A very special and kind lady who has been on her spiritual path for a long time wrote the following story. We are grateful that she had the courage to write her story and to allow her insight and wisdom to help each one of us to better understand ourselves.
Many times previously we have spoken about how important discernment is in all areas of our lives. Yet often when we are confronted by a spiritual teacher who advertises that they are going to help us to change our lives in a positive way we give our power away by assuming that they know better than we do. Often, that spiritual teacher's information is based on polarity or duality issues such as Light and Dark or good and bad, right and wrong. How many people have packed up and moved their homes because a spiritual teacher or 'guru' has told them to protect themselves from something? How many people are living in fear because their teacher told them to be afraid, that there was something "out there" to be afraid of?
We need to constantly use discernment. If an idea, action, belief, or philosophy doesn't feel right to you, it is okay to let it go and still respect the teacher for who they are. Just know that now is the time for you to become the teacher. We are all teachers. We are all students. And we move back and forth between these roles. If your teacher holds on to you it is because they don't know who they are any longer without you. Just know that you hold all the secrets and wisdom within yourself.
Be in your power and allow yourself to move into your own creatorship.
Shared with us by J. R., from Canada
Hearing About the Event
This is how the event with the Teacher was presented in advertisements:
"An enigmatic eight-day event in Europe with this teacher, one of the most powerful, prolific and legendary teachers of our time. A rare and unique opportunity. Highly unstructured and filled with unimaginable surprises. There's no regimented schedule, no script to follow and the events of the day and night unfold in the most intriguing and peculiar ways. It's as if nothing and everything is happening all at once. The teacher believes that control is rather demonic and free-flow is a manifestation of love and spontaneity. Therefore this event will appeal to those who are open to challenges and ready to take their perception to the next level. Anyone who has spent time with this teacher will tell you that he is more than just ahead of his time. It's as if he comes from another dimension altogether.
In the 80s and 90s, he was known as the teachers' teacher. Now he is so far beyond what could be considered alternative, there is no category for him. He exudes a peculiar brand of mystery that is downright otherworldly. His sensitivity, softness, immense perception and blistering speed comes from a place that cannot be explained. In his presence, you will learn what unconditional love is all about, and it's effortless. Suddenly it is right there inside of you, inside of your heart. And it seeks nothing for itself. It is the love of God. It can be quite surreal at times, and once you enter this peculiar and unique circle of travelers, of which you become an instant member, it feels like no other place on the planet. Don't expect a planned itinerary, or a 9-step program to enlightenment. Sometimes we stay up all night and sleep during the day. Sometimes we don't sleep at all. It's hard to say exactly what goes on, but just when you least expect it something beyond your comprehension tiptoes softly into your heart, and bursts open like a sunburst, unfolding over a period of months and it changes your life. Sometimes you wonder what the hell just happened. Then, subtly, ever so gradually, you come to a new understanding that is completely internal and difficult to express. Gradually, this new perception grows brighter and brighter, and just when you think you've completely figured it out, it burns brighter still, delivering new levels of transdimensional wisdom that you can't even begin to comprehend. Frequently, people say an event with this teacher begins weeks before you attend, and the learning goes on for weeks, months, even years afterwards. The lessons are happening over breakfast, in front of the fireplace, while you're taking a walk or a swim, or suddenly you're brushing your teeth and ding! -- you've got it on a completely inexplicable level. The lessons you learn are beyond description and incredibly potent. Once you've attended an event with this teacher and company, you're never quite the same again. Because just when you least expect it, this teacher pushes love straight into the center of your heart, and once you accept this particular form of love, there's no turning back. The location is in a beautiful part of the country in an elegant castle. Lovely walking paths, horseback riding, swimming pools and more. There is a full time chef preparing gourmet meals and all the wine and drinks you would like. Mystery guests also show up."
Choosing to Attend the Event
Sounded pretty good to me! I was stirred to go. I had read his books (along with many others) and had even tried to go to a previous event with this same teacher several years ago. I was even teased -- this recent event was to be offered in a city only two hours away --perfect I thought -- then it was canceled -- great disappointment! I had read about this event much earlier. Where is this location? I didn't even consider it because it was too expensive and too far away. But something stirred inside me when I read about it.
