Much Ado about (almost) Nothing. ~ Johanna Lyman

Via elephant journal
on Feb 10, 2012
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The guru is inside…

Having brought myself up to date on all the salient points of the most recent Anusara accusations, I stand my my original article.

The point of my original article was that the guru is inside. John is not the guru, and he never has been. He has taken the seat of the teacher, and done so beautifully the times I’ve studied with him. Putting him on a pedestal because he imparted a powerful teaching runs counter to to that very teaching. The guru is inside, people.

John is gifting us with a mirror for that teaching. When presented with a charismatic teacher, can we still remember to turn to the guru inside? When the teacher does something to disappoint you, will you throw out the teaching? If the teacher reveals himself to be a troubled, regular human being, can you remember to open to grace? Can you remember to look for the good? Can you remember to ask your inner knowing to follow the right path?

I can not, for the life of me, find room in my heart to judge John’s actions. I can not presume to know what his karma his, or the path along which he will follow his dharma. I can not presume to know the karma of the women he was involved with. I do know that consenting adults sometimes make choices that are seemingly not in their best and highest good. I also know that what looks like a bad thing now, for example, an affair leading to the end of a relationship, could be considered one of life’s greatest gifts ten years from now.

We never really know until we finish the story.

John has been given the opportunity to examine his shadow on many levels, all at the same time. That’s not an easy task, and it’s not for the faint of heart. Some people spend their entire lives running from their shadow. He, by the grace of his actions, has exposed the shadow of his integrity in relationship and in business all at once. He is learning the lessons of humility, alignment, and integrity; core teachings in the system of Anusara. He probably has a long list of other things he’s learning as well.

The coming weeks and months will be the true test of his character. John has always called himself a student, first and foremost. This is his opportunity to practice his studentship. If he wants to apologize, let him apologize. If he chooses to step down because he is out of alignment, let that be his choice. Let him be as transparent as he chooses to be. Allow him his privacy as an individual.

Expecting perfection from a teacher sets the student up for disappointment. It’s unfair to the teacher, because we teach what we most need to learn. That’s why we teach. When we remember that, we can remain perpetual students. When we forget, we lose the beginner’s mind. We think we know more than we do, and our ego tricks us into stepping onto that pedestal. Even when we know the footing is uncertain and the only way off is to fall.

The guru is inside.

Look to your own guru now to decide if the principles of Anusara still resonate within your heart. If the message is clear, it shouldn’t matter if the messenger is messy.

Edited by Kate Bartolotta
Johanna Lyman is the JOY Professor, teaching people to create the relationships and experiences they really want so they can live the lives of their dreams. She has been a student of yoga for 11 years and a student of life for 44 years., email [email protected]


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9 Responses to “Much Ado about (almost) Nothing. ~ Johanna Lyman”

  1. Vision_Quest2 says:

    Do the principles of Anusara still resonate within my heart? Well, I internalized the teachings of my semi-rock-star pilates teacher … does that count?

    This … oh this … something about the way this man, John Friend, teaches here:

    Waxing about inner body bright … ok, does not do it for me … (obviously, I'm more concerned about inner MIND …)

    But, for those of you who like this teaching, you will internalize it nicely … and if you have to forget about John Friend … a little bit of John Friend's mind will be in your minds …

    All you did was pick his brains, you did not become his disciple … he is the former messenger, and you have a high signal-to-noise ratio … just forget about the noise. Anusara lives on in you!

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  4. patrick says:

    Well said, we are always student. I will begin a teacher training this fall because I want to be a better student, not because I want to be a teacher.

  5. That's exactly why I did my teacher training, Patrick. Enjoy it!

  6. yogijulian says:

    it seems most of the senior echelon of anusara teachers would hardly agree that this was (almost) nothing:

  7. I disagree that "most" of the 345 senior certified teachers are leaving. When I wrote this article, JF wasn't insisting to be allowed to teach The Dharma of Relationships (which ultimately he did not do). I can understand the anger and disappointment many of his students felt about what was perceived as arrogance on his part to want to keep teaching. As I'm not in his head, I have no idea if it's arrogance or something else (say, a deep desire to face the firing squad of several hundred angry and betrayed students). And I'm sure this story will continue to unfold…

  8. I would say that there is a lot of 'fear' going on in the minds of many Anusara teachers. Our judgments can only come from the the dualistic mind and arise from fear. I am very surprised and shocked by the 'so-quick-to-judge-and-escape- attitude from so many 'advanced yogis'. I am confused…have any of the teachings they have received from John/Anusara changed because of the current events??? I have studied a great deal with John, and nothing that I have learned from him or experienced has changed. In this present moment NOTHING has changed. Please help me understand, as I am not finding it in my heart to judge.

  9. Laura Christensen says:

    There is no "quick to judge" escape on my part and I can honestly say for the part of many of my friends. I just want to be clear that my decision was not a reactionary impulse. It was quite the contrary. I have been grappling with this for more than 2 years. It started to consume me. So like in all unhealthy relationships, there comes a time when you just know you are finished and need to get out of it for the health of your own soul. I wish everyone great peace and send much love all around during this difficult time.