The Scott Shaw Blog

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The Spiritual Mask

Pretty much the moment anyone claims to be a spiritual anything that pretty much means they are not.

Throughout my years of walking on this spiritual path, I have met many a person who proclaimed a Spiritual Something. And yes, some of them were very famous and a couple did appear to have various forms of siddha, “Spiritual Powers.” Most, however, were/are simply self-proclaimed nothings, that just defined themselves as, “Spiritual.” But, all a person like that does is to leave a wake of broken people who once believed but were taken advantage of.

I think back to when I taught my very first class on yoga that was not done at an ashram. It was via the California State University, Northridge Experimental College. If you feel like it, you can see the ad for that class on the Sundries page of this website. Me, I was like twenty years old.

My class was on the various aspects of yoga; meaning the various branches and how one could practice and use the various techniques. There was another person teaching a class on Kundalini Yoga at the same time. He was just your average white guy who had taken Sikh initiation via Yogi Bahjan. There were a lot of Caucasian Sikhs around at that time: wearing their turbans and growing their beards.

Anyway, this guy required that all of his students bring him flowers before each class. When two of my students asked me if they needed to bring me flowers, I just smiled and said, “No.” My thought was, however, “Who is this guy, self-believing that he is in a position to deserve flowers simply because he is teaching something that he learned from someone else?” Anyway… That’s just one example.

Certainly, I spent a lot of time with Swami Satchidanada. A lot of time with him and a lot more time with his other disciples. He was always great to me. I think he was amused at how young I was when I joined the ranks. But, in his later years, he had his detractors. Women who claimed he did what he did with them. This, when he was claiming to be celibate and telling all of us, his disciples, to do the same. I’ve written about this subject in several places in the past and what I think about it. But, more importantly, I have also long stated that if a teacher can’t be more than his or her students, then what does that leave the students with?

A teacher should be more than their students. A teacher should set the ideal example. This fact, has caused me to turn away from several teachers throughout my lifetime.

Were they fakes? This is for the individual to judge. But, if you don’t lead by example, then what are you actually teaching?

I won’t go into some of the very hardcore fakes I’ve encountered. As I have written about them in the past. But remember, simply because someone claims to be a Spiritual Something that does not mean that is what they truly are.

If you look to people like Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth Dalai Lama, there is an example of a person who lives what he teaches. Though Tibetan tradition places him in an exalted position, he never relishes in that. He is just a cordial, joking man who simply lives the life that karma gave him. J. Krishnamurti was very much the same. The Buddha himself when asked if he was teacher he said, “I'm just a man.” But, how few are the teachers that do not relish in their position—that do not take advantage and attempted to live an embellished lifestyle due to them being what
they claim to be? And, this goes on throughout all teachings and religions; throughout time.

What am I saying here? If you are drawn to the spiritual path you really need to become hyper aware and keep your eyes open. There are a lot of people who are claiming what they claim that are only driven by self-defined ego. Do you really want to learn from a teacher like that?