Spirituality, like a mirror, reflects back what we often wish to see in ourselves—innate wisdom, boundless love, or maybe an inkling of something transcendent beyond our everyday experience. But what happens when the mirror is held not by our own hand, but by someone else’s? Entranced by the allure of guidance and wisdom, we sometimes cede our authority, handing over our intuitive compass to charismatic leaders who promise a path to enlightenment. It’s a journey filled with symbols—sacred chants, mesmerizing shawls, the aroma of incense—all of which hold the promise of a transcendental voyage.

Yet, as we explore this uncharted territory, the landscape becomes increasingly complex, as if each step forward simultaneously stretches and distorts the path behind us. There’s a paradox in seeking external guidance for a journey that’s so inherently personal and internal. And while many spiritual guides help us grow, others leverage their aura of wisdom to bind us, transforming mantras into manacles. It’s only when we pause, pulling back the gossamer veil of spirituality, that we recognize the toll of this paradox—fractured asanas, disrupted prana, and an identity struggling between shattered faith and resilient hope. The ensuing poem, “Disrupted,” dives into this fragile space, where the quest for enlightenment collides with the sobering gravity of misplaced trust.


Beneath silk shawls and sacred chants,
I once kneeled, lost in a mystic trance.
A teacher—enigmatic, divine allure—
taught liberation,
yet tightened my chains..

I left that place,
a spiritual net intricately spun,
where chants once uplifting,
now felt like a loaded gun.
Still, I hold the remnants—
like twisted postures—
a disrupted spirit,
as if swayed by unseen impostors.

They called him all-knowing,
his words a nectar stream,
but now I see
he only hijacked my dream.
Gave me rudraksha mala beads,
Sanskrit rhythms to sing,
a veneer of enlightenment,
while crashing my being.

He ushered me toward freedom,
he professed,
but misconstrued the wisdom,
leaving my soul compressed.
A power, he avowed,
emanated from his sight,
but it wasn’t celestial glow;
it was a draining light.

He called himself the door, to realms untold,
Yet passing through, I felt not freed,
but in another mold.
His radiance promised an unworldly sight,
but left me roaming in a different kind of night.

Yoga once was union;
now it feels a regimented drill,
a practice that once unified,
turned strict against my will.
My chakras, once expansive,
feel strategically aligned—
no longer spirals of energy,
but barricades to bind.

In quiet moments,
I still hear his voice resound,
claiming responsibility was mine,
in me the lacking’s found.
But even as I ponder the burden of that blame,
I realize that his lessons and my doubts
are not the same.

Through the debris of devotion, what’s left to find?
A fractured belief, yet a resilient spirit that’s not confined.
Amidst the ruins of reverence, what can remain?
A meditation that’s mine, devoid of another’s chain.

I breathe anew, not bound to his veiled deceit,
inhaling the now, exhaling illusions bittersweet.
Though my spiritual map is redrawn
with cautious lines,
I discover a tranquility
that’s authentically mine.

(2022 © Julia Delaney)


It’s not uncommon to find oneself at the crossroads of faith and vulnerability. When that happens, it’s all too easy to drift along with the current, led by a figure promising enlightenment and solace. As you navigate your path, it’s crucial to stay attuned to your inner compass, acknowledging that no two spiritual journeys look the same—and that’s okay. Even if that path leads you through landscapes marred by manipulation, there’s always a way back to your core self, to a practice that resonates with who you truly are. While my map may be redrawn with lines of caution, I’ve also found spaces of genuine peace and authenticity that no one can take away from me.

For those who find resonance in these words and feel a similar sense of discord or disillusionment, know that you’re not alone. There are places to turn, resources to consult, and above all, internal reservoirs of resilience to draw upon. It’s a path that’s yours and yours alone to shape, but resources like book – “Take Back Your Life” by Janja Lalich and Madeleine Tobias, can offer valuable waypoints along your journey.

Be Alive 🌱
Love ❤️, Julia

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