It’s 6pm on Delhi on a Tuesday and I am sitting in my Airbnb with the air-conditioning on, something new for me because I have not had air conditioning these past few months… and also because I feel that air conditioning is a toxic false reality and would rather bare the heat, but after 3 months in India and waking up the toxic false reality that I have learned is life itself and realizing that amidst all my spiritual seeking the ways I was deluding myself into an even deeper dream; I truly DGAF anymore. I need some level of “comfort” as it has been harsh, heartbreaking, and increasingly hot past few months, and like all of the most humbling spiritual teachings: it has taken me through hell. I am in the process of grieving seeing reality as I knew it completely crumble in front of me after a series of 3 intense months in the self proclaimed “yoga capital” of the world in the city of Rishikesh (the name “Rishi” which was given after the many sages and saints who used to come there for pilgrimages). The city has now been taken over by a different type of spiritual seekers, Westerners who want to come to India to deepen their study of yoga, and has now become a bit of a tourist capital for spiritual materialists of this type. There are yoga schools popping up everywhere, posters advertising for satsangs with the newest guru, Full moon sisterhood circles, and even advertisements for Ayahuasca ceremonies popping up all around the city. It has become a bit, in my friends words “a hipster hotspot for spiritual seekers”.
This time last year I was finishing up 3 months of doing Ayahuasca ceremonies myself but in Peru, in The Sacred Valley; at an almost twin city to Rishikiesh – but instead of yoga it caters to those who are interested in plant medicine. After 3 months there, I felt like I had finally discovered reality as it truly was; caught within a maze of surreal spiritual visions the dimensions of reality outside our limited 3 dimensional world revealed itself to me and I had finally seen what I knew all along: that the spiritual world informs the physical. But, amongst these visions, I was also implanted with many “new age delusions” where I believed that every vision that I experienced in this altered state to be the absolute truth of reality – and as I found out later, this was a completely solipsistic and distorted way of viewing reality. To ground myself in the world again I went wandering in the forests of the islands of Vancouver meditating, being alone, and trying to unpack everything that had happened in Peru, and it was there that I realized: the visions I experienced contained both truth and lies, and it was up to me to separate the two in order to find the value in the experience.
This year, I don’t feel so happy and blissed out. I feel like I am in a state of shock and grief. It’s also not so bad; I still experience moments of love – but this love is different, it is not seeking happiness or bliss. It contains the spectrum of human emotions. It is a truer love, a human love, containing all my hopes and disillusionments of this world. This love is not built on thinking I live in a perfect utopia of the whole world waking up into the 5th dimension with me, nor is it built on visions of aliens coming to save us and a detachment from my earthly body, but this love could only come from lasting through a period of facing the ugliness of reality and not turning away from it; and realizing that in spite of all these hard lessons love was the guiding hand which was embedded into an experience that had to teach me a great lesson for my soul’s evolution.
The funny thing is that some part of my self knew that this experience had to happen and I had to go through it. I didn’t arrive in India with a completely idealized fantasy on what was going to happen; I had a deeper knowing and I went into it soberly. And unlike all my ayahuasca visions in Peru, this time it happened on the earth plane itself. So this time I knew it was completely real, current, present, it was the state of the earth as it is right now – reflected through my own experience and the mirroring of the lessons that this school had to teach me.
My trip to India began with me being kind of confused – like all my greatest life lessons seem to begin. The seed of the idea was not even “mine”. After spending the summer/fall living at an Ecovillage, I experienced profound healing experiences of what it was like to live in a community who healed together, learned together and grew their own food together. I learned how to connect with the holistic process of growing organic food, went to sweat lodges, shared my feelings in talking circles on a daily basis, cleared ancestral karma through shamanic psychotherapy, and most importantly (after years of being totally isolated on my journey – spending last winter living in a cabin on a small island alone), I learned how to be myself with people again on a daily basis. I learned how to trust again, how to feel accepted, and so when a woman I lived there mentioned “You should go to India”, still not really knowing what I was doing and being open to suggestions of others I felt – yeah, I should.
