John of God, the healer and a prominent community leader who assisted thousands of people, turned out to be a terrifying monster.
How did this happen?
I had heard stories of miraculous healing in a small village in Brazil for many years, yet I never considered going there. However, I personally know around twenty people in my close circle who visited John of God's retreat and spent many months there. They shared incredible tales of healing through the manipulation of light and crystal energies. Some of my closest friends went and returned healthier than ever. When I listened to these stories, I always had mixed feelings – joy for my friends' improved health and happiness, and disbelief in this seemingly easy, magical solution.
John of God, or João Teixeira de Faria, was even invited to the United States to lead healing retreats at the Omega Institute, one of the country's most established spiritual centers.
The news about sexual charges against him didn't surprise me. Over the past decade, I've witnessed numerous cases where male gurus and teachers faced accusations of sexual assault. Most of these cases involved abuses of power and boundaries, rather than monstrous crimes. Some of these teachers' books still occupy space on my bookshelf as valuable sources of knowledge and inspiration. I understand that figures like Castaneda and Sogyal Rinpoche weren't the best human examples to follow, but I can still appreciate their brilliant writing and remain compassionate toward their life stories.
The case of John of God, or João Teixeira de Faria, is far more dramatic. It appears that he was involved in a multitude of crimes that exceed the limits of human tolerance – human trafficking, murder, pedophilia. When I learned about these allegations, I was shocked by the extent of incomprehensible polarities. On one hand, there are thousands of people, including notable figures like Oprah and Bill Clinton, who experienced healing or at least found peace of mind under his guidance. On the other hand, there were young girls held as sexual slaves, reports of incest with his own daughter, and more. It seems as though the entire spectrum of black and white polarities found throughout human history converged in this small Brazilian village, creating a space where good and evil coexisted in yet another act of the universal, wild dance.
As I observe this modern Shakespearean tragedy, I see it unfolding on several levels:
1st level: A leader of any sort is not just an ordinary human being; they also serve as a reflection of the powerful energies present in the organization, community, or country they lead. For instance, Mr. Trump is not merely an interesting individual who happened to become president but a mirror reflecting the polarity of good and bad within our society.
João Teixeira de Faria, the healer from the Brazilian village, assumed the role of a "magical healer" for the suffering masses seeking to release their karmic troubles and emotional imbalances. However, in doing so, he also absorbed and held onto the emotional burdens that people came to unload. Ultimately, he proved unable to manage this energy in a healthy way and ended up manifesting the emotional burdens in the world through heinous crimes.
2nd level: One of the maxims of our culture is "Let's do things faster and more efficiently." Yet, the price of speed and efficiency often renders things unsustainable. We produce an abundance of material possessions but also face pollution and toxic waste. Similarly, we seek rapid healing through Western medicine or magical gurus, but none of them can address the pollution of toxic emotions and imbalanced energies that cause illness. Western medicine has become mechanistic and inhuman, while healers are seemingly losing their sanity.
Why did this story trigger me, even though it's not directly connected to me?
I am a minor leader, teacher, and healer with a small community. I don't aim to heal anyone but rather to teach consciousness and how to embrace all forms of imbalance within one's own system. I also teach myself and others to approach these imbalances with curiosity and kindness.
Yet, year after year, I set goals to expand my healing and teaching business into something more substantial. Now, I contemplate the John of God tragedy with fear and confusion. Will I be able to sustain it if my school grows? Perhaps not me, but one of my dear healer friends who becomes more famous and successful may turn into a monster?
I am currently writing a book on integrating Ayahuasca medicine ceremonies. Ayahuasca is a fast and effective healing modality. Some claim that one ceremony is equivalent to a year of psychotherapy. The number of these ceremonies is increasing in the United States. Will Ayahuasca become a rapid and efficient healing modality for modern humans, or will it become another avenue for addiction? Tobacco, coca, and opium were once known as powerful healing herbs in native communities, but these communities had no concept of speed and efficiency. Their notion of time vastly differs from ours.
3rd level: Healing through light. This Brazilian healer, João Teixeira de Faria, seemed incapable of digesting the polarized human stories and energies flowing through him and his healing business. He claimed to work with angels, but it appears that where angels are present, demons also emerge. It seems naïve to hope for healing from the "light force" alone. To heal ourselves, we must acknowledge the full range of powers within us, both creative and destructive, and learn to hold them.
When examining a leader, teacher, or healer, let's assess if they can handle a degree of polarity before we engage with them. If a leader insists they originate from the light, possess all the truth, are pure, and can precisely discern good from evil for you, exercise caution and look for the hidden flaws.
Certain spiritual traditions possess the capacity to manage dualistic energies – Tibetan Buddhism, Daoism, Shamanic traditions, among others. They can offer assistance, but only to a limited extent. Most of the burden still falls upon imperfect human beings placed in leadership roles.
My perspective on this complex issue is that in the future, many organizations, communities, and countries will adopt more horizontal structures based on collaboration among numerous leaders. A conscious collective may better endure the tensions of polarities. Such communities must possess robust mechanisms for conflict resolution among leadership figures.
Another vision I hold is that there will be more female leaders, or male leaders adopting more feminine leadership styles. Leadership is a substantial responsibility for anyone, especially women who naturally possess greater flexibility, emotional depth, and a tendency to bridge connections rather than erect boundaries – qualities crucial for leadership. Women are inherently attuned to listening and sensing the emotions of others, nurturing and maintaining, rather than conquering. Our modern role is not to conquer the North Pole or eliminate all tigers but rather to preserve the North Pole's icy cover and safeguard the dwindling tiger population. Here's to slower, more conscious, more collective, and relationship-oriented leadership styles!
I understand that many of the topics raised in this article are controversial and require further discussion and elaboration. What is your experience with healing and guru healers?"