Marni Pogachefsky is an international personal development guide who specializes in helping women transition into the work place. Even though she is a practicing yoga instructor and accomplished group wellness facilitator, Pogachefsky is also an eternal student, and she knows the pitfalls of seeking spiritual guidance.
In today’s featured blog post, Marni discusses her path to liberation and how to focus upon the teaching, not the teacher:
For the last three years I’ve traveled around the world in search of “myself” and teachers who could point me in the right direction. I’ve had many magical experiences with wonderful guides and also come across, what we could call — the good bad and ugly of the so called “spiritual” and “mysticism” scenes and the teachers there of.
I’ve been blessed with a beautiful mentor and “shaman mama” who saw potential in my before I did and encouraged me to trust my intuition and love myself. Sadly, I’ve also come across teachers, coaches, and guides, who promise to solve their students problems and create co-dependent relationships with their students!
Run away from someone who wants to solve your problems for you
There are more fake gurus and false teachers in this world than the number of stars in the visible universe. Don’t confuse power-driven, self-centered people with true mentors. A genuine spiritual master will not direct your attention to himself or herself and will not expect absolute obedience or utter admiration from you, but instead will help you to appreciate and admire your inner self. True mentors are as transparent as glass. They let the light of God pass through them. — the 40 rules of love
One thing that has struck me recently is the abuse of power among teachers and the ways in which those tasked with empowering others can consciously and unconsciously self aggrandize through the adoration and disempowerment of their students.
A teachers roles is first and foremost empower their student to find the teacher and power they hold within — which we all have.
By now I’m not surprised when I hear about the latest scandal unveiling another spiritual teacher or person in power abusing his/her power. Many spiritual teachers are initially called onto this path for their own personal healing, and if they are not truly transparent with themselves and their shadows, those wounds can quickly look to be healed through their students love and adoration.
I believe many of these “teachers” are unaware of the ways they are harming their students, and genuinely believe they are helping when they offer to “take away the problems” or ‘fix it’. But what they may or may not realize is that they are pointing the student in the wrong direction. A true spiritual teacher will teach their student to fish, rather than catch the fish for them.
The dangers of putting teachers on a pedestal.. how students can maintain their empowerment
I’ve also observed many a student disempowering themselves by putting on a pedestal people who appear to have insight into the mysteries of the universe, and answers to their questions about life. Teachers are then stripped of their humanity in these students eyes and turned into gd-like figures, who the students then look to solve their problems. When someone views a teacher above his/her self, that person inevitably disempowers his/herself and gives away a degree of their personal power.
Mentors, gurus teachers, guides, are all — for the most part — human. It’s something I’ve observed many students are quick and eager to forget. I’m not “blaming” anyone for this, but it’s important to remember that as a student / seeker you are completely empowered here. Students go to these teachers, often at times of struggle and confusion and are therefore also more susceptible to a teacher who takes advantage of their power to gain more power by putting others down.
While I think many teachers who are out there preaching that they can solve your problems for you, genuinely have good intentions at heart, the scary thing is that they may not realize how they are actually disempowering their students and keeping them in a cycle of co-dependency.
To avoid this I ask myself the following questions before working with a new teacher, and invite you to use them if they feel good for you.
1. Has this person done there own work / do they walk their talk and are they open about their shortcoming?
2. Do I feel empowered in their presence?
Marni Pogachefsky with The Mollie Plotkin Group
The Basic Shaman Marni Pogachefsky can be booked through the Mollie Plotkin Group for conferences concerning anything from yoga practice to diversity and inclusion. Do not miss an opportunity to host one of the most insightful keynote speakers in the industry. Contact the Mollie Plotkin Group for an affordable quote today.