The Path To Bodhichitta

You start where you are, the practice will meet you there.

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Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Hidden Ego

The recent hike in fuel price has triggered a financial anxiety in my little world. Truth is, I didn't even know why I was as worried as a I was. It just felt like all my savings wouldn't be enough to last me through the next week even. I agonized over this issue for many days and when The Elder innocently asked me how I was, the whole drama tumbled out.

"Why don't you go back to teaching?" the Elder asked, when I finally stopped to catch my breath. I stared at her.

"I can't go back to teaching just for the money!" I was almost offended at her suggestion. "That is a terrible reason to teach again!"

The Elder held my stare steadily. "You are such a snob. You think yoga, art and dance are so spritual that no money could ever be attached to it. And that only those who teach for non-monetary reasons are in touch with their spiritual side. What's wrong in spreading the joy of yoga and getting paid for it? As long as you're not charging excessively for a class, there is no harm."

"Nothing!" I sputtered. "But to go back to yoga solely for the income is wrong!"

"Okay," The Elder shrugged and changed the subject.

One week later

I was reading an article on, entitled 'Marketing Yoga The Yogic Way'. In the article, yoga teacher Beryl Bender Birch speaks about some [teachers] who have huge egos about the fact that they don't promote themselves.

"'I'm so spiritual because I don't use any flyers.' That's just as much about ego as the people who make up some bogus resumé. Just as there are spiritual consequences of marketing, there are spiritual consequences of not marketing. The West has added something beautiful to the world of yoga: the concept that the teachings must be moved out into the world. If our intention is to hide from the world and from our own responsibilities, then not marketing our class is as deadly to our spirit as marketing with greedy intent."

I then understood what The Elder meant. And while I still feel uncomfortable about returning to teaching for the sake for a few extra ringgit, I am a little more open to the idea of treating yoga as a professional business in the future.


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