In 2012, I attended a small ceremony with my art teacher, a striking woman who paints abstract watercolors that speak directly to your heart. The ceremony was inspired by her spiritual study of Native American culture. We played drums, chanted, lit sage, and welcomed everyone as we went around in a circle. I was so impressed with her language and confidence in guiding us through meditations and visualizations—I felt as though she were on a pedestal bathed in light, sharing the light with us as a true spiritual guide.
“I could never guide people through such a soulful experience,” I thought to myself. She is the real deal, but I am a mere spiritual imposter.” I wanted to get to a more soulful place in my own life, for my children, for my husband. I knew that I was the spiritual guide for the family, but as a spiritual imposter, how could I possibly serve that role?
In early 2013, I had a call to adventure. A friend told me about a meditation study that was being conducted with UCSF and the Chopra Center. They were looking for volunteers to go down for a week to meditate. Of course I’d heard of Deepak Chopra and even owned the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. But since I was a spiritual imposter, I figured that I probably wouldn’t actually understand it, so I never cracked it open.
I signed up for the study immediately. I had done some crisis meditating throughout my adult life, but each time I realized that I couldn’t stop my thoughts from swirling in my brain, all I could think was: I’M-JUST-NOT-DOING-IT-RIGHT! So I would give up as quickly as I had begun.
This time, however, I was truly open. I knew that this was an opportunity that fell into my lap for a specific reason. I arrived at the Chopra Center as an open vessel.
The study began at Seduction of Spirit, a week-long yoga and meditation retreat. An hour into the retreat, I received my mantra and meditated with 500 others for an entire 30 minutes. I knew the second I dove into my first meditation, that this was a process that was going to stick.
As the week progressed and Deepak’s beautiful teachings seeped into my system, my visions of possibilities opened at the speed of light. I decided that one week at the Chopra Center was not enough. I’d lifted the lid off of a life-changing gift, and was not ready to seal it back up.
I signed up for the Meditation Teacher’s Training.
I signed up not necessarily to teach others, but to teach myself.
I signed up as a step toward spiritual confidence.
The Teacher’s Path
I received the study materials, which include Vedic texts like The Bhaghavad Gita, The Upanishads, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga. When I saw the stack of impressively challenging titles, I did not back down in spiritual insecurity. I knew that within my essence I would understand them at a deep enough level and be able to share the knowledge with others.
If I had arrived as a spiritual imposter to Seduction of Spirit on April 21 2013, I can honestly say that a year later, on April 22 2014, I was a full-fledged Svadhyana, or Spiritual Seeker.
The seven days that I spent with my fellow meditation teachers-in-training was the glue to make my spiritual confidence stick. We attended lectures by the Chopra University staff as well as incredible guest speakers like Roger Gabriel and Vamadeva. We studied, meditated, and memorized beautiful Vedic chants together. We discussed the texts and how the messages within them are so current in our daily lives, and talked about our families and how they have seen the changes in us throughout the course of our study. We graduated together and held strength for one another as we stepped back into the “real” world.
At the beginning of the week I saw a sign-up sheet for teachers in training who wanted to lead a meditation to our group of 75 students. I knew that it was a hurdle I wanted to jump. It would secure my new position as a spiritual seeker, able to share my enthusiasm with others. The morning that I was to lead the meditation, I was so nervous that I woke up at 4 a.m. in a panic. My imposter fear snuck in.
But it was only for a moment. I sat quietly, did a meditation, and by the end of my meditation it was 4:30 a.m., and I went back to sleep with a calm confidence.
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That morning I took the meditation leader’s seat at 9:30 in front of 75 classmates. I had my notes in front of me in case I needed to refer to them, but as I asked everyone to close their eyes, I found myself doing the same. I guided them as the words gently poured out of my mouth. As I rang the bell to end the meditation I thought to myself, “I am no longer a spiritual imposter, I am a guide.”
A year prior I had never even heard the word Namaste … and now it’s the best part of my day. Namaste.