Cultivating where you are and Holding Sacred Space in your Community
I want to write this blog regarding the need for privacy. My motivation for this communication is to offer clarity and to help clear confusion from the minds of some bold and eager students.
I understand the excitement of wanting to move near a teacher. This has always been a tradition in the fire pathway or guru yoga. However, in my method of teaching the Water Path, I have always reminded students that each of them, were their own best teacher. I have also been firm in stating, “do not follow me; be your own guru.”
In the traditions of old, the fire path teachers stressed the unity of their students with the teacher because of the ways of awakening from outer to inner, to secret cultivation, required a constant guide. Because of the high possibility that the “consuming” fire that rises through the body could damage the practitioner at the higher levels, the fire path teacher often required the student to be near them in order to provide constant guidance.
We are different. We are the Water Path. The Water Path believes there should only be guidance with the outer and every individual is responsible for cultivating the Tao on the inner; within their inner self. The Water Path student does not need to live next to their teacher for awakening to occur.
During the first level of the Water Path practice, individuals have already cleared any possible obstruction within their own body, mind, and spirit. If a person follows the simple instruction, there is no threat to student’s health or well-being and therefore, no need to be near, or live by the teacher.
In tradition, the Water Path teacher only had two students his/her whole life. The teacher didn’t need to be in the same place for the aspiring, serious student to discover their own connection within the Tao. The teacher would teach what was needed and then disappear back into the forest until the next lesson arose.
This way served two purposes. The first purpose allowed for the student’s self-perfection, with no “in-between person” to affect the outcome.
I have always taught non-attachment and told you not to be a follower, nor rely on a guru.
Empower yourself from within. YOU are everything you need for your awakening.
Secondly, in the Water Path, the heart-mind is open, and there is no need to be near the teacher for your personal cultivation of the Tao.
My Personal Privacy
When I first started teaching publicly and became well known around the world, I did not realize the importance of having privacy and personal space. At the time, I lived on the Big Island, and there were miles of distance away from anything – allowing for a peaceful mind.
However, once I moved to the mainland, my life changed. Students started following me, some spoke of building a retreat near me and some even moved into the same town as me. A simple 30-minute trip to the grocery store often turned into a 5-hour excursion because students frequently stopped me. I was continually teaching informally outside of the class setting, with no rest. People knocked on my door day and night. People sat at my doorstep. I was once thrown into a car and attempted to be kidnapped by students. Such conditions stress the vitality and health of my physical body, and it got to the point where I just stayed home, and Diana did everything outside the house.
Some of you may know, Diana and I have had to move every year for the last nine or so years, having to continually uproot our lives to protect our health, peace of mind, and safety. Finally, we have settled in a place we love and are happy to call home.
Something similar is happening to Kan-san in Japan, where students sell tickets and take people on tours to see Kan-san’s house. People are making money off the degradation of Kan-san’s privacy. Because of this, Kan-san no longer has a safe place he can call home. He has had to move from place to place for privacy. I find this very upsetting.
I will not stand for such living conditions. If it means I must retreat from the world of teaching, I will. During my time with students, I give my most sacred knowledge.
Diana and I are working with students’ weeks before classes start and after. We work with students continuously throughout the year along with 10 or more work hours a day on the computer answering emails, preparing for workshops and classes.
I have very little free time for myself, and with a bit of free time I do have left, I spend practicing so I can further develop myself to assist you further. I enjoy my privacy on my time off from teaching. Just as much as everyone enjoys their day off from work, so do I.
I need anonymity in my hometown. Living in a town where none of my students reside is vital for me to rest on an energetic level. Such conditions allow me to relax my mind from teaching and answering questions. Being able to go into town and not run into anyone who knows me as a teacher gives me peace, ease, and time to be mundane in this world. It gives me time to be an ordinary man with my beloved.
Those of you who know me well, know I have very few requests of my students. The few requests I have created are for my privacy, health, and well-being. One of the things I ask of apprentices is for them not to teach within 300 miles of me. I also do not want students or apprentices moving to my hometown or open a business in my hometown. I do not promote, and I do not teach anyone who lives in my area, even if they were a former student. I will not teach a person if they have moved to my area as it goes against my personal rule to myself, of not teaching anyone in my area.
In addition to my request for privacy, I also want it to be known, that Diana and I have no intention or interest in creating a commune. I have heard of students wishing to build a KUNLUN Retreat or commune. I do not, and will not condone this, have any part in this or be connected with anyone who has plans to do so. This would also be considered infringement, as the KUNLUN System is protected under trademark and copyright law.
For many years, I have requested that students who visit for a class, respectfully maintain silence about the work I do here. This past year or so, I have been explicit in explaining to students that it is not necessary to move to my area, nor is it beneficial or welcomed. It is most powerful to have a community of practitioners spread around the planet. I sincerely thank those of you who are cultivating where you are and holding Sacred space in your own communities.
The Path of Self-Empowerment
My dear students, understand this – this path is designed to promote your direct connection and cultivation with the Tao. This is a path of self-empowerment. It is essential that you practice where you are. If your mind tells you that you need to be in close proximity to me in order to expedite your growth, that is a misperception. If I were to let you think that you need to be near me so that you can advance, I would be doing you a disservice.
It is perfectly natural for students to have a desire to be close to their teacher. For some students there is a natural pattern of the mind that thinks “if I am closer, I may learn more, be around them more, gain secret knowledge, or develop a closer relationship with me teachers,” While this might be true of other teachers, it is not at all the case with me.
To those of you who have gotten angry at me for my request for privacy and need for seclusion, I wish you well. Everything I have shared with you was in the best interest for your awakening. Getting angry at me for wanting my privacy and taking care of myself, tells me only one thing: You haven’t heard anything I said, which means you haven’t learned anything.
To those of you who have listened and heard, thank you for understanding and for honoring and respecting my request for privacy.
I look forward to a new season of positive interaction, continued connection and for the health and wellbeing of us all.
Be well on your path,