Don’t Give Your Power Away

Generally speaking, the practice of guru devotion – or surrendering your power to the guru – is very dangerous to westerners. We tend not to be very good at evaluating potential gurus, and the result has often been devastating. Once we see a teacher as fully enlightened and commit to do whatever s/he says, the door for abuse – whether physical, sexual, or financial – is wide open. We may agree to things we would otherwise never agree to allow. While it’s certainly true that no fully awake teacher would ever take advantage of a student, there are no objective criteria by which we can evaluate someone’s level of awakening. It’s much better to be safe, go slow, learn from a teacher or teachers, but surrender our power cautiously and a little bit at a time. In any case, we need to be aware that healthy spirituality never involves sex with a teacher, and requests for money should be answered only when we are sure the organization manages its finances appropriately.

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