I recently signed up for a Bikram yoga class, and my interest in this particular type of yoga coincided with lots of negative news revolving around the guy who created it. You can read about his (alleged) bad behavior at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/05/bikram-yoga-lawsuit_n_3709518.html. I'm still taking the class, because I appreciate the meaning behind the practice, despite the (alleged) douchebaggery of the guy behind it. It started to make me wonder, though: do we hold people who are in the position of "healer" to higher standards of behavior than regular people?
Think about this: you need heart surgery. You find the best surgeon in the field, and his personality is abominable. He is rude, tactless, and arrogant...but he's the best of the best. Would you stick with him, or look around for someone more pleasant and approachable? I believe that most people would stay with him. In fact, there are some who might actually prefer him over a soft and warm doc. For some, arrogance and a brusque bedside manner communicate a certain sense of efficacy.
Now think about visiting someone of a more "cuddly" profession: an acupuncturist, massage therapist, or reiki practitioner. You walk into their office, are greeted curtly, and find yourself intimidated by their manner. Would you come back? Probably not.
I myself have fallen victim to this particular expectancy that people in holistic professions are all warm, sweet souls. They aren't. Because before we are anything else, we are first and foremost human beings. And we humans come in all flavors. Your dentist, auto mechanic, or mailman can be the nicest people in the world, or they can be malicious human beings, or they can fall anywhere in between on that spectrum. We of the healing profession subscribe to the same set of rules. Yet, I once saw an acupuncturist who does incredible work, but was quick, snappish, and frankly a bit frightening. Her reputation preceded her, so I was excited to meet her...but once I did, I felt completely let down. It was like being a little kid and finding out that Santa was stealing toys rather than giving them away. I always get extremely relaxed after acupuncture, and had a preconceived notion that this particular treatment by this great practitioner would leave me feeling better than I ever had before. When I left, though, I was tense, annoyed, and disenchanted...definitely not what I was looking for.
I recently had a chuckle over a thread on Facebook involving an acupuncturist's experience with meeting some powerful guru. At first meeting, she was taken aback by his rude and condescending manner. She was so confused and upset about how this could be; how could such a well-known and respected healer have such a grating personality? He was a healer!
One of the responses on the thread was basically this: anyone can be a jackass. Healer, acupuncturist, religious leader...no one is exempt from having a terrible personality, even those in professions of servicing others. We simply tend to have less tolerance for it when we are seeing someone who is supposed to be making us feel better!