It was there I planned my trip to a city which I had heard of multiple times that had arisen in my awareness more and more lately: Rishikesh. In fact, I was already in touch with a “yoga guru” on my Facebook who lived there and who had been inviting me to come stay at his ashram for many months. Then, I had a series of dreams involving him that made me believe that this was definitely a city where I needed to go.
Before these dreams, I had just gotten out of a couple of short not “relationships”, I would call them, but encounters with beings who I had met regretfully through the dating app Tinder.
Having just come out of a situation where I fell too hard for someone who ended up being emotionally unavailable; I was at a low point of insecurity and recovering from nursing my reopened abandonment wounds – I felt rejected, unworthy, and as an escape from myself I was pretty much just looking for people to hang out with and have sex with. Which was hugely unlike me for the past few years, as I had been mostly abstaining from sex as I was more focused on my own spiritual process. Following this urge lead me into some painful situations which, because I was able to admit to myself where I went wrong, ultimately brought me into a deeper healing.
In these two encounters, the first person I became involved with was completely emotionally deadened – but I liked him because he was consistent. Meaning, he contacted me often and showed up when he said he was going to. It gave me the illusion of security, and after constantly pursing people who were sometimes, there, sometimes not, this consistency was a welcome change. But he was altogether the wrong person for me. I felt pressured into a relationship really early on after he asked me to be his “girlfriend” after only a couple dates. We barely knew each other, but after he asked a few more times to label our connection I ended up giving in, and soon I was in a relationship with someone who not only was not the right match for me, but who intentionally tried to change all my beliefs in order to fit his completely opposite worldview. He thought how I acted towards food (preferring to eat mostly vegan, organic food and never anything processed) was pretentious and a delusion, that it was just as well to eat McDonalds every day (as he did often). He also thought that I shouldn’t be meditating anymore as I was too “dependent on it” (which was partially true), but he stated it with bitterness as if meditation was an entirely useless activity to engage in. He also proclaimed that I was “too sensitive” whenever he said something critical about how I looked, or who I was -which was when he presented it without emotion or compassion, was obviously going to hurt my feelings. The weird thing was that he met me as the person I was and instead of just finding someone else more compatible with him, he tried to convince me to change.
Also, after every time we had sex, I felt completely drained afterwards in spite of how much energy I had created before from doing my sadhana beforehand (daily spiritual practice). Bad sign.
“When people mix together there is generally some interchange of vital forces which is quite involuntary… vampirising is a special phenomenon- a person who lives upon the vital of others and flourishes vitally at their expense.”
“Sex-vampirism is a different matter – in sex interchange the normal thing is to give and take – but the sex vampire eats up the other’s vital (life force) and gives nothing or very little.”
When I came to my senses and ended it, I did several “family constellations” (a shamanic psychotherapy healing modality) surrounding the ancestral pattern that led me into this and other relationships this year: namely my feeling of being unworthy of love – I ended up falling shortly after for someone else. I thought, this person was passionate, they were seemingly spiritual, and they seemed the total opposite of what I just experienced. Yet they were also entirely wrong for me and I was fooling myself. I felt pressured into having sex with them and while we were speaking I found out that he was also planning on having sex with his ex. I wasn’t into having any type of “open relationship”, or getting involved with someone who was still entangled with someone from their past, and I didn’t get an overall good feeling from this guy underneath it all, so I ended that too.
Then I had a series of disturbing dreams that began a trail towards showing me what led me into those situations in the first place.
In this series of reoccurring dreams, which happened that winter over a couple of weeks, a mesmerizing, physically sick, drug addicted, beautiful woman was seducing me through my sexual drive in order to steal my life force from me. I recognized that this was a “succubus”, a demon who has sexual encounters with people in their dreams.
