Sometimes I lie in bed and think about my many shortcomings — as a writer and a yoga teacher especially. Lately, I’ve come to understand why so many successful people say they’re afraid of being revealed as a fraud. Even Maya Angelou has said she’s sometimes afraid people will discover she can’t really write. And occasionally, we are confronted with the fact that our beloved yoga teachers and spiritual leaders are deeply flawed people.
I realize that because I’m a yoga teacher and I like to talk about spiritual things, people might think I see myself as some kind of authority on these things. Not by a long shot! I’ve had some training and practice, but I can’t do every yoga pose, and I get jealous of people who can. Nor am I always peaceful or nice — just as I was writing this, a lady walked into the coffee shop where I’m working, and her son was being such a demanding little brat that I accidentally laughed out loud at him. Sorry, lady.
Luckily, you don’t have to be perfect in order to be a teacher. You just have to be actively engaged in the process of learning and willing to share what you learn along the way. I think I have some things I can share with people, and I aspire to be a really good teacher, but I don’t believe in faking it till you make it. You have to be honest about who you are and not lead people to believe you’re a saint when you struggle just as much as they do.
Then again, there are people out there like Amma. I’m sure she’s had heartbreak and anger in her life, but when she’s doing her service to the world, she seems to just let love fill her so she can give and give and give. We don’t see if she wrestles with guilt from the past or fear about the future. Maybe she’s grown beyond that, or maybe she just doesn’t share it.
As for me, that’s just not my path. No one would believe I was real if I didn’t curse, make dirty jokes, and laugh at the obnoxious kid in the coffee shop. If I play it too prim, people who know me can tell something ain’t right. So, while you might not like my sense of humor, will you ever find out that I’m a fraud? Nah. Not as long as I stay true to myself.