March 25, 2013

How to end Sex Scandals in the Yoga Community.

…Or any mindful community, for that matter.

We can end scandals by dropping the notion that goodness is separate from us.

When our dreams come true, we will still be miserable if…

If we think happiness is future tense, it will always remain so, ever out of our grasp. Enjoy now. Start enjoying now, now. The best way to do so:

No, not buying a tote. Just read it.

So, after 10 years, I’m all over the catalogs and posters and stages of various conferences and events, and have been for some five years now, off and on. And yet still my happiness has nothing to do with any temporary recognition (or lack thereof): we find our happiness not in ego fulfillment but in generosity and mindfulness.

I mean this not as a humble brag, but as what it says: this stuff—when our ambitions come true—actually don’t make us happy. In fact, fulfilled ambition can make us into our own worst enemy, miserable and ridiculous, unless, as Seane Corn puts it, we pass along any goodness we receive, and keep the love flowing.


This is important stuff. Otherwise we become fake gurus, or fake guru worshipers, and the scandals persist, year after year.

It’s important, when such scandals occur, that we students take responsibility.

This isn’t about blaming the victim.

“Growing up means watching my heroes turn human in front of me.” ~ Dan “Soupy” Campbell

Responsibility is the opposite of victim-hood. It’s important that we not shy away from assigning half the blame to we the students, and not merely 100% to the teacher. Otherwise, we risk getting too PC and more importantly we risk losing sight of how we can be empowered and put an end to such scandals: by dropping theism, hero-worship, idolatry. So asking why “yogis fall for such men” (or, yes, women) is important.

It is we the victims’ faults, in a sense, in that we are not victims, and we shouldn’t act like victims or view ourselves as victims.

“Don’t follow in the footsteps of those who came before, seek what they sought.” ~ Basho

We can end scandals by dropping the notion that goodness is separate from us.

“What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.” ~ John Green

There was incredibly little self-examination following the John Friend scandal, and yet there was plenty of unending anger and victimization instead of learning from the mistakes of our fallen idols, and the commercial apparatus set up to milk our worship.

Examining theism is key to ending these recurring, and unnecessary tragedies.

I just left the huge, impressive Toronto Yoga Conference (videos coming soon), and can tell you that idolatry in the yoga community is alive and well…and these seeds will continue to bear fruit.

It’s generally harmless, if the teachers (such as Seane, at the conference, or Richard, back home) don’t buy into the worship and kind words and adoration we drown them in.

But when teachers do dip their own insecurity into the honey of ours…trouble.

Whenever I write about scandals, the idolaters (all of us, to some extent) think that I’m defending the teachers. I don’t give a shit about such teachers…I care that we regard ourselves as warriors, in the Shambhala sense, as full human beings on the path and that along our path of devotion and learning we never let go of our critical intelligence. And that when we bow to our teachers, we bow with respect for ourselves as well as them and their learning.

So let us all join in vowing, to ourselves, that we will not seek happiness in worship, or personal attainment. That we will seek our happiness in service, and in our path of waking up. Let us renew our willingness to put ourselves out there, to confront our communities and teachers with respect, but without aggression or servility.

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