I also saw a part of myself in her. I saw she was a part of my own shadowy past, a part that I had rejected, suppressed, and disowned. I had experienced the majority of the 10 years before I had my first “awakening” moment in 2012 skipping from sexual trauma to sexual trauma… I was addicted to any drug that could kill the emotional pain I was trying not to feel inside, anything that could remove me from feeling my body completely, and living in this out-of-body state I led myself unconsciously into dangerous situation after dangerous situation, where I subjected myself to pain in a numbed out state as I fed off the love and sexual affection of others to make up for the total lack of love I didn’t feel I deserved and couldn’t create from within. Because I had not accepted or directly looked at this aspect of my past it still existed as an unhealed unconscious fragment within me, and this is the “urge” that came out in me when I decided to join Tinder “just to have sex”. It was an untreated wound, like a demon within me leftover from this past life within this life, and since I didn’t face it consciously this “succubus” showed up in my dreams as something outside of me. She showed me that there was still a part that was insecure, afraid of being alone, and needing the validation of others in order to feel complete within myself, and in spite of all the spiritual self work I thought I did through meditation and yoga there was still a split between me and my sexuality. I had avoided the issue of sex by abstinence but not healed it at all because I wasn’t willing to face it. In fact, I suppressed the desire, and when it arose – it came back with a vengeance.
Also within these series of dreams I had a dream about the “yoga guru” I was planning on learning from in India. He was with a group of teachers who he wanted to introduce me to. It was then that I felt he was definitely an important person for me to meet and took these dreams as part of my own guru-student fantasy, part of a prophecy that we had an important relationship predestined to happen in our lives.
However, he was also linked to the same sexual shadow that the succubus was: an aspect of myself that still needed love, attention, and validation at the cost of trusting my own intuition.
So, naturally after having these dreams, I ended up researching “sex demons” on the internet and came across information from a writer who talked about this topic extensively. It seemed that what I had experienced this summer and the sexual dreams with the succubus were a type of paranormal interference in an attempt to take me further away from my true life purpose – and so were these distracting relationships I entangled myself in which took up all my time and energy when I should have been focusing on my writing. Yet within these experiences were a lesson about old wounds that I had not healed, and ultimately they served as teachers to show me where I still had blind spots which were holding me back from being fully embodied in my true self.
I spent the last half of the year naturally abstaining from sex, without suppression, not engaging in any fantasies or desires for a romanic relationship, and deciding as per the advice of a medicine woman at the ecovillage that I should only enter a relationship once I stopped attracting people who were wrong for me or who reminded me of traumas of the past. The next person I was to be with I had to connect with (in her words) “with all my chakras”.
I decided that it was time to face the depth of my sexual issues, my feelings of unworthiness, and all the traumas that were attached to it.
Leading up to going to India my connection to this “yoga guru” deepened. I was already experiencing high states of bliss from my daily spiritual practice, which was taking me completely out-of-body, and in those states I would chat to him and it felt like the love that existed between us was everything I had always wanted and was something my soul longed for my whole life. Just to be able to share the love I felt for all existence with someone who could also openly express that love back to me was like a dream come true, as most humans are so scared and closed off from expressing love that we live in a completely love starved society. Yet, something was off. Often he would turn the conversation into something physical, something sexual, speaking about “rubbing his body” against me and making other comments that were creeping me out. Yet, I excused it, because I felt that there was still a pure love being exchanged between us, and as I said earlier – I was starved to experience such an exchange. It felt like I had finally met someone who was on my spiritual level.
I also experienced many strange moments where a force would seemingly take over my body and against my own platonic feelings, I would feel an intense attraction to him. I would also experience strange body sensations which I had never experienced before, arising out of nowhere and in inappropriate situations; intense waves of pleasure would suddenly come through my entire being, nearing orgasmic without any physical touch or thought of my own. Suspicious of this and having an intuitive feeling that this was something that was being “sent” from somewhere outside of me, I confronted him about “sending me messages telepathically”. He admitted that he was sending me energy long distance and was happy that I was so “receptive” to it, and began making sexualized comments regarding his liking of my “receptivity”. I realized that he had a Siddhi (spiritual gift) in which he could affect other people energetically and transmit these intense bliss-states within them, and I would have to really watch out for the energies and thoughts entering my field and question them more – as they could be directed by him.
