People Always Fail

I mean really. Nobody is perfect. We all have something in our lives. Heaven knows I have much to regret. We can hope for more from people, but you can never put all your hope in one person.

I recently read very alarming reports of sexual misgivings of the founder of Ashtanga Yoga. I have a book called Guruji, experiences from Pattabhi Jois’ students over the years. It is a fascinating book that I’ve used to compile my feelings about my own journey with Ashtanga. Guruji always talked about 99% practice and 1% theory. But I’m the guy who wants to know the 1%. Unfortunately, there were recollections of Jois doing very inappropriate sexually invasive adjustments on his female students (I won’t be more explicit about it). People try to rationalize that it was just a cultural misunderstanding. But no matter how you look at it, it was very wrong. Once confronted by senior students and family, he stopped. But it still makes me look differently at such an esteemed teacher.

And just a few days ago, I saw a video of Iyengar. It disturbed me so much that I’d rather not show it. He was on this stage with lots of people in attendance. A young lady is seen laying down her mat and going into headstand. All the sudden, Iyengar walks over and slaps her hard on the back and then yanks her to the side. She hesitantly begins again. I was so amazed that a teacher could so brutally treat someone that way. And this was in full public view.

Its no secret that Iyengar and Jois were embattled with their different styles. Its amazing they were taught by the same teacher, Krishnamachurya. One time, an Iyengar student went to be trained by Jois. When she came back, she was publicly humiliated by Iyengar. He would ask her to show him an asana and then he would scream and berate her for how silly her asana was. Its one thing to disagree, but to use students as your whipping post for dissent is wrong.

I know people dislike talking about beliefs. Especially even my close friends in the U.S. who have grave disagreements with Christianity. I mean, some are more vocal than I could ever imagine. But most of us believe in some kind of higher power. Neo-Darwinists talk about a "life force" that pushes natural selection in a specific direction. They say there is no possible way that what happens could be due to chance alone. I have friends who will believe anything under the sky. Tarot cards, astrology, crystal magic, witches and the occult, the Universe; these are all fair game. But somehow Christians are crazy. They meditate into the ether and look for signs; and then say that prayers are just "nice". They really don’t mean anything.

What I would like to offer is an agreement. There is something out there. Maybe we can’t agree on what it is. Maybe our belief system is based on non-belief, but it is still a belief. Faith is defined as hope in something that is unseen. We don’t test every chair we sit on because they all look trustworthy. We sit with faith that it won’t fail. We trust in its structure. We have no reason to question its validity.

Yet one thing is true; never put all your trust in a person. People will always fail you. You give grace to those you love. You can always forgive. But they will fail. I guarantee that.

Find something to believe in my friends. If your belief is unbelief, then do that well. But don’t ridicule others for what they believe.

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