Sunday, July 27, 2008
How do you get your kicks?
I spent the afternoon yesterday with an old friend, one of the few relationships still intact from my life as a Wiccan priestess. My god, that was another life!
Like me, she made the decision on her own to leave the community because the practices didn't mesh with her values. Even though it was her decision, it's still painful for her, leaving it all behind. I remember vividly the sense of loss and the deep grief I felt when I let go. It took years for my heart to heal itself from that split. Whew. All spiritual communities are complicated societies. Leaving a spiritual community can be tremendously difficult, even when it's the healthiest choice.
Every time I hear what's going on in my old community, a renewed sense of relief and gratitude that I'm no longer involved washes over me. One of the revered teachers in that tradition, someone I was very close to once upon a time, has taken to kicking her students when they fall asleep during meditation.
Why are people attracted to abusive situations? Can anyone explain this to me? Of course there are many spiritual teachers who abuse their students, always have been. But ... how can that be good for anyone, teacher or student? I don't get it.
It's not just in spiritual communities that people welcome abuse, of course. I can think of several restaurants in San Francisco where the waiters are famous for being rude to the customers. I never understood the attraction, but there are lots of people who loved to go eat at those places. Maybe it's entertaining - I'm not sure.
Though bewildered about why it's a good thing to be kicked while meditating, or insulted while eating dinner, I'm very clear about why I left that particular tradition. Many thanks as always to the divine wisdom that awakened me (without any kicking) and helped me get all the way out of it. Oh yeah!