An Important Message to All Seekers, Students, Mentors and Teachers
Not long ago a wonderful Holistic Practitioner asked me if I could share anything about my experience of gurus and enlightenment after 11 years in an ashram and 25 years of personal exploration, healing and study with dozens of gurus, mentors and enlightened beings what would it be? This offering is certainly a part of that message
This topic is rarely explored and discussed, but it is worth your time especially if you are a seeker, student, teacher, mentor or practitioner. It affects us all.
I have personally experienced gurus and spiritual teachers (as recently as the last 10 years and well before that) take advantage their trusted position as “teacher” and use not only their teachings but also their state of consciousness to justify their predatory, manipulative or contractive “worldly” behavior. And some of these teachers had definitely achieved the “enlightened” or realized state. But still, I have seen them exploit the innocent devotion from their students and use it for their own agendas.
Remember that being “realized” is an attained experience of consciousness and it DOES NOT MAKE YOU A BETTER PERSON. This is huge myth perpetuated by the spiritual community. You can be awake and have a high level of awareness and still be an asshole, act cruelly, unkindly and consciously and unconsciously play out the shadow and immature woundedness in your worldly relative behavior.
This myth is often innocently projected out of sincere hope from students who desperately want to believe that a “teacher” once realized can become so purified and untainted and they completely transcend of the influence of their shadow and their wounds. This is simply NOT TRUE.
If you are in a human body you have a conditioned and fragmented psychology which by nature always contains the Shadow and the Wounded Inner Child. There is no way around that. Gurus often “allow” this illusion to continue and do little to discourage this form of idealism about themselves which only perpetuates the romanticized view of this projection. They don’t want to address this.
I have witnessed that especially gurus, coaches, spiritual teachers and healers who do not have a mentor or a guide to keep them accountable more easily justify by-passing the work that is required to authentically deal with their repressed shadow or their unconscious woundedness.
Having an engaged, active, alive, trusted human mentor is NOT THE SAME as connecting with guides, angels, ascended masters or teachers in the non-physical to keep you in check. And books, even though they are necessary and power tools, are not a replacement for a teacher or mentor – They are not enough! The subversive ego can always find a way to sidestep the highest of non-physical guidance, research and material and use it to justify continued contractive subversive behavior. The ego can find a way to justify anything.
Ironically, many guru’s will even preach yogic techniques for “clearing” those Vasanas but they themselves have never address or become accountable for their own repeated shadow behaviors that have had deeply traumatic effects on their students. They do not address their shadow and never truly “grow up” or “clean up” themselves and their relative human psychology. They do not walk their talk – even though they say that they do. Actions always speak louder than lofty proclamations, pomp and circumstance.
I have personally seen students come forward to question “these unaddressed shadow behaviors” of violation, abuse and manipulation and watch the guru deny that it even happened. They manipulate the student to question their experience. They often say that the student is not at the level of consciousness of the teacher and they misunderstood the intentions and did not get “the gift that was being offered.” The violator will often deflect their behavior and put the responsibility on the student and ask “why did you create me having to do that on your behalf” without ever addressing their part in the violation. That is classic denial, manipulation and projection.
I have also seen guru’s, teachers and mentors carefully emotionally and psychologically “groom” their students, using that naïve devotion to make them more impressionable. They condition the trusting student to be willing to accept the whatever action the teacher desires, even if it is a personal violation to the student. It may even get to the point where the student believes that they asked for it and wanted it and that it was a gift bestowed upon them.
Many ask me how can you tell if this happening? What are the signs? What should I be watching for?
Here are some tips for anyone who is working with a teacher, mentor or guru to consider:
• You always need to trust yourself and your inner knowing even if it is at odds with the teacher ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR INNER KNOWING. The teacher should always be empowering the student to empower themselves. If you feel something is off, it is usually because it is. Never defer your inner knowing.
• Pay attention to the teacher’s repeated misaligned actions or examples of the similar behavior in other cases – especially if it reveals a pattern in the teacher that he is consistently unwilling to address or completely ignores when confronted.
• Be suspicious of any teacher who have had multiple students leave because of alleged violations. Of course, you must follow your heart, but be discerning and do your research. It is easy to get swept up in the experience and the “powerful countenance” and the culture that forms around charismatic teachers.
• Be discerning about any guru, teacher or mentor who chooses to have no active teacher, mentor or person to hold them accountable and stops “working on their psychological conditioning” or never did.
