The Teacher vs. The Teachings

May 30, 2014
Katherine Austin Wooley


I was out in Sedona this past winter teaching at a festival.  The skies were a gorgeous blue, the red rock mountains a staggering burnt orange sparkling in the sun.  I had prepared for my class intuitively, as I always usually teach now, to offer the teachings that came to me.  I listen to what is needed today.

I entered a lovely hall; it was a new festival so just a small group of students had gathered.  We had fun.  No matter what, if I stick to the teachings as they were handed down, the students will always have a transformative experience.

As I teach new yoga teachers: we are not the teacher; we are merely the channel or the messenger for the teachings to come through.

Throughout my years of studying, practicing and teaching yoga, I've experienced many different lineages of this path.  With some I got to experience the direct Guru and with others the teachings were passed down through their senior students to me as the original Guru is no longer in his physical body.  All paths to the teachings were good no matter how I received them.


When I came out of the Sedona workshop, I ran into someone I knew from back home.  At first she praised me for my work, my studio and the way I teach yoga. A few weeks later, she did a 360, ranting and raving on a past Guru and how all his "human" mistakes made him an impostor.

I've heard this story so many times with other spiritual teachers.  We often put people in positions of a teacher or leader up on pedestals forgetting that in the end they are still human. I've seen it so many times - when a teacher falls from grace, many throw the bath water out with the baby.

Being in human form reminds us we are all on a journey to learn while on earth.  So are our spiritual teachers.  They may have found their dharma and been blessed with higher consciousness, psychic abilities and more to channel the teachings, but it doesn't place them above the human realm, going through their own karmic stuff.  They have theirs to resolve just like we do.

This doesn't change the sacredness of their teachings.  They still work.

The teachings remain authentic regardless of what the ego says when it sees only the human stuff going on.  No, we don't look past the wrongdoings of individuals nor do we out of fear and ignorance say the teachings are baloney too because we may have been let down by a teacher.

Maybe we were in denial along the way and falsely gave too much of our power away to our teacher.  What was our part in this relationship? Why did we do that? The co-dependent student-teacher relationship is very common. The Guru is  the channel, not the savior.

Ultimately it's up to you.  Do the teachings work for you? Have you had profound healing and higher consciousness experiences?  Has your life, relationships and health changed for the better? Then that's the real Truth.

My yoga awareness wasn't even near the radar when some teachers were still alive. I'm not going to go by gossip or Internet stories or the rants of disgruntled students to determine the validity of any yoga teachings.   How could I?  I didn't know or experience those teachers at all personally.

And the person doesn't matter the way the teachings do, anyway.

I need only to have my own experience and know what's right for me.


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