So with the event close by canceled, I mentioned this new location to my husband in the unlikely event of a positive answer and was very surprised when he said "yes" right away. The stirring in me was thrilled. How could it all go so wrong? Was it lesson that needed to be learned? What part of me jumped for joy and why?
I had felt I was on a spiritual path for many years. I practiced the way of Subud for twenty-six years. This pathway was all about surrender and your own personal evolution from within. I was empowered and I have always been thankful for it. Six years ago I felt the need to move on and with some anguish I did just that. Since then there have been many changes and much learning.
I don't believe in accidents and I believe our lives are divinely guided. In two dreams before we left for this event I fell off a cliff into a beautiful Hawaiian bay of clear water. A leap of faith and trust that my life is divinely guided was an interpretation that felt right with me.
So the event became a reality. As with other leaps of faith I have taken I became nervous and frightened and asked the Universe for confirmation. My hawk showed up as usual. I was especially frightened when the day came for our group to be picked up and taken to the event destination, but I signed up so I didn't even consider not going especially with the amount of money we had paid.
This was only the second time my husband had accompanied me to a spiritual workshop. The first one was quite enjoyable. He did his own thing most of the time and joined in when he wanted to. We had a lot of fun even though some of it was quite "out there" for him. He took it in his stride as he usually did.
Friday We Arrive
After a two and a half hour ride we arrived on our destination. Going through large gates which locked behind us there were two buildings, one like a small castle. The main building housed the meeting room, which was a large living room with a large fireplace, several couches, and candles burning much of the time. The advertising was rather exaggerated. There was no gourmet chef (but good food), no horseback riding to be seen and it certainly didn't feel at all like it had been presented, but the scenery was beautiful.
When all finally arrive (sixteen total -- one from the previous week returned again as she loved it so much), we are greeted by the teacher along with seven helpers and three cooks. The room is filled with cigarette smoke and several bottles of wine are on the table along with water and plastic glasses. All but one of the helpers, including the teacher, are heavy smokers. It's rather uncomfortable for us, but the room was very informal and we relaxed into a soft chair. The evening is spent with the teacher criticizing anything you would consider traditional using very vulgar language and presenting it in a vulgar way continuously. He talks, we listen.
Throughout the time we are there the teacher attacks most modalities -- Reiki, hands on healing of any sort, religions and some well known teachers, etc. He advised that there is no structure, you definitely don't get your money back, and that things will come together as they should. The night ends when we finally go to bed ourselves at 4:00 am.
We like the other people. They are from all walks of life -- Doctor, homemaker, business folks, TV personalities, and from many places -- Australia, US, Sweden, Germany, England, France, Denmark, Israel, Italy and Canada. (seven men and nine women). We are not sure about some of the helpers. Their eyes are unusual.
Saturday morning we show up for breakfast, which is now cold, and are told we missed the morning talk, which we had no idea was taking place, so we mustn't have needed it. Some of us are taken to a museum. Our choice. When we return we find two ladies in tears as they have been as I now call it "stripped down". The afternoon continued with more non structured talking in the same vulgar way. (He is being video taped by one of his helpers.) They show us the Matrix and one of the helpers he calls "Jesus" talks about the dark side and that if we think we don't have one -- think again. The day goes into the night and we finally turn in at 5:00 am.
One man left today -- I don't know how -- and the teacher belittles him. (The teacher jokes that at one of his classes half the class left). He is the young lad who talked with me at lunch. He questioned the wisdom of the teacher. He also spoke up and questioned what the helpers were doing at one point and was quickly challenged and belittled by a helper.
Comments are made: If you leave you are f----- and that it crystallizes inside you. There is much fear put around leaving.
