March 16, 2011

I Slept with My Guru.

(Here’s Part One)

Part II: Stop Practicing

For the next three months I had the most complex relationship of my life with this man who I surrendered to as my guru.  Over the time together, he asked me why I was practicing asana.

I responded, “to quiet my mind.” 

“Is it working?”


Then stop.

At that time, I had been practicing yoga asana for 11 years, and practicing daily for 7.  I had no idea how much was wrapped up in my practice until I was asked to give it up.

All of a sudden I worried about getting fat—I had no idea that that was a part of why I was practicing. I was worried about not being a good person. My life might be shitty, but at least I am a good person because I practice yoga two hours a day.  And now, if I don’t practice, then who am I?

This neurosis confirmed to me that this was a necessary, if temporary abstinence practice. I didn’t want my self-image and identity to be based on my yoga asana practice.  I wanted to address these deeper wounds that I had apparently been concealing or glossing over with practice.

From then on my sadhana would be 4:00am chanting—(4am is considered the most auspicious time for practice—Brahma mahurta) and meditation.  All my action, words, behaviors, were game for correction, instruction and dismantling.

I was game. I believed that he had wisdom and access to information, knowledge and connection worthy of my surrender.

Old School-Style

Any time of night I could be woken up and tested for the Sanskrit verses I was memorizing. When I went to the bathroom, I had to leave the door open, and he would comment on how I flushed.  If I did not learn something after the first exposure, then I was not offered that piece of knowledge again. For instance, if we were walking in the morning and he started humming a tune for a bit,  he would ask me to recall it at night. If I did not recall it, it was gone.

And I wanted every morsel of knowledge he had to offer.


So it mattered to me.

On the other hand, although he had scoffed at my yoga asana practice and asked me to abandon it, whenever he paraded me around chanting, he always asked me to demonstrate Surya Namaskar for the small audience.  Despite intense allergy problems, if he awoke before dawn, he did so to help me strengthen my sadhana and break through resistance.

My learning was his first priority.

The Bigger Problem

The bigger problem was that he fell in love with me.

I was living in the house of the philosophy he built. So if the body is not real, why do I have preference?

Why do I allow some people to touch my body and not others?

Why do I not recognize his love as purer than any I have received before and therefore offer myself completely to him?

And why do I have so many prejudices against sexual relations with an Indian, a man older than my father?

Is Intuition Real?

All I knew was deep in my gut, I wanted a teacher, not a lover or a husband.

That is not how I felt about our relationship. But in our studies together, he taught me that intuition does not exist. That intuition is actually a refinement of observations—very small, detailed ones that our subconscious mind collects and that our conscious mind can learn to recognize when we refine our awareness.  He said that we have hunches all the time, but we only call it intuition when the hunches are right. We have tons that are wrong that we never express. If you observe this, it is true.

So my intuition, which I had fought to reclaim on a solo journey to India 10 years prior (ironically) after being date raped in college, was under suspicion again.

Somehow as much as I wanted this knowledge and had been craving an intense student/teacher relationship, I could not accept the demand of total surrender of myself, including my physical body.

My guru pulled out all the stops. He told me I was not a true sadhaka.  He said he had nothing to teach me, because this work was on every level, every aspect of life, so what good would it be for him to teach me more of the sacred texts, chant more together, if I was so blocked, and blocking the true nature of our relationship.

So I left.


To read Part One, go here.

…to be continued in Part 3: the Road Back


You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

Jun Ling Feb 19, 2014 12:20am

I think the trend where westerners kept seeking for oriental belief in pursuit of peace of mind, is not different at all as compared to the born oriental religion followers converting into Christianity in oriental nations. It is NOT the teaching nor belief that make people feel peace, rather, it's like a child who is in fear, ran to a corner where he/she could not see what he/she fear and feel that he/she has hidden well and that he/she is safe. It is a runaway mentality that subconsciously produce a feelings of "u had move into a higher level of awareness", which in fact, it's only running away from the mainstream forbiddances of respective cultural background, or in another point of view, it's just like majority of people who seek out belief, individuals, and theories that support their existences and behaviour to be just and right.

Do I see this kind of behaviour foolish? No, not at all. It's a walk of life, I've always believe that life is one chapter of the many lessons we will experiences, and being lagged behind in progress doesn't mean the person is lesser beings. They just haven't had the opportunity to experiences what would make them aware of what's essential to them. Life is an ongoing learning experiences, embrace it, enjoy it, indulge in it. Life is short. YOLO. LOL.

Just my 2 cents.

Jennifer Cusano Feb 7, 2012 10:05am

Just Posted to the Elephant Love: Loneliness, Dating & Relationships FaceBook page.
Follow Elephant Love on Twitter
Jennifer Cusano
Editor, Elephant Love.

Read Elephant’s Best Articles of the Week here.
Readers voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares:
Click here to see which Writers & Issues Won.

Kimberly Johnson

Kimberly Johnson helps women find their way back to themselves after giving birth. She herself was rearranged by childbirth in almost every way, so she loves sparing women the unnecessary surprises of the postpartum period. She is a longtime yoga teacher, bodyworker, doula and somatic educator and a Certified Sexological Bodyworker. She loves helping women reclaim their erotic lives through somatic sex coaching, Somatic Experiencing tools, and holistic pelvic health. After her video on the #metoo movement went viral on Facebook, she created the course Activate Your Inner Jaguar course. The next one starts February 6th!