I read recently the story The Fallen Guru in January’s Westword Magazine. Inner Connections Yoga has expounded on this topic numerous times. In my opinion, the discussion should be less about the lack of character of John Friend, who is now living and practicing in Colorado, and more about the question, why do we look outside of ourselves for a Guru?
The teachings and practices of yoga encourage us to go inside- to sense, feel, and observe ourselves. We discover, learn, and explore our mind, body, breath, and essence and we work hard to refine ourselves like flour in a sieve. Many are seeking clarity- to grow and to refine- and therefore need to root in the philosophy of the practice and to revisit the timeless wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita and Yoga Sutra for guidance.
When we surrender willingly our power to another individual and think he is smarter, better, richer, more popular or dynamic (i.e. a “better” human being), we start as an epiphyte- we grow upon and attach to another merely to feed our practice- physical, mental, and emotional learning and growth. Then, we allow ourselves to morph into a parasitic plant and we successfully invade our host by reading and responding to the host's energy (cells). By doing so, the “host” may be unaware (or, he may be completely aware, as in John Friend’s case) of our attachment and allows the parasitic plant (us) into its "developmental social circle." And soon we morph again into a holoparasite - plants that are completely parasitic on another and have virtually no chlorophyll- with little ability to capture light and energy ourselves.
When the guru, whom we have entrusted and empowered with our growth, withers and dies (or shows character flaws, strays from the discipline and teachings, etc.) so do we! We- knowingly or unknowingly- have given away our light and energy-our ability to move it, store it, use it and share it.
Invite yourself today to enrich your soil and increase your exposure to light, just as a plant enriches itself with light and nutrients. Capture light energy from those around you- digest it, transform it, and let it become yours. Allow your “photosynthesis” to feed and ground you. Feel your roots growing deeper, your branches stronger and your leaves greener. You are your own guru who adds life to life and not a parasite that needs another to grow and to live.