• Be suspicious of any teacher who does not admit to their misaligned actions, is unwilling to be accountable or honestly address their own conditioning. Everyone makes mistakes –EVERYONE! Being clean means ownership and accountability.
• Be concerned about any teacher who allows this projection of “idealism” and undiscerning “devotion” to continue without addressing it in a student. They may say they allow it for the growth of the student. BULLSHIT. This behavior will eventually disempower the student even if they do not realize it.
It is ALWAYS the teacher’s responsibility to help the student redirect that wayward devotion back towards themselves and set them straight. The student is learning… they are trusting the teacher. That is the teacher’s responsibility, if they are truly interested in empowering their students.
• The student, in their devotion may actually DEFEND the teacher’s continual contractive behavior and attempt to justify it! The devotee or student may even build a counter-point story illustrating all the wonderful gifts bestowed and the admirable qualities of the teacher instead of dealing with the corruption that is evident. Contractive behavior does not inspire expansive results no matter how enlightened you are.
This subversive contract between student and teacher is nothing more than a “covert shadow agreement” and an example of enabling where the student allows the corruption, often because they don’t want to address the shadow issues in themselves.
They also may fear the loss of the connection or they are unwilling to give up the spiritual benefits and teachings that they are receiving. There is always a karmic price to pay for enabling. And on some level, even if it is buried under the brainwashing, grooming and conditioning, the student inherently knows what is going on is out of alignment.
• Be aware of “devotional practices” and grandiose displays of bhakti that seem to focus on the teacher and make the teachings secondary. Unchecked devotion, at sake of your inner knowing is nothing more than “blind faith” that can become HIGHLY DANGEROUS – It creates co-dependence, righteousness and fanaticism. Inflamed belief is the cause of so much strife in this world.
• Be attentive of anyone who proclaims, “with utter certainty” that they have “completely arrived” and they no longer need to be self-reflective, keep themselves in check or investigate themselves. They may even shirk personal responsibility for their relative behavior by masking it with that fact that they are beyond the state where they need to care about “illusionary material world” and they have become a “divine” instrument that is beyond reproach.
I also say this to all those mentors, healers and holistic practitioners out there:
• PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE – NEVER stop “growing up” and “cleaning up” no matter what state you reach – if you are teaching it, you should also be living it – that is called integrity – YOU NEVER STOP GROWING. Be actively engaged in your process. If you are in a human body there is more growth to explore.
• Don’t get lazy or complacent – because we all do, trust me. BE CONSISTENT and REGULAR in your internal process and sadhana of “cleaning up” and “growing up” – even if you don’t think you need it – that means that you absolutely need to even more than you realize!
• Make sure you have someone (or a team) who are OBJECTIVE, UNATTACHED and MATURE and can keep you honest – if you are mentor I don’t see why you don’t have a mentor — WE ALL NEED TO BE ACCOUNTABLE. Even more so when you are in an influential position as a teacher, coach or a guide (I literally have a team and a bad-ass wife, partner and companion) – and they all keep me clean when I am out of line – and I need it. I am always highly suspicious of a self-proclaimed healer or mentor who does not feel they need an active mentor or continue exploring.
Integrated realization requires an individual to “clean up and grow up” – “waking up” is never going to be enough and eventually your shadow and unseen woundedness will be exposed and show itself no matter what level of awareness has been attained or how evolved you may think you are.
Pay attention to teachings offered by different mentors. If the philosophy presented does stress the need for addressing an integrated psychological conditioning, then it is likely not be fully addressing “cleaning up” the shadow or the “growing up” of the wounded inner child.
Being an effective, aligned, mature mentor, teacher or healer includes becoming a consciously integrated “divined” human being who NEVER stops working on their “shit”. In fact, extraordinary teachers were usually the most insatiable students who never gave up learning and growing. They will crave the opportunity to grow and explore those untouched and addressed aspects of themselves because they know the value of the process.
We are all being invited to be more empowered and responsible as we “GROW UP” and “CLEAN UP” while we continue to more deeply “WAKE UP” to the realization of move, other and beyond.
Let’s finally release all of the romantic notions of the ideal “untainted” teacher. There is no doubt that are remarkable teachers out there who may be extremely conscious, gifted and have attained soring levels of consciousness but they are still human beings. They are imperfect. And they will always be fallible.
I fully believe that this is a necessary teaching
as the new age of Aquarius continues to unfold.
The age of the unaccountable, untouchable and elevated “guru” is over.
The gig is finally up.
– Markus Kasunich
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