Adieu, My Perfect Teacher

I am leaving my teacher and here is why

I had this vision not very long ago:

There is a balloon salesman on the street, holding a bunch of balloons. A moment comes that he needs to use the toilet. There is a shop nearby with one. Of course he will never fit through the door, not with all those balloons in his hands. If he lets go, they will fly up and away.

And so, when an unsuspecting young man approaches, the balloon salesman asks him if he can hold on to them for a while. The young man agrees. The salesman hands over his balloons, thanks the young man, and disappears into the shop. Half an hour passes. And another one. And the young man, still holding those balloons, starts to wonder when he will ever be back.

How long before the young man realises that the balloon salesman will never return? And what will the young man now do with those balloons?

Teaching is like this. The teachings pass from teacher to student. At one point the student must realise that the teacher is gone. And the student starts to wonder: Perhaps he was never there in the first place? In any case, HE is responsible for those balloons now. It is up to him. What will he decide?

In order to understand why I have decided to leave, you must understand why I came.

Above all I think I wanted refuge, but was never able to fully admit that to myself. Looking back I have told myself so many things about serving others, doing important work. But I just needed shelter from the rain. Support to become stable within. I have dropped all relations to the outside world. To look deep within. Stuck inside this valley for three years. Unable to move, yet the world moved within me.

I have now decided to go in my direction, to rise up from this valley, this womb, to go for life. Now is my time. After 10 years with the school, 3 years on premises, I say Adieu to my teacher Karta Singh, and his Ashram Le Martinet. It is an amicable break. We remain friends. We may even collaborate in the future.

A-dieu. It means farewell. It also means ‘with God’, ‘without God’, or ‘no God’ or ‘with God’s blessing’. This multiplicity has always been in the forefront of our relation. With God? Without God? Is God speaking through you? Are you God speaking to me? And, more often than I would like to admit; if I am God, how come you think you can tell me what to do? Who do you think you are — God, or something?

I have been with him through the allegations of abuse a few years ago. The world wide storm of accusations and judgments. Sometimes I felt like a soldier in the trenches, caught up in a war that was not my own. But I also understood that I could not leave. That if there was ever a time to stand by someone, then out of sheer humanity, the time was now.

Normally, what do you do when someone throws mud at you? Well, you duck. We didn’t. We stood. It has been a major initiation for us all. And not only for the ones that lived close to him, but also the ones further away in Europe that refused to accept the judgment, and could stand and take the pain, often at great personal expense.

Today, I wipe the mud off my face and say: It has been enough. Not because I no longer want to stand for him, but because I no longer need to. There comes a time that each man must stand for himself, make his own decisions, and live with the consequences.

It has been for around one year that I realised that I was no longer aligning with his new direction. Not because it was in any way wrong. But just because I did not, and do not, resonate with it. And that’s okay. We all have our own guidance to follow.

When I came to another important teacher, I was completely unaware of who I was. He showed me how to access my emotions, and through them, a way to the beyond, where I could find space, a dimension where I found my Self.

I arrived to this teacher in a certain way.

I offered myself in complete trust. I said I am stuck. I do not know anymore, and I no longer see that I can make it on my own. I learned many things through that. Eventually I realized that I had been looking for the father-that-never-took-care-of-me, in him. Such is the projection of the student on the teacher.

When I joined Karta, I was very conscious of this. I never wanted to come so close because of it. But eventually I realized that being with a teacher in this way, however subtly, means that I am still giving part of my power away. However subtly, there is still a sense that ‘there is something broken in me, that someone else perhaps can fix’. I am done with this now.

Time has come to pass on that with which I have been entrusted.

Thank you, Karta. You have been a Perfect Teacher and an Imperfect Human. I am quite convinced, now, that one can only exist through the other. That a perfect human is by necessity, a false teacher. The era of pretence is over, the time for authenticity has come.

We are all learning our own lessons, developing in our own way. No one can judge another one. When I told you the story about the balloons you said: the balloons, they represent karma. No I said, angrily, they are The Teachings. Today I understand: they are one and the same.

It is time to think about what to do with those balloons. The old me would take them home, stare at them for a while, and wonder if I really want to become a balloon salesman. The new me, well … I have to find out what the new me will do…

Perhaps I will pass them to the children. Perhaps I will hang them at the door of a place that welcomes all. Perhaps I will be blessed. Perhaps it will be me who can now offer refuge to the ones in need, like the shelter has been offered to me.

And then? What do you think will happen then?

Then the inevitable will happen. Students will come. They will love their teacher. He will betray their trust. Perhaps, they will accuse him. And he will tell them that he never told them otherwise. That he never pretended to be someone else.

And they will learn about betrayal, about standing on their own two feet. About the spiritual quest, and how it is fraught with danger and dispair. And like the scorpio that sinks the frog, nothing and no one will be able to stop this from happening.

This ageless tale is not done. Not by far. But perhaps one day I, perhaps we all, will be done with it.

And that day, perhaps, a young lad or lady may pass me on the street and I will ask them: “Excuse me. Can you hold on to these balloons for me for a while?”

I will disappear inside the shop. The door will swing shut. The sign will be turned. Closed, definitely.