Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gurus: an idea past its expiration date

Here ye, here ye! The Age of Aquarius is NOT about gurus. It is not about heroes we exalt above all others, it is not even about the leaders we agree upon, such as prime ministers and presidents. The Age of Aquarius is about us, the collective, the power of the individual to do good deeds within reason, and with those who are closest. If most individuals were conscious of their own power, of how much impact they have on others, well, whoa ... that would be an Age of Aquarius environment.

Once we needed heroes and kings. Don't ask me why. I think it's instinctual, pack animal behavior. But as was obvious during the Arab spring (one example), the energy of evolution at this historical moment is not about following the guidance of a selected leader. We're more connected than ever before in history. We think differently than people did even 100 years ago - very differently. We're changing fast, we are!

Because we are just beginning to work collectively, we're sometimes clumsy. For instance, many have criticized the Occupy movement because it wasn't focused. It's that very aspect of the movement that thrills me. Giving over personal energy to a leader makes groups easier to manage and organize. Also, it's true that in some situations and environments the Age of Pisces model works well, is necessary in fact. But in many situations, a designated leader means the faceless followers lose their sense of responsibility and investment in whatever it is they're doing together. Or the leader becomes so transfixed by the glamor inherent in leadership that he or she makes terrible mistakes.

I'm thinking about this today because of the dust flying around John Friend, the founder of Anusara yoga. That school of yoga is extraordinary philosophically and elegant in conception, full of grace. But what came through him, what he created, went to his head or ego, or something happened because it has come to light in the past week or so that he's morally bankrupt, sleeping with students, employees, doing sex magic, oh my! Several of his top teachers left the "brand" (as they call it). Both of the yoga studios I'm associated with have withdrawn their affiliation to him, though they will continue to use the philosophy of Anusara in their classes. Talk about a big kerfuffle! Good lord.

I could write a very long post about why I object to conjuring and sorcery of every kind, including the ritual use of sex to manifest a particular outcome (which is what John Friend was often doing with his employees and students) - but not today. Maybe tomorrow.

The collective thinking and action that is part of the Age of Aquarius is exciting, brand new and potent! Who knew that, for instance, the Komen Foundation would turn around on a policy change as quickly as they did following their decision to throw Planned Parenthood under the bus? It was US, the faceless age-of-aquarius-zillions, who individually expressed our distaste for the decision. We did not stay quiet, waiting for a leader to speak for us. Because of Facebook and Twitter we were able to put our voices and opinions together. Komen noticed, and acted quickly. Wow!

All together we were able to influence Congress as it considered internet piracy legislation as well. And how about the fuss over Ellen as representative for Penney's? The groundswell of support for her was truly heartwarming Who knows what we will spontaneously voice next? Anything could happen. I'm telling you, it's the Age of Aquarius, a time when each of us must stand tall and do what we think is right, give voice to our thoughts, share those thoughts via the network. We must remember that everything we do has an impact. We are powerful!

I am loving this new age.



ellen abbott said...

that last picture is so cool! And so is everything else you said.

Kerry said...

I guess heroes and kings are fallible, like the rest of humanity. I wish that they weren't. I don't know too much about John Friend, but it does seem like yoga in general is taking it on the chin these days. Too bad, because there are so many benefits to yoga, and when done right, so little injury.
SJK was a real disappointment. I do hope they can recover, but it will be without my support.

Linda said...

Well said Reya and like Ellen, I loved the last picture. A beautiful exclamation mark, that was. The voice of the people is so important. It is good to have influence in this age of greedy dollar coveting. I will continue my yoga stretches. They keep my blood circulating more optimally. Thank you for sharing your views.

Steve Reed said...

I couldn't agree more about Occupy. I think it's a new breath of revolutionary energy, expressing discontent from vast numbers of people. What it will turn into, if anything, I'm not sure...but it's significant no matter what.

As for gurus, this problem pops up in almost any organization. For example, I know of several Zen Buddhist leaders have been busted for sleeping with students, substance abuse and other not-very-Zen pursuits. When you're a leader I think your own power goes to your head, and you start to believe your own internal voices that are expressing impulses contrary to the architecture of your beliefs. You lose the line between your practice and your baser urges. I'm not familiar with this yoga "kerfuffle" but I'll have to read about it!

Jo said...

This essay should be published. Do you submit to the NYTimes? You should!