Humpty Dumpty Enlightens

In lieu of recent happenings in the yoga world, Humpty Dumpty won’t stay out of my head. 

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.

Humpty Dumpy had a big fall.

All the King’s horses and all the King’s men,

Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

I read this to my husband and he asked “why was Humpty Dumpty on the wall in the first place?” At first I didn’t think much of it until a few days later when I read my post Fall Like a Human to him. His response to my post was “Why was Humpty on the wall again?”

Then it dawned on me:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.

Picture Humpty as the well known leader who sat on a wall pedestal. 

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(Illustration by the talented Meichen Waxer.)

Really, why was he on the pedestal? I mean, sure Humpty is seemingly very smart (considering the size of his head and all), being able to present and persuade us with ideas we haven't previously encountered. But when did we start allowing Humpty to sit on a pedestal in our minds? Part of me wonders if it began or evolved in Hollywood with the phenomenon of being ‘star struck’. We have this habit of creating a star, idol or guru out of someone whose brilliance wow’s us, but that model of leadership is imperfect and always will be - because Humpty is imperfect and always will be. He’s a regular egg human.

Humpty Dumpty had a big fall.

Of course he did - because he was a too high on the pedestal in the first place. Your Humpty, whomever he or she may be, can’t fall unless you place them on the pedestal first. The key is you - you’re in control. Avoid this by never, ever expecting a god-like Humpty. A good Humpty should help you with this and purposefully illuminate the fact that they’re not perfect - not even close. Even though they’ve got great ideas and have an unprecedented ability to inspire and persuade you, they have their own shit to work through and are indeed working through it. Any Humpty’s without their own regular teacher, coach or psychotherapist isn’t doing the work. Be aware of any Humpty’s who expect you to submit your will or expect you to stop questioning. Be aware if they live up to the name of “Humpty.”

All the Kings horses and all the Kings men,

Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

No one can put Humpty back together, except Humpty himself. It’s in the hands of Humpty to retreat for some inner work to fix the fall from the wall grace. But we, the trusty Humpty followers, don’t get off easy either: if the opportunity for Humpty to fall existed at all, we participated in building the steps up to the pedestal. We need to step back and examine how Humpty made it to the pedestal in our head. How could we expect such a level of excellence? Humpty is an egg human, not a god-like guru.

I’m starting not to like the word guru considering it’s recent uses . “Guru,” stems from Sanskrit with it’s most common definition as “shines light into darkness.” This translation works, if we take it exactly as it is - but we often add a god-like expectation to a very human guru. Bad idea.

In yoga we refer to something called the 'guru principle’ which states that everything and everyone can shine light into your darkness, as long as you’re open to seeing it. It could be anything from your pet fish, to a piece of dirt, to a best friend or parent. This means you’re in control of allowing the lessons, new ideas and the 'light’ to come in from any source. If you’re open to it, you can discover new inspiration in everything. You are your own guru. 

And you’re human… super human (as in, really human). So when you encounter someone with great ideas and the gift of persuasion, stay curious and keep questioning. Be grateful if they’re able to shed light on your darkness, but never mistake them for more than a regular egg human. They may be gifted in one area, but you’re gifted in another. You each take the seat of the teacher in your particular area, but never more than the seat of a human, and never on a wall pedestal.