ASK ABDI: IS THERE SOMETHING WRONG WITH ME?
QUESTION: I am a yoga teacher and have been practicing for over 10 years. I am from a generation where self-promoting does not come easy. I do my best to be nice and have integrity in what I offer. I am not comfortable with the social media scene and, as such, do not represent myself on it, and my business suffers for it.
What bothers me is that my own students, with so much less experience than me, promote themselves voraciously. And they have no clue what they are teaching or talking about. They self-promote way beyond their ability, but they attract followers who do not know any better. I guess my question is: is there something wrong with me? I am not jealous (or certainly am not aware of being so) but I feel like I do not have it in me to do the same. It is not just about money, but also about a lot of false information being spread out there.
I came to my wits end when one of my students, young enough to be my daughter, recently offered to coach me in “manifestation”. Eye roll here… can you shed some light on all of this?
ANSWER: Ahhh, the old manifestation rap! I am with you on your feelings on that concept: it has been getting my goat since I first heard it back in the day. Some fine narcotics right there, ready for mass consumption. This is an important issue, so thank you for putting forth. Let’s unwrap it together.
First, I would say to you that it is good practice for you to push through your comfort zone. Breaking down our own idealized self-image (“I am nice”, etc.) is a powerful spiritual exercise. Those of us older folks with a spiritual bent usually tend to have a difficult time in the marketplace. You know how it goes: “Real spiritual people don’t charge money, are not in the marketplace, etc.” But that is just programming, and needs to be worked through. Certainly there needs to be integrity in what we do, but hiding is not the same thing.
Putting ourselves out there consciously can certainly be nerve-wracking. The social media realm gives permission to anonymous others to vomit much toxic gunk on us. We intuitively know that. If we do not have a hungry ghost lurking to be fed inside of us - it can be difficult to open the door to revealing ourselves on that level. But speaking our truth without protecting our mask is powerful medicine for our own spiritual practice.
We live in unmoored times, and the insanity of it is that unmoored people do not know they are so. This is the nature of our world: the loudest get the most airplay regardless of their understanding. Sometimes they have the goods; many times, it is just hot air. It has always been this way; it is just that now it can spread much quicker. There is a certain level of sliminess in some of what is being offered right now. The mixture of ego gratification under the guise of spirituality is pretty ugly business. This is our insanity being reflected back to us. The planet is dying because of our unconsciousness and we still think we can magically “manifest” our way out of it. We need to manifest our way out of our addictive slumber and back into reality.
To that point, we all have a part to play in easing back into wakefulness. If you have something to say, and it is coming from your core, then it will harm you not to say it. Even if it helps one other person - it is what your soul needs you to do. Push through your comfort zone and do your part. This whole website started years ago because, like you, I got tired of listening to crazy unexamined poison offered as medicine. Why not add your two cents to mine? We might be one penny short of a nickel, but if that can help someone with 96 cents to have a dollar…