Sunday morning. When we arrive to a cold breakfast at 11:00 am several others have gone off to the local pub with the teacher. Some are talking to Jesus and he is saying how wonderful President Clinton really is and how evil Oprah is. Upon their return the teacher is all excited about a discovery he made and two more ladies are in tears. He has made the lady from France whisper "je t'aime" all over his arms and chest in front of everybody at the pub and "stripped down" the lady doctor from Sweden. He then makes two other men lie on the floor and she does the same to them all over their upper bodies. She is very uncomfortable and all are embarrassed. The afternoon seems like a blur with some of the men challenged but not as harshly as the women. The helpers sit with the ones who are upset. I heard the teacher telling his helpers when to stop as they were giving too much energy and needed to rest. Two of the helpers embraced on the floor for some time. When I asked one to help my husband they would not do so without the teacher directing them.
During the afternoon there is lots going on between people -- it feels to me as if they are crossing barriers without appropriate boundaries, but I put it down to being my problem.
My turn is yet to come and come it does. After my "stripping down" I spend the rest of the evening in tears on the couch and the teacher will not allow anyone to come near me including my husband. My husband gets one of the cooks to sit with me (a very kind lady) until he finally ignores the teacher and sits with me anyway. After several hours of tears, we finally go to bed. I am totally devastated. He would not allow any of his helpers to be with either my husband or me.
Another attendee has now left and he too is belittled. The teacher laughs how they get out of there -- hiking over hills etc. etc. There are no cabs to call and no cars to rent.
Monday is spent listening and doing some chakra exercises. The teacher still sends out chilling comments. I only notice my own. I don't know what he is doing to others. In the afternoon a guest visitor presented a program he is offering in Switzerland. It is $5000.00 US for a week and it is to experience a South American drug, which I can't remember the name of.
After supper we are all in the meeting room and everyone is definitely more open. I find the ladies are especially supportive to each other. One of the helpers comes around with a pill. Encouraged by the ladies I take a tablet and I am ashamed to say I have no clue what it is. It turns out to be ecstasy. It makes me feel very relaxed, but I have an excessive amount of perspiration. It did stir in me the feeling of wanting to help others. The ladies sat around together (not his helpers) and I can say we had a wonderful time. A truly healing female pod. Others came over to sit in the middle. I have very fond memories of that special time. I did not know that this same drug was passed around the night before and that others had used it. (Another past attendee arrives feeling he had to come back. He has been overwhelmed with his fears, seems upset and is glad to see everyone)
Over the few days, the teacher and his helpers talked about illusion and that if you look at the wall it seems to be disappearing or breaking down. They also held their hands together to make a circle and showed us how something disappears as you put it into the circle. The circle was like a vortex. They talked about the blue pill and the red pill in the movie "Matrix."
A special flashlight was passed around to shine over a glass of water while stirring to drink several times a day. It had a special color filter that apparently changes the molecules in water. It breaks up the clusters in our bodies. These are "thought clusters" like religions, belief patterns, etc. I didn't feel anything myself, but others talked of having experiences after swimming in a pool that this light had transformed. The unit was around $500.00 and someone was coming to talk about it later in the week.
As Monday night went on everything felt like love (from what I understand this is what ecstasy does) and we were all laughing and relaxed when next thing we know the teacher has the lady from France totally undress and whisper "je t'aime" closely all over his now nude body. This did not appear sexual, but many of us were in shock. The lady was sobbing and his helpers were encouraging her to do as he said. Finally after some time he put a blanket around her. We feel very sorry for her. He then tells his helper to get a stick and we are all to hit his body hard with it. If anyone didn't do it we would be hit (or something threatening like that). He said that anyone uncomfortable with this should leave. Unsure of what was going on we just wait. It quickly seemed to get worse and he then asked directly if any of us were uncomfortable with this. He said if anyone left after he started this process that his helper should get their names and he would punch them out later. Shortly after this he lunged over the table towards a lady (the only other couple there) and began to hit her. Her husband was sitting two down from her and didn't seem to move and at that my husband and I left. This couple had spent time at this teacher's house so I believe they already knew him.
