When you involve yourself in the Health and Wellness field, there is a certain expectation from others. They expect and WANT, almost NEED, you to be a shining example of what you are teaching. They hang on your every word and willingly follow your lead. Such Guru-worship' is fraught with peril. I have yet to meet the perfect man or woman. They don't exist. Which means Guru-worship almost always ends in disappointment and disillusion.
Having spent years in and around spiritual retreats and yoga camps, I find both attendees and leaders are able to stay, pretty much, 'on the path' while they REMAIN within this supportive environment. Once outside, it is only a matter of time until their 'light' (which shone so brightly), starts to go out. I have been shocked at the likes of David Wolfe who, in his early years, was inspirational but now seems to have lost his way, hustling astonishingly-priced supplements to the spellbound, while spouting incomprehensible 'gibberish'. (Sorry, David. That's what it looks like.) TTAC (The Truth About Cancer) which started out wonderfully, is also heading this way. Overwhelming my inbox with insincere emails, from people I have never met, tripping over themselves to shift product. It's disappointing.
There are very few people who truly 'get it', spiritually, and can stay the course. In fact, in all my years, there were only two people I met whose 'light' really did shine. These are the people who don't have to say anything. Don't have to convince you they are saintly. You are just drawn to them. Having said that, those whose light has diminished CAN be of service to others because, over the years, they acquire vital knowledge.
This is me.
Yes, I have had mystical, transcendent, trans-formative moments. In and out of Yoga retreats and Christian revivals and during electrifying spiritual practices. Such experiences open your mind to mental, spiritual, emotional, physical and 'energetic' factors (the 5 Layers of Healing) and help you realize it takes more than a stick of celery and a coffee enema to bring about healing.
I have progressed a long way on my own journey but I am NOT a saintly 'guru' living a life of peace and purity. I chose to abandon a purely spiritual life and live in the everyday world and help in a quiet, pragmatic way, using whatever tools are appropriate for each individual. Empathy, experience and insight guide me. I do little, at times, which comes from my natural trait toward 'being' and not 'doing'. Springing into action when I run a retreat or take a class.
For years I have kept quiet and withdrawn from public life, helping friends and those who hear about me, through word of mouth. As a classic introvert, I like it that way. Slim 'Vata' types, like me, don't tend to be great advertisements for fasting or raw food diets. Like many raw vegans, we can look gaunt and depleted, making you question whether such diets are appropriate in the long term, for this type. Physically stronger 'Pitta' and 'Kapha' types make much better models.
There is a pressing need in society for people with knowledge and experience to do what they can to help others which is why I recently decided to expand my reach onto the internet, mainly through Facebook. It is nice to get in virtual touch with caring people and I have been impressed by the enthusiasm and awareness I see from others. I do have concerns about the pushing of too-idealistic beliefs. This is a form of violence (to self and others) which can harden others stance. You then lose someone who might have been helped. I went through an idealistic phase (raw veganism) myself and it made me rigid and unbending and paranoid about everything I put in my mouth.
I once spent time in a Catholic retreat for novice priests, who had suffered psychological breakdowns in their attempts to be 'just like Jesus'. The pressure became too much. They weren't and never could be Jesus. They needed to become better versions of themselves.
There is an interesting booklet given out to British Royal Navy officers. It's called 'The Officers Guide to Etiquette'. It says Officers aren't allowed to eat Baked Beans or French Fries (chips). They are considered too 'lower-deckish'. It was humorous, then, for observers to note, when going ashore in one UK Port, officers standing in line in a well-known Fish & Chips shop... for baked beans and chips!
I hope you get the point.
I am not a 'Guru'. Please do not judge me as one.
"There was SO much I didn't know until I talked to Paul. His calm manner, knowledge and most of all, commitment to helping me, just blew me away."
"I am so pleased my husband and I opted for the Homestay Retreat. We loved the homely feel and sense of security. Paul and Lek were always on hand."