The recent allegations against Bikram Choudhury which surfaced a few months ago are a wake-up call. This article is not about whether Bikram is guilty or not. This article is a call to all of us to use the most important tool we own: discernment and self-trust.

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This is not the first time we’ve seen somebody who’s been placed on a pedestal accused of horrendous misconduct.

Castaneda was a great teacher but a sick individual who preyed on his women followers. The same goes with many other so-called gurus in various spiritual fields.

The problem is never the spiritual teachings. The problem is misusing and hiding behind spirituality to manipulate others.

We are being asked to wake up and reflect as a collective and as individuals and ask ourselves: are we giving our power away?

It’s wonderful to have a teacher who inspires you, but that’s different from giving your power away to the point where you believe and follow everything a teacher says. As a collective we need to remember it’s OK to not buy into every teaching—especially from someone we highly respect.

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Ultimately the word guru should mean nothing more than “removing the darkness” and a teacher who removes the darkness is a wonderful teacher. Sadly, the word has been misconstrued and usually refers to a person to whom we give away our power; a teacher who we follow no matter what, in a cult-like semblance of worship. And when this happens it’s dangerous, because you’ll lose your personal power, wisdom, and sense of right and wrong.

This is a wake-up call to stay away from anybody who initiates themselves as the guru, and says “My way is the only way. This is the only path.”

Anytime you hear something like this—this person is taking away from you the most important gift you have: Your Personal Power: Your god given gift to make your own decisions and have your own opinion.

Your personal power is your ability to consult with your inner teacher, your inner guidance, and to decide for yourself what is true, what is right.

This goes beyond these specific allegations—we must see the greater call so that we can learn from this and cease the cycle of spiritual manipulation. What we need is a collective wake up:

We need to wake up and stop giving our power away to any teacher, leader, so-called guru or person placed in a position of authority.

I’m all for learning and being inspired. I think it’s wonderful to have teachers, and it’s helpful to have people who can lead us forward and shed a light on the darkness as we walk our path of life.

But a true teacher (and dare I even use the word guru) would always teach you to listen to the teacher within you.

If you love a certain spiritual teacher who tells you to sing a certain mantra, but that simply doesn’t feel right to you — don’t do it.

The best teachings and best advice on the planet are the ones where deep inside you feel like “Aha! Yes! That feels SO right.” Or there’s a sense inside that you already knew that message, or there’s this feeling of “Oh my god, this is the answer I’ve been waiting for.”

Sometimes your favorite teachers will say things that you don’t agree with (I’ve had it happen many times).

In those moments, remember to stay away from the guru-mentality. Do not give away your personal power to anybody or anything. Trust yourself. Trust your inner guidance to connect you with what’s right and true.

When you learn something new—take a moment to decide for yourself if the teaching jives with your values and inner “YES!” Sometimes we need to test and try new strategies and tips to see what we think and feel about them. Just be sure to listen well. Take time to reflect. And be willing to drop a teaching the moment your inner teacher says, “That’s not right.”

Keep your power, and trust your inner guidance to lead you.

If something doesn’t feel right–change course, and allow the teacher inside of you to guide you to your next step.


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