By J. Powdermaker
Recently a beloved, former teacher of mine did a major reversal; not quite a complete 180° but close, this teacher felt called; in her words, to another spiritual path which on its face should be fine especially in the New Age community; however this particular ‘new path’ is an old path, the path of traditional dogma, the path of excluding women from all mention and inclusion in the Divine, the path of throwing in with the bloody company of Patriarchal religion.
This teacher’s conversion has caused quite a stir in the Spiritual community as one might expect. The fact that this teacher has been a world famous leader in the community for decades makes the reversal all the more grating. The fact that this teacher is a woman who has been teaching women to reclaim their usurped power, to find an equal place in the Divine as our male counterparts, that she has been teaching women to heal what has been broken by a society erected on the blood, sweat & tears of subjugated women makes this reversal all the more galling. The fact that she’s walking back years of; supposedly, Divinely channeled teachings while continuing to make money off of the many, many books, courses & certifications is quite telling.
Observing the upset, the angst, the anger & betrayal set loose by this teacher’s about-face I can’t help but notice the loudest voices are worried most about their money and their ability to continue to make money off of this teacher’s reputation and certifications. The ones doing the most damage control; including her world famous publisher, are worried about their money, their ability to continue to sell this teacher’s books and courses.
It reveals the rotten center the New Age Spiritual movement shares with the bad old boys of traditional religion; money. Religion has always had at its core money & Patriarchy dressed up in holy robes. The Spiritual movement professes to be an evolution in human consciousness yet it is as money centered as any of the gilded halls of Rome. We feel outrage when ‘one of our own’ goes back to the other side… revealing our own hypocrisy.
It seems that we’re actually not as different from bad old religion as we thought. We want to lay claim on a person’s spiritual path in self-congratulatory confidence and if one of our own; one who is so notable and so successful, can jump the track and take up with traditional religion so easily it calls into question our position of knowing that we know the right way and we hate that. It throws into the spotlight our own fixation on money and the worldly pleasures (as the Christians would say). It forces us to examine our own spiritual laziness. If our practice is built on the conviction of a teacher or guru or sainted Savior instead of the more frightening, arduous work of self-reflection then our practice is hollow at best.
What many of her followers are feeling; and spewing across the internet, however is not righteous anger at this teacher for her (apparent) betrayal; it is the very real and alarming knowledge that there are no leaders, no teachers, no gurus, no saints, no saviors coming to save us. It is the fear that no one is really trustworthy in this mad house of a world. That there is no absolute moral center. There is no right path. There is no religion or movement or community insulated from the twin influences of greed and ego. There is no white bearded man sitting on a cloud dealing a stacked deck for the amusement of the angels.
There is only us, only our paltry efforts to quantify the Infinite and our bloody rage at anyone who dares shed light on our insecurities.
I cannot, will not follow my beloved former teacher down this retrograde path AND I will not allow her personal choices to validate or invalidate my practice. The Buddha instructs us to NOT take his word for it on his teachings but to test them, in the real world and if the teachings do not hold up, if the teachings do not prove themselves to be true then abandon them and seek answers elsewhere.
The Buddha demonstrates the finale step of mastery with this admonition; there is no external authority, there is no external morality, there is no ‘there’ out there, the only source; Source, of truth, of morality and authority comes from within.
I am deeply saddened by my teacher’s reversal. I’m feeling the sting of betrayal as one might when a trusted friend decides not to be the person she claimed to be for decades but if I’m really being honest here my sadness revels a deeper truth about my own spiritual laziness, my own unhealed abandonment issues, my need to dig deeper, go farther and become unshakable in my own center, this is perhaps the last lesson I will take from my beloved former teacher, the hardest lesson of all; betrayal is the gift that sets us free.
About the author:
Jennifer Powdermaker is the founder and CEO of Indigo Vision Coaching ™; she is a professional speaker, coach, writer, Angel Channel and intuitive healer. She has been published in print and online in notable magazines and authored three books. Jennifer has coached and spoken on stage in front of thousands of people in the U.S., Canada and Europe; personally she has overcome the inheritance of addiction, healed her own childhood obesity, channeled healing(s) to walk again after a car accident left her severely disabled and helped many others on the path of recovery. She utilizes an integrative healing approach, focusing on the personal needs of each client to facilitate real world results. Jennifer is available for individual & group coaching sessions, public speaking and industry events as her schedule permits.