When my friend suggested that I name my amaryllis, I laughed, but strange coincidences caused me to reconsider.
In a recent blog I described an experience of time expanding when, to preserve the extraordinary beauty of my flowering amaryllis, I photographed it. Two days later, at the end of January, I found that the plant had crashed to the floor overnight. There must have been some instability I didn’t know about. With the stems broken, nothing remained of the plant’s abundant beauty. Saddened, I cut the stems and put the plant aside.
A few days after the dramatic and mysterious amaryllis downfall, Anusara yoga appeared to come crashing down as John Friend, its creator, was exposed online for unethical behavior personally and professionally by an anonymous source. I was deeply pained by this news, and by further revelations about John’s behavior, and have experienced much sadness, anger and disappointment in the weeks since. John stepped down as CEO of Anusara Inc., and an interim committee of certified Anusara teachers is working hard to design a teacher-led school of Anusara yoga. There are many serious questions about whether John can be fully accountable for his unethical and dishonest behavior and whether he can fully relinquish his power and control of the Anusara organization. It is not clear what will happen next.
What is absolutely clear, however, is that the community of Anusara teachers is strong and beautiful, as each of us is consulting our own heart in relation to John’s actions and Anusara. Teachers I love and respect have resigned their Anusara affiliation, and some have started a new organization; teachers I love and respect are committed to Anusara and to reorganizing it from within; teachers I love and respect are, like me, waiting to learn more before deciding what action is most true. Even though the community is divided, teachers reach out to each other and offer love, respect and support, whatever choices are made. At the same time, tantric scholars and teachers are offering insights that can help us reflect on what has happened. Here is one example.
This is a time of great turmoil; we teachers can no longer rely on an external organizational structure for support or inspiration. At the same time, Anusara as a method retains its power; its teachings transcend its teacher. We have all learned from it and been deeply changed by it. I am committed to offering my students what is true for me, the most potent insights and methods I have gained from Anusara. I find myself digging more deeply now, knowing that the truth can come only from the teacher within.
And what about the downfallen plant? After weeks of neglect, I discovered that the bulb had grown a new stem and bud! Was this even possible? Astonished, I put it back into the light and began to water it again. It began to blossom. I named it Anusara Amaryllis.
I do not know what will happen next to Anusara yoga or to John Friend, but the recent developments have opened us all to even deeper perspectives on ourselves as individuals and as a community. From this, new growth will occur as the energy and creativity of the community is freshly engaged. And, unlike Anusara Amaryllis, what blooms next will not and cannot be just like what came before.