Is Loyalty a Spiritual Thing?
What is loyalty? Does it have a place in spiritual life? In this special edition of Satsang with Shambhavi, students of Jaya Kula engage in a wide-ranging conversation about the nature of loyalty and its uses and misuses. A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi
Podcast First Words
I know there are spiritual traditions and cultures, particularly political cultures, where loyalty is a virtue. I’ve never agreed with that. I think loyalty is always blind. I don’t even actually get it. What I experience with other people—students, teachers, or whoever—is so way beyond the idea of loyalty.
We just have to be loyal to the process of Nature, of waking up. If someone’s not helping us do that, vamoose, as far as I’m concerned. This idea that you would be loyal for the sake of the virtue of loyalty—I don’t get that. There has to be natural devotion. That’s where I feel the actual staying power lies.
I’m not even quite sure what loyalty is, to tell you the truth. I had a teacher who was very big on loyalty. I always felt like it was basically, ‘No matter what I do, I just want you to stay with me.’ It was a kind of demand, which I just think is stupid. That has no place on a path of waking up.
When we experience who the teacher really is, natural devotion arises, and it can host many, many things. But the question of loyalty just feels like something so contrived and far down the chain. I can’t see where loyalty is ever anything but blind. It seems to be some sort of adherence to something for the sake of adherence. But that’s not the point, at least in a spiritual tradition. We’re adhering to something for the sake of waking up, not for the sake of honoring an attachment. What I feel for you all and my teachers—loyalty doesn’t even begin to cut it.