We were up all night trying to figure out what to do and if we wanted to leave. How do we get out of here? My husband considers just sitting by the pool (in case I wanted to stay) for the rest of the time, but something in that terrified me. I didn't want to be influenced by anyone. By the morning we both feel strongly that we must try to get back to Florence. Luckily a guest visitor had to catch a plane and we hitched a ride with him. We see the gal who attended the previous week and she said it was nothing like this. She also mentioned that the previous night ended up with the teacher sobbing for hours on the floor talking about the pain of the world. I had a twinge of feeling bad that we are leaving.
After this event I have had to develop many tools to recover. I don't want to lose the lesson of this or suggest there isn't something I need to learn or see, but I do believe it can happen in a more gentle and compassionate way. But I signed up so what can I say! It has only been in the last three weeks that I have felt myself again. I will share my personal journey later. But I will mention that I wondered if it is all about the dark side and integrating it. I have read about dark side workshops. Some are much more gentle and also you see the gift of the shadow as well, but how can I say what went on after we left! Only the couple where the wife was hit has e-mailed us. They wanted to say how sorry they were that their process was so hard on them and everyone else. They also went on to say that when she got home she went to the doctor to be checked. The doctor said she would look normal again after a month or so and that she was healing nicely. They ended that they now know that all there is -- is love. Signed love love love.
I did read some interesting material in "The Five Stages of the Soul" by Harry R. Moody. The section is titled "When to Run Like Hell" about the dark side of the spiritual journey. In short, it is about a classmate who talks about his last twenty years on a spiritual odyssey. The man is at present living a peaceful life on a small Hindu ashram in Arizona, but he shared some information about his search. He ended his article with some advice: If I've learned anything at all about spiritual groups it's this, and I'd like to pass it on to those of you who are looking for a teaching:
Run like hell if:
- The teacher sleeps with the students
- The group makes unreasonable monetary demands on members
- The group puts undue emphasis on power
- The group puts the health or welfare of its followers
-- and my own, which I add --
- The expense is way out of proportion for the event.
- No information is offered about the purpose of the workshop.
- No structure in any way is suggested.
- Everything feels vague.
- The lessons are delivered too hard and fast -- it is necessary to go gently and slowly. What we are after is the healing of old wounds not the creation of new ones.
My Personal Journey during the Event
Above I have written about the event, as best I can remember. I also would like to share my personal journey within this event. I find this difficult and embarrassing but also liberating and therefore empowering.
When my turn came, the words ripped through me like knives. I was devastated by what I was hearing. I was told that I was evil, manipulative, nasty, bitchy, hated people, that I had wronged my husband and that I always wanted more and was never satisfied and to dig the knife deeper -- that I didn't really love my husband! Then to top it all off -- that my heart wasn't open and that I couldn't even give my husband a good b--- job! How could all this be? Oh my God -- how have I been kidding myself all these years? How could my husband be so blind about me? We have been together for thirty-one years. We have always marveled at the wonderful way we met and how easy and comfortable our relationship was. We both still have butterflies when we see each other. I had also just finished an Earth Sky workshop -- lots of heart work and mine was still closed? How could all this be? But without feeling if it was right or wrong I assumed he was the teacher and so he must be right!
He told me that if I didn't make amends with my husband and ask forgiveness that he would tell him to leave me. I took my husband to another room and sat at his feet sobbing and asking for forgiveness even though I had no understanding of what he was talking about. My husband consoled me saying that he had no idea what this teacher was talking about either. The teacher kept attacking our relationship saying that my husband just needed a mother and that he was much too nice to me.
Over the past few days he had been telling my husband that he was a warrior and that he wouldn't take him on, as he would lose. He called my husband a brother and a saint and that he had to spread the word. My husband felt there was a real contradiction here and wondered how he could be a saint and a warrior and not be aware of any of this in me or in our relationship. The teacher told him he was manipulated to be here which my husband firmly denied (this was a mutual decision). A day later he changed his tactics and told my husband to "give it up that he came here for his wife" (which was why he said he was attending and this was the truth). He started to slowly attack my husband's perceptions. My husband is going to tell you some his own interpretation later.
