“With great power comes great responsibility.”
These are the timeless words of wisdom spoken by Peter Parkers uncle of Spiderman notoriety (Uncle Ben – not to be confused with his rice counterpart – probably didn’t advise Peter to keep it zipped in his trousers) Three years ago my interest in Spirituality became more than just a hobbie. Shortly thereafter I became involved with a well known Teacher who taught people how to Astral Project within the Spiritual community in London.
We fell in love almost immediately, behaving like young mischievous children reliving shared lifetimes together. This spellbinding happiness was short lived however. The relationship quickly digressed into what some refer to as “shadow” due to a lack of self-love and responsibility on both parts. Clearly one of the reasons we where brought together again during this lifetime. Having started out as one of his students, thrust into the limelight of ‘lover’, only to then be ‘hidden’ from view created an imbalance of power very early on in the relationship.
I learned (the hard way) that this Teacher went through women in his group like the different days of the week. It was not what I had envisioned from a being who taught ‘How to to be your Higher Self’. In public radiating warmth to his admirers, behind closed doors emotionally devoid of accountability for his actions and their consequences. Yet it’s not uncommon to hear about the conquests of Male Teachers with students.
One wise friend who works in Mediumship confided “My Teacher who’s a woman advised me not to get too close to Male Spiritual Teachers, inevitably their egos get the better of them. Eventually they fall pray to their lustful desires.” That’s not to say Women aren’t susceptible to taking advantage of male students either.
Facing the Repercussions
More recently whilst studying Qigong in China one of the Teachers dropped a bombshell confessing his feelings towards me which weren’t reciprocated (this caused considerable anxiety and stress) On some level it was flattering, but mostly it felt like an uncomfortable feeling. It’s that awkward moment you might experience over a family Christmas dinner party. A hand felt patting your leg from beneath the table, only to find it’s uncle Baljit who’s as drunk as a skunk!
Only the Teacher isn’t inebriated unlike Uncle Bal (at least not on alcohol) he’s fully cognisant and aware of what he’s saying, sub-consciously he refuses to take responsibility for the repercussions of his actions. The off shoot of being favoured by a Teacher has enormous consequences which I learned the hard way. One of which was the feeling of being labelled as public enemy number one, under the watchful glint of jelousy (particularly by the women of the Qigong group who accounted for 70% of the group)
I don’t blame the students for feeling the way they did, upon reflection I might have felt similar had the roles been reversed. Who doesn’t wish for the affection and merit of their Teacher? But the ramification of my Teachers attachment towards me came to dictate the experiences I had during those six often lonely months in China.
Sacred Trust between Teacher and Student
The role between Teacher and Student is stuff of legend. Sigmund Freud for example was Carl Jungs mentor who went on to carve his own path. As Teachers we hold a shared responsibility to safe guard the vulnerability and trust of our students. When we don’t answer to anyone and act selfishly it’s always at the cost of someone else.
It’s normally a woman who bares the brunt of these indiscretions after which no-one dares to speak out about. As such the word inappropriate doesn’t begin to convey the depth of betrayal these acts invoke and further trigger from past experiences. Especially when you take into account the sheer volume of people who had suffered at the hands of sexual harassment or abuse.
I wish to make clear that in my case nothing untoward happened to me physically, but emotionally and mentally I felt boundaries had been crossed. I was confused and felt unsafe questioning what the role of a Teacher represented. With the recent outpouring of misconduct within the Catholic Church, and for the first time accusations levelled against Buddhist Lamas one wonders what length people will go to to defend their “right” to sleep with their students.
Teachers aren’t the demi-gods we place upon unattainable pedestals. It doesn’t matter which lineage your Teacher hails from, spend a few weeks in their company, splintered cracks and contradictions will begin to surface everywhere at once. By our design we are flawed (part of the charm of being human in this lifetime) Spiritual Teachers are every day people with every day problems but they’re also guardians, stewards of Conscious Awareness.
But it’s not only the Teachers who sometimes delude themselves. Often students will project onto a Teacher their expectations and desires only to feel let down when they fall short. From my own experience there are some men who find young, attractive, intelligent women destabilising (even threatening) I found this to be the case whilst working as a Graphic Designer for several high profile companies. Unsurprisingly the objectification of women doesn’t seem to be any different within the Spiritual field.
I strongly feel many have chosen to incarnate as women at this ‘turning point’ in human history to challenge societal perceptions of the role of women which have largely been defined by man. Regardless of whether you’re reading this as a woman or a man, the Universe extends an invitation to you to be a seed of change. The question is whether you’re prepared to choose consciously and challenge the status quo?
Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself – Chinese Proverb.
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