A voice in me also told me that one day I would have to confront him about how he was abusing his powers. And oddly, Gurus in India abusing their power was also part of my own ancestral karma.
I have always felt drawn to India and have been so deeply influenced by it because of my weird childhood. I was not Indian by birth but I grew up more around the culture of it than any of my own genetic ancestry (which is Japanese/German/Irish/Swiss). My parents were part of a an organization called “Siddha Yoga” run by a guru named Swami Muktananda. They ran off to India in the 70’s to live with him, meditate, and pray in his ashram. They renounced the lives they once knew, got shaktipad initiations on their 3rd eye, and experienced higher states of consciousness through many hours of chanting, meditation, and prayer. My brothers were named by this guru and both have traditional Indian names – named after Avatars of Hindu gods, we had pictures of deities in our home, along with photos of their guru’s penetrating gaze, peacock feathers, incense burning, we ate Indian food regularly, and had a meditation room that was right beside my crib growing up. They never enforced any of these beliefs upon me (at least not directly) but there is a certain nostalgia for India within me which makes me feel deeply at home with all these concepts – as it was part of my childhood home.
However, my parents guru ended up being corrupt. Although he claimed to be celibate he was found to be having sex with young girls who were his followers. He used his position to lure them in, groom them, and bed them, and this was the reason for my mom creating some distance between him and his teachings. While my father still followed his beliefs, my mother (who I grew up with after my parents divorced) didn’t, so soon my whole upbringing amongst this culture became alien to me, like a distant memory of the past.
(my parents in the 70’s)
When I found myself doing yoga and getting deeply into meditation years later, that nostalgia came back. It felt like I was returning to a piece of my early childhood I had forgotten. Arriving in Rishikesh, driving through the mountains as my cab driver dodged monkeys while he honked his horn repeatedly, as we passed by the temples burning incense with symbols of Shiva and swastikas on them, I felt like I was “coming home” in a way that I had never experienced before. I wanted to understand the nature of this guru culture that my parents fell so deeply into, I wanted to understand yoga in a way beyond what the western world’s understanding of it was (which my parents told me even as a child, that the yoga practiced in the west was a highly distorted, superficial, form of “exercise” now – and had nothing to do with real yoga, which is the evolution of consciousness).
Oddly, as soon as I landed in India a distinct knowing in me told me “do not meet this teacher”, and I felt quite strongly that there was something that had arrived to protect me in spite of all my attachments and idealizations towards him.
So upon arrival to this strange Indian city in the Himalayas, I really didn’t know what I was doing there anymore.
Once I got into the city, I forgot all the warnings people gave me about being careful with Indian food and ate a samosa off a street vendor. I sat by the sacred Ganga river, that legends have said was made from the Milky Way galaxy itself, and super hungry from all the travelling I ate the best samosa of my life.
(the beautiful Ganga)
Later that day while sitting in my busy noisy hostel room, I wondered to myself why I would leave the quiet forested land of the ecovillage to come to such a noisy place with horns honking everywhere and garbage being thrown everywhere so carelessly (two trademarks of Indian cities). I took it as a true test for myself, after all – it’s easy to feel enlightened when you escape from the influences of the other world, but accessing true spiritual wisdom admidst the chaos of a city takes some real strength.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, I was contacted by a young women on Instagram who saw a post I had made mentioning the experiences I had with this guru, and how I was realizing there were many traps on the spiritual journey that it was easy to fall into with my naiveté.
She asked who I was referring to, and when I told her his name, she admitted:
“Yes, he has been my teacher too”.
She said that she felt a “special connection to him” and that he “spoke about me” (to her) and said he was “my master”.
