think—there’s a little bit of Ram Dass in every iPod.”

While spiritual guides and teachings are not always known or acknowledged by the masses, higher-dimensional influences shape our world more than most people realize. When Steve Jobs showed up in the computer industry, it was terribly dry and left-brain heavy. He changed that by adding flair, art, beauty, and user friendliness. If not for him, we might all still be pecking at keys working DOS on mouseless devices beneath green-on-black monitors. Jobs’ foray into eastern spirituality expanded his mind and lifted him into multi-dimensional vision, which he passed along to billions of people through his inventions that are as tasteful as they are useful.

Abraham Lincoln, considered by many to be our nation’s greatest president, was a deeply spiritual man. He held séances in the White House, overseen by D.C. psychic Nettie Meinhard, and he had a psychic premonition of his death. Nikola Tesla, the genius who gave the world alternating current electricity, wireless technology, x-rays, and neon lighting, received ideas and inspiration for his inventions in clairvoyant flashes. Albert Einstein declared, “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” and “I have not arrived at my understanding of the universe by means of the rational mind.”

I met Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, the courageous neuroanatomist who completely overcame a stroke and went on to author the bestselling book, My Stroke of Insight. An expert on brain function, Dr. Taylor often speaks to audiences of contrasting proclivity, such as left-brain scientists and right-brain new agers. “The left-brainers want what the right-brainers have,” she told me. “They know there is magic and wisdom in the intuitive self, but many of them don’t quite know how to access it.” For that reason, Jill is a great bridge builder.

That bridge is available to all of us if we are willing to cross it. The movie Regarding Henry depicts a hardball lawyer who is transformed after a head injury. (“Lest ye become as a little child, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.”) You don’t have to have a head injury to be transformed. You just have to bring your intellect into harmony with your spirit, and let the mind serve Higher Power.

If you read between the lines of some of the most popular business books of our time, you will recognize a strong spiritual influence. Stephen Covey has translated lofty concepts into practical application, as has Ken Blanchard. Blanchard is upfront about his spiritual beliefs. He has dubbed himself “CSO” of his company: Chief Spiritual Officer.

I was invited to speak at a spiritual conference sponsored by the Sufi Order, a mystical branch of Islam. On my way from the airport to the conference I found myself in a limo with another speaker. “How did you get to be invited to speak here?” he asked me. I told him (somewhat proudly) about some of the books I had written. “What do you do?” I asked him. “I’m a brain surgeon,” he answered. Oh. “What moved you to go into that profession?”

“In Sufism, everyone is required to have a skill or profession in which you work with your hands,” he answered.

I guess brain surgery would qualify. Behind this doctor’s sophisticated surgery was a spiritual influence, as there is behind many people who excel in medicine. Dr. Larry Dossey has done a great deal of research on the power of prayer. He recounts that in a survey in which 1,000 doctors participated anonymously, 59 percent reported that they pray for their patients, and 55 percent said they had seen miraculous results of prayer.

“The key to this survey is that it was anonymous,” Dr. Dossey concludes. “The doctors would have been less honest if they had to identify themselves in a profession that does not generally recognize the power of prayer.” So spirit is behind a significant portion of medical success.

You do not need to be a guru, healer, or brain surgeon to allow higher power to influence your work. You just have to be willing. The next time you listen to your iPod, surf on your iPad, or talk on your iPhone, remember that the man behind those adventures had one foot in spiritual reality, and another in uplifting the world. And so do you.

Alan Cohen is the author of many popular inspirational books, including the newly-released Enough Already: The Power of Radical Contentment. Join Alan this February 10-15 in Hawaii for the extraordinary program Miracles, Metaphysics, and Maui. For more information about this program, Alan’s other books, and free daily inspirational quotes via email, visit, email, or phone 800-568-3079 or 808-572-0001.

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