I returned to the meeting room and cried the evening away asking for forgiveness for all the things I must have done. Even the lady helping me was telling me that a marriage was give and take and that my heart must open and I must give more. Now when I look back it felt like they just followed along. No one knew us or had any clue even how long we had been together. Common sense was lost on me at this time.
Again considering that I am the student, I think they must know better!
I felt smaller the next day and just did my best to carry on. The teacher gave two small positive comments along with the cutting remarks, but he always kept his distance from me. I again felt it must be that I am this awful person he is describing even though my life is full of family, friends and love. I felt pulled into a million pieces.
The journey was not over yet!
After we left my husband and I and spent another week of holidays and had a wonderful time. I felt weak and fragile as all of this loomed over me, but I was distracted with all the beautiful sights. My husband looked at this experience as a bump in the road and that he'll definitely miss that bump next time. He could put it down as a mistake and move on. It didn't come so easy for me.
Upon our arrival home the storm began. I searched for the answer of what the workshop was really about, how I got myself there and why we had to leave. At first I thought it was about illusion and how all of this life is just an illusion, but as I passed it by my son the gapping holes showed up. No -- this was not it. After more sleepless nights the idea of the shadow appeared. Looking for help I came across the book, "The Dark Side of Light Chasers," by Debbie Ford. Yes -- this must be it. I delved into her book and spent more sleepless nights doing the work she suggested. I looked deep inside of me as best as I could and tried to see all the "knives" he had thrown at me. Some I couldn't see, but I just figured they must be there somewhere as he was the teacher and he must know something I don't.
Still the darkness was there. At my next appointment with my Naturopath the whole story spilled out, which led him to an important homeopathic remedy he had never given me in the twelve years I had been seeing him. This remedy balanced the ill effects of the small pox vaccination, which energetically was related to guilt. I felt an immediate lifting when I took the remedy but only on one level. Oh -- but I could see some light! He also muscle tested me on several of the other "knives" as he could see their hold on me. The muscle testing was negative. I wasn't all of those things, but underneath I still had this feeling from the event that "he was the teacher so they must be there somewhere".
Help from Bach Flower Remedies
Almost three and a half months had passed and I could still feel the pressure of all this. How was I going to solve these issues? I read anything that jumped out at me. I continued to look inside myself and check and recheck my motives. I still couldn't get a handle on all of this, but I was moving forward. I decided to take the big step and begin my practice as a Registered Bach Flower Practitioner, which I had been studying for the past five years. Little by little things fell into place. A word here, an experience there. I just tried to be present and pay attention. I decided to have a Bach Flower consultation for myself.
I had heard it many times -- the answers are inside of us and physically they are right in front of our nose! The Bach Flower Remedies have been a part of my life for twelve years. I have always used the Remedies, but it is hard to see everything about yourself to choose the appropriate ones. My emotional state made this even more difficult. Maybe this would help lift the final veil of darkness. I arranged a consultation with my teacher of the Bach courses. We talked for over an hour and again some of the story spilled out. We chose four remedies. Within days I could feel the difference. The gloom of darkness was flooded with light and I could see the sky again. I cannot easily put into words how the transformation took place, but I now feel more whole and can make some sense out of all this. I still welcome each opportunity that sheds more light on the whole journey and it comes in many forms. But I think the main difference is that I am learning to trust myself, to believe in my own sense whether something is right or wrong no matter who the messenger is and to draw on my inner strength to stand up for it. More importantly, I have learned not to give my power to someone or anything else.
During this journey I fluctuated from heartfelt gratitude to despair over this event and how I was feeling. At times I felt this teacher was the best thing that ever happened to me and I was overwhelmed with a feeling of love and gratitude and yet I had gapping wounds. My journal said things like -- I just keep getting and getting it (understanding more with thanks to the teacher). It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it (it's tough to be the bad guy in this Divine Play). I can't let him take the rap for this (the teacher). He helped me to see my shadow.
