“I would never be a part of any group that would have me as a member”– Groucho Marx
I have always been a bit of a contrarian, and generally have found myself at odds or simply bored with many of the groups, shamanic circles, and organizations that I have been a part of.
I think that this is natural in many ways– we simply outgrow groups. Ideally, a group and its members would grow in consciousness and skill, and we would find ourselves in a group where we could stretch and be given space as individuals to grow. I have heard of groups where this sort of idyllic symbiosis occurs, but it is rare (but if you are able to find it, more power to you).
In groups deeply transformational work can be done. There are some traumas, energy patterns, and spiritual states that are better worked with in groups. For purely safety reasons, but also because the creation of an egregore,the thoughtforms and power of each of the group members creating a spiritual energy, and/or the field surrounding many people doing healing work, spiritual work, and so forth is typically a much wider and more impressive field than in solo practice.
But there are many reasons why I am a solo practitioner. There are also many reasons why I teach like I do- one on one.
It is rare that a group creates that idyllic situation where both its members individually as well as collectively are allowed to stretch and grow. Many groups create rules (either consciously or energetically) that are specifically designed to keep people within specific parameters, both in terms of outer practices but also in terms of consciousness.
It is also true that in a group it caters to the perceived leader or teacher of the group. This can be harmful if the teacher or leader doesn’t know what they are talking about, or has jealousy issues, or is a dick who wants people to revel in his knowledge, and purposefully and specifically will take issue with anyone who does not think similarly to the way they do. Unfortunately, this is very common.
Many people become leaders and gurus for admiration and to have people fawn over them. I will perhaps do a separate post on gurus and teachers, because there are some complicated energetics there, but needless to say if you are in a group where all of the members are singularly focused on how great the teacher is and agree with them no matter what they say, that is unfortunately common and something to deeply take issue with.
It is also true that most groups take on the consciousness of the least conscious member. This is an energetics thing, but also practical. If a teacher does not teach to the least perceptive/capable/intelligent etc. person in the group, they will be confused. So things like ethics, rules, and the general consciousness of the group revolve around its least conscious members.
This, obviously, does not lead to growth. It leads to stagnation. It leads to repression. And mostly it leads to the individuals who think differently, understand things differently, or know differently to be cast out of the group.
This is because of collective consciousness. We tend to in groups have a sort of bell curve of consciousness, abilities, and understandings. At one end of that curve is the least conscious member, who sets the tone for the group. On the other end is the outlier, who may be more intelligent, more creative, more skilled, or simply think differently than most of the group members do (the “curve” of the bell curve”).
This outlier will be vilified, persecuted, and generally gossiped about by the members. Either the leader/teacher/guru or the least conscious member of the group will then call the person out. This is a control thing– it is in order to keep the outlier on the other side of things in line– the teacher will not like anyone who does not follow or hang on to their every word, and the least conscious member will create chaos around the fact that someone isn’t pandering to their ignorance.
This is unfortunately something that plays out far too often. Groups often implode because of energies like this– and the least conscious member, the guru/teacher, and the outlier will all have their roles to play in said implosion.
In terms of organizations and schools, many of the same energies ensue. Organizations and schools have a particular sort of energy or illusion about them– and anyone who has grown beyond their belief system, who thinks outside of the proverbial box, or who simply questions the school/organization, its principles, or its goals is likely to find themselves cast out, or just simply ignored.
Throughout most of my career I have joined and then left various groups, associations, organizations, and so forth. This was either on excellent/good terms, where I simply realized I outgrew the group (or didn’t have time for the group) and left, or I gradually sort of disappeared from associating myself with said school/organization/group. In some cases, however, I personally have been part of (or witness to) the implosion of the group.
I can admittedly be a perpetrator, as I do not think gurus or teachers are infallible, and have no reason to fawn over anyone to the extent that most group leaders desire such fawning. Since I tend to think differently than most people, I also find myself on the end of either a stern talking to or someone outright being an asshole to me when I participate in groups, neither of which I particularly enjoy.
This is why I also don’t teach in groups. I have no desire to be a guru, quite frankly. I think that people should think– not just repeat the sort of party line… which is typically of that least conscious person in that group. I also don’t think that groups should have to cater to that person who is unable to handle certain work, or isn’t conscious enough for specific work, or doesn’t have the spiritual maturity to do certain work.
I also have no interest in most people agreeing with me. It is nice when it happens, but it is so easy as a teacher to get into that energy of having groupies– the sorts that have no minds of their own and follow you around like zombies, repeating everything you say, looking to fill the specific sort of void that they have with you and your energy.
I teach people individually to go beyond this sort of group dynamic- so that people can really grow and change and become who they are meant to be. Not to be slowed down by that “least conscious/able” person, not to have their ethics or interests questioned by group members who are unable to think for themselves, not to have people agree with me simply because they are supposed to because I am their teacher.
I would love for people to be able to think in this world. To question. And to not be persecuted for it. To grow as a person, to be all you can be (you catch my drift), to realize your own individual path without interference of the “shoulds” of others, the rules of others who likely have no business of making them, or the ego of teachers who think that they know everything and will smack you down if you disagree.
It is a rare thing to not think in “groupspeak”– to look at what individually works for you. This is highlighted in groups. There are definite positives in groups, but they often head towards chaos, rigidity, and stuckness in order to preserve group energy.
There is a reason why thinking, questioning, and individual growth is not encouraged in most groups. It is because it disrupts the energy of the group, and the energy of the group will have to accommodate someone who is on either side of that bell curve. And it doesn’t like to do that for the most part. And the teacher will destroy anyone who interferes with their ego and fragile sense of self that comes from having everyone agree with, worship, or quote them.
So it is probably pretty obvious through this blog why I remain a solo practitioner these days. It is easier. I have many colleagues and friends who are in similar circles as I am, but most of them are solo practitioners or are only loosely affiliated with groups.
If you are a part of a group, realize that this can be a wonderful thing. But if the group is not allowing you to personally grow, to question, if the group is focused on rigid rules or ethics set by a member or two that are not particularly conscious, or if you are involved with a guru/teacher/leader who needs for people to agree with him/her or they will be humiliated, cast out, or otherwise berated… it is time to question your involvement with said group.