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AUTHOR’S NOTES: I Met the Buddha on the Road- and he’s Suing Me!

For fifteen years (1978-1994 R.I.P.) I was devoted to a self-styled guru named John-Roger. I put his name on books I wrote, including LIFE 101, DO IT! and You Can’t Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought-the latter a book I should re-read immediately. I published and promoted the books myself, and two of them appeared on the New York Times bestseller list.

I gave John-Roger every spare penny the books generated-more than $1,000,000. In addition, the books rehabilitated his shabby public image, and brought heaven knows how many (it pains me to think about it) into his cult, the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness (pronounced Messiah).

I did all this not from love, but fear: I thought if I didn’t, I would die. (I actually believed John-Roger’s lies that he was keeping me alive. More on this soon.)

In 1994, after I was successfully treated for depression, the scales fell from my eyes, and I saw that the Great and Powerful Wizard was just a little man behind a curtain pushing buttons and charging admission to Oz.

I tried to leave quietly, but to quote Norma Desmond from Sunset Boulevard: “No one walks out on a star!” She said that, of course, just before pulling the trigger six times.  The bullets from John-Roger thus far have been (1) he’s filed a lawsuit demanding everything I own; (2) my offices were broken into-twice-and the only thing of significance stolen was the first draft of this book; (3) I was physically attacked by three of John-Roger’s highest honchos, including his heir-apparent; and (4) I’ve received hundreds of obscene calls and annoying hang-up calls-traced by the police back to a phone controlled by John-Roger.  

I wrote this book to answer some of the questions that plagued me:

After much research and a lot more soul-searching, I think I have found the answers-or at least *my* answers. Like most answers, they explained a lot more about my life than the immediate questions demanded.  

What I learned applied to *all* harmful relationships-relationships that often start out oh-so-good-be they with people, careers, habits, beliefs, or even with ourselves.

The answers also explained the methods used by those who want to control us, what they will do to get that control (whatever they can get away with), and what *we* must do if we want to keep our control where it belongs-with us.

I thought these answers might be valuable to others-that’s why I published this book. It’s not just the story of a wicked guru and his wayward disciple; it’s a tale of personal freedom-lost and found; its risks and rewards.

I pray you find some answers of your own in these pages-and a few laughs too. Thanks for reading.

~ Peter McWilliams, from Prelude Press Catalog, Fall 1994