Deceiving is a very timely RDP today. I have to blog this out before I explode from a whole weekend of contemplation and trying to understand what is going on. 2020 is already confusing as it is. Yet, another bombshell dropped my way on Friday, as I read the investigations report into the sexual misconduct of the founder of the yoga I used to practice. You can read about the findings here – very graphic testimonies, but really important to know how perverse and unethical this very (previously) respected person was.
It came as a huge shock to me, because this is a very widely practiced form of yoga, and I have probably blogged about how useful and helpful it was for me finding my “centre” or place of neutrality. And how powerful it was for me to be able to stay present in the now moment.
BUT. I really don’t know now. So many questions filling me up, as I googled for answers which led to a further flood of questions.
It is creepy. Just a week ago, my friend and I were just talking about how women should protect one another – like how she saw a gym instructor being too touchy, and another instructor quietly told the trainee that “it is not okay that he is touching you like that”. As we would confront anyone who is secretly taking pictures and it is not okay. I did not realise this is going to hit so close to home. The above example is just an instructor, who could well be any person on the street.
It is of different tangent and magnitude when it is the founder of a spiritual organization widespread around the world. He died sixteen years ago, and committed those deeds since more than fifty years ago. It might seem like “hey, it’s so long ago” or “it does not affect you first hand”, but there are so many things in this story that angers me big time. I shall just list my whole tirade of questions here, in random order of my anger points, and see how many I can work through today.
- Two generations of his inner circle going through years of sexual abuse. How is it that no one knows? Or rather, how is it that it was never addressed?
- If he is the founder who has brought this form of yoga practice to the west, and hence allowing the “secret teachings of the east” to reach all these people (me included) who would otherwise not have access to this sacred ancient practice, how do we trust which parts of his teachings are true and which are not?
- I guess everyone is still in a state of confusion, but isn’t there a disconnect to still embrace the teachings (brought to you through this cult figurehead) and still pick out elements of the practice (“chant xxxx” or ” chant yyyy”)? How sure are these people that they are learning from the sacred tradition? How would you know that what you are learning has not already been culturally (mis)appropriated?
- You cannot just detach the teacher from the teachings in this context, because all these abuse were pretty much from the early days. How would you know that he did not teach whatever he is teaching with the ends in mind (maybe to purposefully develop a cult following to set the stage for his abuse of power, money, sex etc)?
Maybe I think too much. But until the day I figure out which aspects of these teachings are for real from its original traditional lineage, how do I just chant the mantras that make me feel better? How would we know what is true to what we are chanting?
In a way, I am pretty glad that organization is stepping up address this whole issue, to acknowledge the abuse that had taken place, to bring the abused at least a step closer in the long journey of healing and towards closure. Although my question still remains, “how could they not have known earlier”, I suppose in a way the #MeToo movement has wrangled these stories to the surface.
Thus, most of my questions above are inclined towards the people who seem to have conveniently brushed aside the more fundamental questions, and picked out the elements that serves them and keeps them in their comfort zone, rather than deal with the more difficult questions. Then again, maybe they are way more enlightened than me, and are able to suss out the authenticity of the teachings they were taught and the teachings they are teaching.
Shrugs. I really don’t know. Guess we still have 138days of this crazy year of 2020. Not sure what else will unravel.
Someone wrote (vis-a-vis some totally unrelated topic of similar weirdness), ” No please 2020 is full come back later “. Somewhere in my heart, I feel that there is still room for some positivity to enter. It can’t be all this dark this year.