Orange clothes, bald-headed, deep voice, talking slowly. I met a man a few days ago who looks exactly the way probably most of us would depict a guru. It says that gurus as such do not exist: They become gurus only if people make them into gurus.
Meeting him, I experienced how quickly this can happen. And that one can get on a trip with certain spiritual practices! I learnt through this what would be healthy for me to do more: to acknowledge my boundaries. But step by step:
I made him into a guru without wanting
My well appreciated teacher of my 4-year-yoga-teacher training has invited a Swami, who has inspired her a lot in her path. He would hold an open-eye energy-transmission-session with us. She said she knows that this is actually too early for students in their first year, as we haven’t been talking about energies yet. But she doesn’t want to deprive us from this unique opportunity.
She would introduce students to energies usually in several days. But now she had to break it down to an hour. As far as I understood, energy is said to be a means to experience inner freedom. One of many, just as yoga-poses, breath-work or meditation are. Westerners, with their emphasis on individuality – experiencing themselves usually as separate from everything else in the world – would often not be ready to access the energy-pathway.
Nobody would need to be scared though, my teacher said: the Swami would note whether one was open to receive energy or not. He would not force it. I was sceptic: I haven’t built trust in the Swami in the two talks we had beforehand. I didn’t feel pure love or see the light brighter in his presence (as some colleagues did).
I didn’t want to miss the experience though. Yes, I wanted to know whether I was ready for receiving energy, in case such a thing exists. And with this, I have just unconsciously – without wanting – started to project superpowers into him, the guru.
Building up pressure. A lot
We were told that while we would meditate, the Swami would look into each one’s eyes, and maybe transmit energy to each student. The tension in the room was tangible. I guess everybody has had built up expectations by now. Expectations towards the guru, but at least in my case, very much towards myself, too.
Though we were suggested not to compare ourselves with our neighbours (will he look at them longer than at me?) or analyse too much, this is exactly what I did: „I’m so tense and in my mind all the time. I’m surely uniquely not predisposed to receive energy. And in fact, I’m not open but really closed to this. I´m exactly one of these westerners, completely disconnected of her surroundings.”
My thoughts became more and more self-destructive – a vicious cycle – and where I would usually pull myself out of the situation in order to gain objectivity, I felt trapped in that room where I didn’t even dare to close my eyes. I criticized myself even for my anxiety – as I knew this was the contrary of letting go. And came to believe that I was at such a low level of my personal development. Just below zero… I felt so nuts. And felt like this was my own deepest truth, now unfolding.
People easily get on a trip with energy-transmissions
By the time the Swami looked at me, I was silently crying for my incapacity to distance myself from that well-known voice leading this constant war against me. I could hardly bear his glance, forced my eyes to stay open though. I blinked. The painting behind the Swami, he himself, and eventually the whole room, started to flutter from left to right and back. Like a flag in the wind!
A neuroscientist might interpret it as a symptom of my nervousness. But what do I know about that? I got so confused of what was going on. When the session ended, I burst into tears. I went to the bathroom, looked in the mirror and thought “Yes, I really have some work to do. My future will take place in an ashram, I will spend a few months or even years in there in order to heal.“
Outside, the Swami passed by me and I asked: “Could you explain me what has just happened please?” He said: “Your life has just completely changed.” This single sentence increased my feeling of needing to be fixed even more and neither the solace nor the conversations with my colleagues calmed me down.
Apart from the strangely fluttering room and my anxiety, I felt exceptionally unaligned due to another thought: I’ve quit my job for values emphasized by Vedanta- or Yoga-philosophy respectively and started to introduce Vedanta-rituals into my daily life. And Vedanta emphasises knowledge, not energy. So was I on the wrong path? Yes, I consider I experienced a little existential crisis.
I called my Vedanta-teacher Sharada. She consoled me, telling that still everything was just in complete order with me. That I was not the only one looking for clarity. And that Vedanta doesn’t work with energy-transmissions. Because: People can get on a trip with it. Many were looking for these special experiences, because they feel so numb in general. In the vision of Vedanta, all experiences are welcomed. But they’re not searched for. No specific experience leads people quicker to the knowledge that they’re whole and complete. No experience is more valuable than the other – they’re all equal.
I learnt about my boundaries and what it means to protect myself. How liberating it is to speak my truth. I came out of the blame-game
The next morning, I was still a bit shaky. I feared what others would think of me. Instead of putting on a mask, I decided though to not pretend anything that I’m not this time: I said that I feel angry but try to be objective and that I was scared like sh** during the meditation. That I felt trapped in that room. That I cried out of fear, the pressure I put on myself in order to get this special experience, this quick fix. And not because I was touched… Non-pretence, not hiding my feelings, softened me down so much. And I realized:
- It’s so liberating to speak from the heart and to not pretend. Stepping up for myself… My colleagues opened up then too, which showed that I was not the only one who has felt her boundaries. And my teacher was able to be there for those of us who soak up things like sponges and whose permeability makes them feel quite unstable at times.
- I’m the only one who really knows what is going on inside me. So this is what accepting and protecting myself would mean: respecting my boundaries when things are getting too strange for me – independent from my expectations towards myself.
- There’s no need be angry with my teacher. It’s hard to hold a class of 25 students. I appreciate her courage for taking the risk to introduce the Swami to us. I don’t need to judge the Swami neither. Energy is the path he has chosen, and nobody forces me to take it on. I just take the (my) jewels.
So the open-eye session has literally opened my eyes… And thank god, all this thanks to a guru. 😉