The Plight that is Teaching

I finally did finish that yoga book.  Finally right!?  Upon completion, I realized that I didn’t learn who my true self was because I already knew who I was.  Needless to say, I definitely came up with a few conclusions of my own.  However, instead of boring you to death with my epiphanies or “A HA” moments, I’d rather talk about the following quote which hit me like a ton of bricks.  Well, at least that’s what it felt like.

“As soon as we begin idealizing our teachers, craving their powers, wishing to participate in the glow of their sidhus**, it wont be too many months or years until we begin to devalue them.  If we make them into gods, we will eventually see them as devils.”  (©Stephen Cope: pg. 294)

The fact of the matter is that this underlying truth resides within the yoga world and in the real one.  Think about it, how many of us instantly devalue someone on top because of a simple and small mistake? It’s mostly people in power and, to most of us, these authority figures are our teachers.  Let me clarify what I mean when I say “teacher”.  Our teachers aren’t just the ones found in a classroom. Oh heavens no. In fact, they reside in the most obvious places like our very homes or just down the street.  You see, learning doesn’t JUST happen in a school, but with those who share in the experiences we have while living.  Therefore, teachers could be anyone who we learnt something from.  Kind of a “duh” definition isn’t it.

The problem arises when we start to idolize them, putting them on a pedestal because of their apparent “perfection”.  I’m sure that everyone’s heard the saying “no one’s perfect”, and yet we tend to think that way regardless of how many times that expression is drilled into our heads. It’s the scariest thing when you suddenly realize that, hey, everyone has his or her own flaws.  You want to know what I think?  I know you do.  I honestly believe that we want to emulate that “perfect teacher” in our lives because we strive to be that picture of perfection.  The sad part is that when that picture crumbles, when that teacher fails us, we completely rip them away from us.  That is when they get the worst press, their lives dragged through the mud because of a terrible blunder on their part.  It’s like they say, those who are at the top usually fall harder.

The trick here is to not equate them to gods, to not put them on a pedestal.  They will err, they will trip and fall, but the important thing is that we learnt something important from them.  The lesson needs to stand on its own, personified and separated from the teacher in order to learn.  If we start associating one with the other and as a result idealize that teacher, there presents that risk of turning our once admired teachers into little devils.

**In yoga terminology, sidhu powers are achieved once the mind is focused on elevating oneself on the chakra ladder so to speak.  

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2 thoughts on “The Plight that is Teaching”

  1. Come to think of it, this post is loaded with truth.

    Now i think back about my university days, and yes i am guilty of idolizing my teachers, and then demonizing them. Because i forgot to an extent that they are humans too, they aren’t perfect.

    Really insightful post!.

    1. Thank you! I had the same reaction as you when I first read this quote/chapter. It was based on one of Stephen Cope’s Sidhu, Amrit, which taught people who went on this yoga based spiritual retreat. After being idolized by many retreaters, it was later found out that he was have affairs with a lot of women (I believe, don’t quote me on this). You can imagine the dismay that everyone felt when they heard the news as he was a pretty big deal up until that point. So when Stephen saw that people were in the first stages of viewing the new Sidhu in that way (as “perfection” incarnated), he came to this rather ingenious realization.

      Crazy isn’t it that we don’t even realize that we are indeed doing this.

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