Whether any or all of those things are true I don't entirely know, but I can share this:
This has been a long difficult process, but I think I am stronger because of it. No, I would not do it again, but I can't automatically throw it all under the name of a mistake and poor discernment. I don't want to kid you or myself and say that this should all be thrown away. But I need to feel what issues ring true to me, what lessons I need to learn and discernment may well be one of them.
I know the Universe is there for me still as it always has been.
I walk in Gratitude:
For my husband who has stood by me no matter what. Never an "I told you so" or hits about the cost of this last experience or any part of it. Just continuous loving support. Our relationship is as wonderful as before and more so. If we see an issue we deal with it. This could have been disastrous to our relationship if things between us had been different.
For my sons -- who are my friends and mentors and who give me unconditional love and balance.
For my extended family -- my sister and brother -- we are committed to our bond
For all my dear friends who stay the course with me.
For all the teachers who have touched me and are willing to be vulnerable to help others.
For all my helpers, physical and nonphysical who slip quietly in and out of my life sometimes without me even knowing.
For this incredible journey called life and all the many surprises and gifts it has given me.
I hope through my sharing that others will not have to physically have this experience. I do believe that without the support of my husband, family and friends I could have been a casualty. I believe you can find the light in this experience without having to repeat what I went through.
This account is how I see it to day. Each day is different. Some days I still feel wounded (although few) and on others empowered but all from a bigger view. Other days are sometimes filled with confusion. It changes all the time. But mostly everything is calmer and softer, and I know I can learn my lessons in a gentle compassionate loving way as we all can. I continue to ask questions, but I am no longer tied to the answers or even getting one.
Ken Shares Some Insights
I was fortunate enough to have dinner with Ken Page shortly after my return home. He shed some light on the event as well as telling me that I needed to record all that happened and sit with it quietly. I want to thank Ken for helping me to have the strength to take this journey and for encouraging me to find the strength to overcome the obstacles and learn from them.
Many tools helped me to come to this place, but most of them came from inside. There is lots of help along the way.
Enough is enough. I now commit to standing tall and loving who and what I am NOW and taking and being responsible for my own power and seeing the blessings of each day.
Questions from a Friend
A friend wondered why I would ever go to something like this. She had just watched Oprah who is now showing Dr. Phil with forty-two participants locked up with him for five days. This, of course, has proper boundaries, but it feels similar to the event we attended. Apparently most of these people felt it freed them. I believe the event we attended talked about being freed, but since we didn't (and couldn't) stay for the entire week, we will never know if the outcome is different for others. My answer to my friend was growth and truth.
Questions from My Husband
My husband wondered why I do all of this. After reading my journey, he felt he saw a lost and frantic soul searching for some answer in life. At times he may be right, but on the whole I feel a core that remains strong and steady and my life reflects this. I do believe in growth and change. This takes me on this path and it can have its bumps. It is my intention that in sharing this story you feel a sense of hope and trust and share with me in learning to look at life from a larger perspective. It's just a journey!
Some people use spirituality/religions etc. as guideposts for their lives. As well as that I like to look at this as my way of honoring this incredible creation. It leaves me in awe. The time I spend in my "Spiritual Walk," no matter how it is expressed, is my way of being in gratitude and reverence.
With all the sadness lately, we must remember to stay positive and "Be love" so our brothers and sisters can feel there is something they can reach up to for support.
My Husband Shares His Thoughts
The teacher quickly established a position of power and authority. So contrary to what he says, he is not teaching, he is preaching. From that it creates a strong peer pressure situation. Would the lady from France do this in any other situation, or would we allow it to happen. I think not. Others like myself, out of courteous manners, initial misguided respect, and curiosity gave him the benefit of the doubt for a short time. Then you finally realize clearly the line has been crossed. I think he is phony, and he is very clever at manipulating men's and woman's emotions and disguising it as somehow knowing all about the individual. The initial presentation, the cost and his books put him on a pedestal with unwarranted respect and admiration.
Most people took what he said as personal, but it cannot be taken that way. He was talking in generalities, adapting as he went along. Similar to newspaper horoscopes.
I believe, as in the story of the King with no clothes, he isn't wearing any clothes and telling us he is.