Some questions that get raised when my person is questioned…
1. Why did you change your name to Marc Steinberg?
I changed my name in 1998 following the legal procedures of the name law in Germany and the UK. Marc Steinberg is printed in my passport. As a professional actor (which was my profession next to modelling in my 20s) I have the right to do so. And in 1998 I was asked by the “Deutsche Schauspieler Akademie, Munich” to do so
At that time I was in the middle of my life and considered the request from spiritual perspectives. I discovered that there is a reason, why in many spiritual disciplines a new name is given to the practitioner (see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudonym). The reason being, that with a new name the old conditioning that is linked to ones old name is not stimulated any longer and that helps to focus more on the present and the future. Besides, in the UK, the USA, South Africa and many other countries in the world, anybody can get a name change. People don’t live in the same house their whole life, nor do they wear the same clothes or drive the same car. People change during their life time and with that their environment. I believe the desire for a name change when the time has come is a natural expression in the course of the development of one’s personality.
And lastly, 1998 was also the time when I started to prepare for going international with my work, which meant to move into the English language. Having lived for two years in America I know how difficult it is for English speaking persons to pronounce ‘Hannes Scholl’ even at least somewhat correctly. I surely could make you laugh if I could put some audio samples here! Be assured that it always sounded from awkward to pathetic. ‘Marc Steinberg’ is neither a problem for the English nor for the Germans or Latin communities.
Spiritual teachers will always receive opposition, constructive and destructive, bright and stupid. Eckhart Tolle (born Germany as Ulrich Tolle) was criticized lately “[...] She’s still identified as an ego, only attached to a different piece of it, the one that thinks it’s not the ego, the one that Tolle is locking people into by giving them this horrible idea as to what ego really is.” (source: http://guruphiliac.blogspot.com/2008/02/tolle-hates-your-ego.html)
2. You were called a guru by the media. Are you a guru?
To be called a guru is in many professions a compliment (i.e. marketing guru, IT guru etc) but not so when it comes to helping and empowering people. The media in western territories is quite responsible for the negative reputation the word guru in combination with teacher received.
Images of loss of personality, mind control and exploitation have been attached. In the pure sense of the Sanskrit root meaning of the word, ‘guru’ means someone who brings knowledge, who throws light on unknown or subconscious stuff. In that sense, every good psychologist and school teacher is a guru. Course participants, clients and customers testify that I do a quite outstanding job in my profession as a consciousness coach and trainer – so yes, in the light of the above I can be called a guru (for more information on the term ‘guru’ see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guru). And for the record, I do not aim to have followers nor do I desire recognition as a guru. What I care for is teaching authentically, acting in integrity and making a difference.
3. The protestant church in Munich labelled your organisation a sect back then in Germany 1994. Was it a sect?
Again, if we use labels as they have been understood when they were created then the answer is yes, certainly. ‘Sect’ comes from sector and it means it is a particular sect-ion of a greater Whole. In order to provide a positive climate for growth, a sector is needed in which these conditions exist and can be maintained. Every family in that sense is a sect-or, a sec-luded space in which the family members are protected and have their space to be together and grow. Every political party is a sect-or, every football club and every company who has a branding, a corporate culture. We find symbols, jargon, colours etc used to differentiate this sect-ion from the rest. ‘Sect’ as being used by the media is again a term that has been attached with negative associations and therefore people have been conditioned by the media to see sect as only negative. (for more information on the term ‘sect’ see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sect)
4. Are you or have you been a member of Scientology?
No. My experience with Scientology goes as far as reading the first 30 pages of their book “Dianetics’. The book did not catch my interest and I never did any of their tests or courses. During the witch hunt in the mid 90s my opponents tried to claim otherwise. I sued them all the way up to the local supreme court (“Oberlandesgericht”) and won 100%. Here’s the translation from the German verdict summary - click here for seeing the final German verdict.
The defendant (who is Mrs Renate Hartwig, head of a self-proclaimed German sect fighting organisation) by penalty of up to 500.000 Deutschmarks has to refrain in writing, imaging or suggesting to make or publish the following claims about Hannes Scholl:
- Hannes Scholl is not any longer but was a member of the Scientology church.
- Hannes Scholl has taken material of Ron Hubbard and used it for the setup of his seminars.
- Hannes Scholl was an trained and educated scientologist.
Case closed. End of this slander attempt.
5. Are you doing the same today as back then in the 90s?
A lot has changed. I developed the empowerment aspect of my work to such a level that I received international diploma accreditation by the ICF (International Coach Federation http://www.coachfederation.org) and with that I have been entitled to work as a coach training academy.
The consciousness development components of my curriculum have also been stripped of all incense and been meticulously crafted until only the essence of what helps people was left. The work as it stands today is a masterpiece in the self improvement industry.
6. Have you learned any lessons from the 90s experience and would you do anything differently if you could turn back time?
Yes, certainly. I would deal with the media differently before things get out of control. I would be more involved in the organization and not let the executive people in charge build well intended but easily to be misunderstood structures around the teachings. And lastly, I would not accept any offerings that could be seen as personality exaltation.
P.S.: If your question has not been addressed please feel free to post it on my blog.
I will gladly respond.