Can we see the deep beauty inside all people? Can we get past our judgments? Last week I was invited by a friend to be filmed for The Real Housewives of New Jersey -- accompanying her to a party as her yoga instructor and life coach. I have to say I loved it. The experience challenged my preconceived judgments. Becoming a bridge between the yoga world and the world of "reality housewives" felt truthful. The opportunity to show a better way based on Love felt like an absolute miracle, and I trusted the Grace in this orchestration.
From my perspective the openness on Housewives felt honest and refreshing. I love to observe truth in people, and to be amongst people who walk their talk. Each individual shares a connection of the heart with all others. There is a oneness that connects everyone, everywhere, whether they practice yoga, go to church, temple, or watch reality television. Authentic expression and vulnerability are essential ingredients in being a whole person in the new age. We are seeing through the old ways of the teacher -- student relationship. This paradigm shift is causing a great deal of confusion with so many on the spiritual path. What surprised me was that I was feeling more comfortable on the set of a reality television show than I had in certain yogic or spiritual environments.
I didn't know what to expect. The Real Housewives of New Jersey is known for drawing out disharmony amongst women, while selectively editing the footage to amplify conflict. What I saw, however, was a genuine beauty in the housewives' freedom to express without fear. I realized that if we are going to walk the path of the yogi -- the path of authenticity -- we are disharmonizing mysticism when talking badly behind another teacher's back. We have to say it in public, the way the "housewives" do, yet at the same time cherishing the connectivity and vulnerability we all share.
Reality TV is popular in part is because people want to see genuine inner feelings and vulnerability. We want to know that we are not alone. We want to know what is going on behind the masks. We are craving to see truth.
The path of the spiritual mentor is to pave the way for light and goodness. Yet, many people go through a time of deep disillusionment, recognizing that a spiritual leader, who may have appeared to be righteous in public, was competitive and undermining in private. In the past I had thought something was wrong with me when I walked into a spiritual center that appeared magical on the outside, yet triggered something unsettling in my soul. The missing element was genuine expression. At least the "housewives" could be open about their feelings. And I saw real beauty in that open expression. It helped me see how authenticity is such an essential core to our wholeness.
That being said, it is absolutely essential that we are clear on something -- yoga is one of the surest and most beneficial ways to increase health, wellbeing and happiness in our lives. Yoga is the pathway to quieting the mind and allowing the heart to whisper truth and beauty. Through yoga we can experience a connection to the realm of the angelic. Miracles become a way of life, we elevate our consciousness into the vibration of love, and yoga allows for a miraculous change in our thought patterns. But in order to be whole, we have to allow ourselves to be authentic -- sharing our entire truth in an unashamed way that I witnessed on the show.
The quandary is that spiritual ego can so easily creep in. Teachers and spiritual leaders often start falling in love with their very own popularity. This can be so confusing for students who feel they ought to trust their teacher. Spiritual mentors are human, however, and prone to human failings.
Thankfully, there are exceptional spiritual teachers, who in honest expression of their mystical journey, have shared with the intention of uplifting without personal gain.
One of my favorites is Ram Dass who honestly describes this condition:
"It's a form of one-upmanship in which you judge others out of a feeling of superiority. This ultimately limits your spiritual awakening... the feeling of specialness or superiority inflates the ego and feeds it with pride."
I have learned that what is important is for students to trust their intuition, rather than their minds. If something appears authentic on the surface, yet creates confusion in the soul, trusting our inner knowing is essential. When we love ourselves unconditionally, we can see the real picture with more clarity. Truth is a form of love. Compassion, service and oneness will not manifest in the world if we are competing with one another privately, and preaching love publicly.
Humanity is evolving rapidly, and many are recognizing themselves in each another, bringing a deep sense of compassion. A rosebush holds many petals. Each petal is different, yet each is perfect. All together, the petals create the magical scent of the rose. Spiritual mentors and reality TV stars are alike in their inner vulnerabilities. Each person is another petal on the rose.
As Ram Dass continues to share:
"The best antidote to pride is humility, which leads to compassion. Compassion lets us appreciate that each individual is doing what he or she must do, and that there is no reason to judge another."
The open fear-free expression on Housewives showed me that we can not be truly spiritual human beings if we hide our true feelings behind a curtain of assumed piousness. If we cherish our shared humanity, then we can, "say it like the housewives," expressing our inner feelings with truth, while cherishing the beautiful oneness in each other. The universe has shown me something quite profound. Trusting our hearts' intelligence before we trust another human being is imperative.
Rather than judging the honest expression on reality television as offensive, we can see that if we love ourselves and love each other, authenticity is actually the only choice. When we encounter a situation that puts us in doubt we can listen to the quiet song of truth singing in our hearts. Whether on a reality TV show, a yoga mat, or a pulpit, there is a oneness that pulses through everyone. The sun shines equally on everyone without judgment. Genuine expression is the missing piece many of us are longing for at this time.
Embracing truth, love, miracles and the beautiful waves of the soul. -- Karena