Friday, April 22, 2011

Decafeinated Tea

I could not believe what was being said about Greg Mortensen, and chose not to believe the initial reports. After all, I was getting my news from Facebook, and even in this era of news-from-blogs, I'm disinclined to consider Facebook a reputable news source.

The murmurs about the esteemed author of Three Cups of Tea continued, though, and I decided to investigate a bit further. What I found was most definitely troubling! That being said, this blog entry is not about the veracity of Mortensen's stories, nor the efficacy of his charitable organization; rather, it's about what I consider most in danger in this situation - our reluctance to dream big, and our skepticism that others can live big dreams, too.

We eagerly build the pedestals we put our heroes on, and at the first signs of their fall, we're often the first in line to dismantle these pedestals. This enthusiasm to dethrone our heroes - what does this tendency say about our minds?

We're often hesitant to embody our hopes and dreams. The mental tapes of too old, too fat, not smart enough, not rich enough are compelling background noise, and this static often comes to rule us. Every so often we find a person, a cause or an organization that jolts us out of the ordinary, and we get to touch the raw potency of the human experience. With Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortensen shook many of us out of the ordinary; and at least for a time, we dared to dream big. We imagined a world where the actions of one person created a cascade of positive results, and for a moment we touched our own latent capacity.

We may deny it now, though I distinctly remember the murmurs of enthusiasm as Three Cups of Tea made the rounds of book groups. The possibility of one person creating positive change awakened something beautiful in so many of us!

May we remember this feeling of inspiration, and know that it is latent within each and every one of us. While Greg Mortensen may have been a catalyst for contacting this feeling, he was not the creator of that feeling. It had been there, dormant, all the while. It can be scary to contact that inspired place, and when it is jostled open, fear and hostility often arise.

There are many people doing great things in this world. Some of them we hear about, and the majority work quietly in anonymity. In our busy and hurried lives, we may not notice the good things going on in our own neighborhoods, schools and communities. Our news sources have found that doom, gloom and apprehension grab people’s (and advertisers’) attention, so that’s how they portray our world. While we may feel betrayed by placing our trust in the story of Greg Mortenson, this one incident does not diminish the possibility for individuals to make positive change in this world. It is my sincere hope that the anger and cynicism I’ve observed arising from the recent controversy surrounding Greg Mortenson can be transformed into the burning desire to embody positive change.

Thanks for listening,

7 comments: said...

Well said, Scott. It takes dauntless resolve to walk Mortenson's path of kindness. I'm going to stay ignorant of the scandal.

Anonymous said...

May we still hold Mr. Anderson in VHR (very high regard) ???? Surely his leadership, vision, role modeling, teaching, kindness, intelligence, love and other great qualities make him deserving of at least a good solid yoga brick, if not a pedestal......

els3 said...

amen brother!

eeg machine said...

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salvinder said...
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Mijael "Yoga for Everyone" Brandwajn said...

I'm glad you are tackling this from the yogic point of view.

I wept at least five times while reading the book , and I was moved and inspired by it. While I'm not one to put people on pedestals, but I did feel terrible watching the 60 minutes piece on him.

For one, the thought of how many thousands of dollars were given to his organization expecting to create peace in the world through building schools, most of which seems to be diverted for Mr. Morgensen's private interests.

And secondly, because related to what you said, it creates a feeling of emptiness, of "you see, nobody is as good as I want them to be"...

It's not about "killing sacred cows" for entertainment. I do think that when you present yourself as a Saint, you will be judged as one, which is a cautionary tale to all of us in the Yoga world who have a hard time preventing claims to be "higher than thou".

Just because Mr. Mortensen has helped to build a few schools (poorly and for little effect, as the report has found out), it doesn't mean that he gets a free pass. And just because he doesn't get a free pass does it mean we get to feel like we don't have greatness in us to do better than what he portrayed himself to be.

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