What’s the value in saying something about something when you know that you’ll never ever come close to explaining the fullness of what you are speaking about? That’s a run on sentence AND it’s the reason I quit saying something. Recently some folks posted something related to me on their FB page. It was flattering of them to do so. I read what they posted and reflected on what they posted for a number of days now. The gentleman had posted something I wrote back in 2010 I believe. Back when I was more actively “teaching” and sharing. As I read it I was like “who the hell wrote this?” I didn’t realize it was a quote from me at first…not at all. To live my life, to be grounded, to join my friends and children in a shared world view, I consciously took another path. Am I still that same person that wrote those things, with access and connection with all those insights? Yep. What do I do with it now? It’s not that it’s buried, just inside. It’s my inside view now only and I don’t really share it any longer and here’s why, in part, of why…it actually has everything to do with a fellow named Bentinho Massaro, or a lady named Teal Swan or Jeannie Zandi…or many of the other “teachers” whom I came to hear about, email with or watched as people enjoined them back when I was actively teaching. I began teaching, after my awakening in 2008, close to the same time that many neo western teachers were kicking off. I began working with people as a healer and counselor in 1993 but it wasn’t until my near death experience in 2008 that I began something that looked quite different. Shortly though after I began offering retreats, I retreated from teaching. I mostly quit writing as well. I deleted my old website.
Generalizations, sadly, are sometimes the only way we can tell a story. We have to start somewhere. And my generalization is that I quit teaching because of the seekers. The power dynamic that happens when I teach or when someone else offers a sort of unstructured teaching, began to stupefy, frustrate and scare me. What I observed, early on is that the majority of teachers were nearly sociopathic in their inability to truly feel empathy or true caring. Guilt and remorse takes a backseat to the hope to lead. To be out front felt like their goal, though not even known to themselves. They said things that had truth to it, but these truths were also sullied because the person saying them wasn’t living them, hadn’t tested them…it was information, yet delivered like it was love, believed by unquestioning faithful followers. When the person telling you how you need to live your life doesn’t actually genuinely care about you, and you trust them, then two people are lost, not just one. I saw so many things about these teachers and I was also plugged into the communities of folks that loved and began to revere these teachers. I felt like I needed to know how to not become like one of those teachers, because I could feel early on how the manner in which potential students were approaching me in the same fashion…was not going to go well for anyone.
I could blame the teachers for not knowing better I suppose. But there isn’t anyone to blame. I didn’t quit because of the teachers though. It was the students. The devotees. The people that filled the rooms without questioning. What I ran into, even in my own smaller ways of teaching was this truth…people want to give you their power. Desperately.
If you are tired of reading and want to know my point…that’s it. People want to give you their power and I wanted them to keep it. But the paradox was the more I tried to convince them of their own value and to NOT give up their free will to another, the more they’d feel that I was someone that they wanted to throw it onto.
I’ll say it again…people want to find someone to whom they can give control over to. And yes, that’s a generalization. Not everyone does. I sure as hell don’t. But I can say that there is something about the mindset of a spiritual seeker that is deeply troubling to me in the sense that they seem particularly desperate to partake in this giving away. And I get it….the longing to feel like you belong, the search for home, absolution, feeling that someone else can carry the burden for you. But honestly no one alive in a human body can fulfill all those tasks.
I know that many scandals and cults have arisen and it’s natural to want to lay blame at the feet of the leader. But think about this…are we really saying that just one person holds all that together? They don’t. I have stood or sat in a room and felt it. Waves of love and adoration and what I could almost call “worship” flooding in my direction. And honestly, over time, it horrified me. When I watch people go up to certain gurus after waiting in line for hours just for a hug, it horrifies me. A person’s willingness to believe that someone is greater than them, more advanced than them, more enlightened, more or just…more…it scares me. Because what it says about the people is that it could really be anyone up there in front of that room. It says that the crowd needs a figurehead. It says that there are people who need the crowd so that they can be the crowds figurehead.
I won’t lie. Being a figurehead, for anyone, is quite a lovely experience. Having people hang on your every word, quote you, love you…is temporarily transportive. It removes you from recognized paths. It makes you feel that you are special, different, amazing, and many other lofty superlatives. I am fortunate though in that I seem to love suffering…my own. The more I taught and extroverted my teaching and insights, the less I could feel the reality of living in a body. Having devotees and students and people following my words and emailing me from around the world for support…could be a place where I could live inside of. What were my troubles worth when I was helping so many and revered? When people referred to me as God Like…and yes, the certainly did, what did that do to me after I climbed down out of the clouds? It made me feel sick. Because more than anything what I wanted was for people to see how we are all part of a greater whole. How together, supporting one another, we are God Like. True Christianity can happen when there is true community, where there are no higher ups or those in power…but students wanted me to be in power. What keeps me up at night is how long will it take us, as a species to have sovereignty over ourselves, to have the agency to not have to want to be better than another or less than another? All suffering stems from that struggle. So when I read this article https://medium.com/@bescofield/tech-bro-guru-inside-the-sedona-cult-of-bentinho-massaro-a56314f830ef
…I understand it from the perspective that the author didn’t intend. I am looking at the photos of all those people holding hands and wondering how we will ever be free of the desire to not see clearly. It’s a desire to not look, to not know, in exchange for the experience of having no responsibility for our actions.
So when I hear about just how deeply lost Bentinho Massaro has become, along with others, I am saddened and not surprised. I am just glad that I regrounded my life. Bentinho has his own path to walk, his own things to recover from. Not being a teacher isn’t likely to be one of them though. Getting that high, is a hard thing to desire to return from. But we have to also consider that alone in a room he is no one different. Alone in a field he has only himself to contend with. Alone with his thoughts, he must find out someday how to live with them when no one is listening any longer. It’s the crowd that makes his life what it is. They are in a dance for two….he and them. I am just glad that it’s a dance I am no longer dancing.
I still do work with people sure. That’s true. But what is it like now? One or two sessions a year…maybe? And I love it that way. Usually it’s someone who is physically dying and just wants to know someone cares, that someone is listening. No big speeches, no big anythings. Just two people talking about life at the end of this crazy life.