“Lol he wishes” I replied sarcastically.
I admitted that I did think that too, at first, but upon arriving here I realized that it was a bad decision to have any level of engagement with him as I couldn’t learn from anyone who abused their power in the way he did. She told me how he approached her as a “tantra partner, a spiritual partner” (in spite of the fact that he is married with kids) and she fell in love with him. This ended up hurting her immensely as she believed they were “twin flames” yet he was still married, with kids, and lived a completely separate life that didn’t fit into the connection that her and him shared. She eventually learned from all the damage and she said this experience helped her see through her insecurities, and it ultimately ended up healing her as she was able to learn lessons from it and take responsibility for where she had lied to herself.
Within minutes after having this conversation I fell into a fever and a bout of food poisoning that lasted over a week.
During this time this “yoga guru” ended up contacting me multiple times and after already telling him I was staying elsewhere and would not be learning from him, in my feverish haze, I felt more fearless and I decided to confront him directly rather than avoiding him.
I told him: “What you are doing is one of the most destructive things someone can do with their spiritual abilities. And as long as you use your spiritual capacities in a way that is not integrity with a commitment to truth you will always be halted on your spiritual expansion by karmic consequences. The stories about you seducing young girls have been coming to me in multiples now… I am telling you this with love but I know that only you realizing what you are doing and taking action on it will matter. This is why I have decided not to learn from you or meet you. I will also warn people of you as it is my duty to be honest with them about my experience. I do love you this is why I am telling you the truth… and I have compassion as I see this a deeply embedded samskara (mental pattern embedded in the psyche) you are carrying, and I know it may be very hard for you to get rid of. But if you are committed and sincere I know you can do it. You have lost the opportunity for us to even be friends because of this total lack of integrity. This saddens me but I must do what feels safe and right for me.”
He replied with a spiritually bypassing-ish response in broken English.
“I appreciate you being in this path. I will not be missing you as we are always friends we just couldn’t realize it in the gross world. I will be working on myself to get rid of these samskaras, Namaste.”
And I continued.
“I feel like this is something you are saying to create a false sense of peace. If this is something you truly want transforming this part of your nature will not be that easy. Intuitively it does feel to me like you are “there” yet to make those changes and will likely just continue on with more women like me… but I have faith that regardless of your own personal choices and illusions that life itself will teach you eventually. And I take this experience as a lesson to confront my own wounding which attracted this situation…”
I then continued on for the next week, sick and weak in bed, reading books about how sexual abuse was still was affecting my relationship with myself, my own body, my relationship to sex itself, and my relationships in general. I went over aspects of my own behaviour, personality and it’s patterns with a fine tooth comb to make sure that I caught all the residual trauma left in me from those experiences and how it showed up in my life – and how that need for approval and love led me into this situation with this “guru”. I could see how he was, in spite of all his spiritual powers, also lacking in this fundamental love and affection which is why he was constantly seeking to gain it from others, even using his spiritual powers to manipulate the connection into becoming more intimate. I could also see how he, like me, wanted to connect to God through other people – and our desire for the divine had been misguided through seeking that connection to come through other people instead of relying on our own direct experience of it.
Instead of learning from him I decided it would be better for me to take as much time as possible to build a protective energy field around me where I knew how to create proper boundaries, follow my intuition without remorse, and cultivate a sense of what healthy sexuality looked like and what it didn’t look like – so I could stop intrusions from happening in the future.
I wanted to see sex as something entirely innocent and sacred again and how to look at my body as something worthy of worship and protection. I couldn’t let people cross my boundaries and violate our connection like he did. Sexual connection needs to happen on all levels with consent at all levels, physical, emotional, and spiritual, and was not something you ever imposed upon another (as he often did with his innuendos). I gave myself full permission to say no at any time, no matter what, and I was not going to allow myself to not use that voice ever again.
(outside and at Maharishi’s ashram, where the Beatles stayed in the 70’s, after being sick for weeks)