I want to share myself as I am instead of the way I think will cause me less hassle later. For the most part the way I write and share now—especially online—is calculated. I have an aversion to drama and I make sure to write and share in a way that limits trolls’ access to me. I’m aware of certain long-term repercussions of saying certain unpopular things and I temper those messages. The way I share—or don’t share—does more to honor my insecurities than my calling.
But what if I knew I was going to die tomorrow? What if I didn’t have to deal with the social repercussions of being totally honest; the dent in my reputation that could result from sharing my perspective fearlessly with no concern about your judgment?
Strangely, as I’ve considered this, I’ve discovered that the less I care about your opinion, the more available I am; and the more I actually care about you. The less interested I am in getting social validation from people, the more able I am to produce something disruptive and transformative for them. The less scared I am of you, the more I can benefit you. And imagining that I’ll die soon is the easiest way I know to generate that courage.
So here’s one such truth:
If I had 24 hours to live, I would make it clear how much I admire Bentinho Massaro, and I would leave in my wake content that helps others see him through my eyes.
I’m not referring to the surface character that distracts so many; the 30-somethings controversial cigar-smoking spiritual teacher, though I adore him too. I would make content about what Bentinho has given his life to; what he represents, and the unparalleled degree to which he has mastered his craft. He doesn’t live for his own comfort or happiness or success or progress: he lives to cause people to wake up and remember what they actually are: source. The Self.
If I had 24 hours to live I would tell people that Bentinho’s teachings are the best on earth; they’re genius and efficient and they will save you years of scattered seeking en route to what you truly seek. Bentinho is a representative of your true self—not his own external agenda. He is patiently, generously giving his all despite the reluctance and skepticism and judgment of so many so that they can remember their true nature, limitless freedom, infinite potential, and timeless perfection.
I had my first experiential glimpse of self realization at the end of one of Bentinho’s 2-week free meditation immersions in 2017. For about 30 minutes I laughed and laughed harder at the familiarity. So obvious, so true. I was myself. Oh right, duh. How could I forget? How sweet that I had been so convinced I was this isolated person on Earth, wandering around working on herself, trying to get somewhere or become something. This realization was truer than anything science could ever prove to me. Truer than gravity or math or my name. It was directly true. Experientially true. It was the first time in my life I’ve felt absolute—not relative—confidence.
Then I looked at Bentinho and I started crying. Tears of overwhelming gratitude. How could someone be so patient? How could someone be so generous? I felt immediately sorry for my skepticism and judgment; for ever thinking he had his own hidden agenda for power or recognition. The only thing he got from that experience was that I woke up to myself. He spent his own money, time, and energy for me to remember me. That is what he lives for. That is what he is.
If I had 24 hours to live I would endorse and defend the meticulous example of his teachings which is his life. I would encourage people to see through their biases and aversion to him; to see what it feels like to trust him despite his paradoxical reputation; to follow him earnestly and I would explain why. I would address the common judgments and reservations and fears people have about him and I would explain how to use those fears not as evidence to support your judgments but as good information you can use to see your own blind spots and make leaps in your own growth. I would teach people how to use his teachings and how not to use his teachings.
I would talk about all the other transformational workshops and spiritual teachings and self-help books and online courses I’ve been through and why they’re useful but incomplete relative to Bentinho’s. I would describe what it’s been like traveling with this guy, working with him, attending dozens of his events, going through years of ups and downs with him, and even leaving and later returning to his teachings. I would describe what it is about him that continues to bring me to tears of gratitude and awe regularly. I would make it abundantly clear that there is nothing to fear—this guy is nothing but pure service, generosity, and brilliantly disruptive teachings.
I would admit that I think this is history in the making—future generations may remember Bentinho like we remember Nisargadatta Maharaj or Gandhi or other culture-defining spiritual leaders. I would explain why that’s not an exaggeration.
I think all this because I’ve spent a lot of time and energy subconsciously trying to disprove him. I wanted to prove that Bentinho was egotistical and immature. I wanted to prove that following a spiritual teacher was a dangerous and imbalanced way to grow. I wanted to prove that I was better off paving my own path. As a result this is something I know with more certainty than almost anything else, and this is what I want to share: following Bentinho (with the right attitude and approach) works.
It’s also worth nothing that I don’t think his teachings are for everyone. So when I say “following Bentinho works” I’m talking to everyone who gets it on an intuitive level even if you don’t get it conceptually. The alternative reality you crave—where people are real and transparent and they take responsibility for themselves; where taboos and identity-proliferation and political correctness are burnt away before they can fester; where limiting beliefs get exposed effortlessly, gently, without significance or tedious processes; where being uncompromisingly authentic isn’t an act of social defiance—it’s expected; where the point of coming together is to untangle ourselves from attachment so we can optimize our wellbeing and service to others—this reality that you seek exists and is available at the highest level right here.
If Bentinho Died
Similarly to if I had 24 hours to live, if Bentinho died I would shift into high gear and admit all of this stuff. Easily.
If Bentinho died I would have no reservations about saying these things—I would describe him exactly as I know him to be. No sugar coating. No warming you guys up like I just did with that soft, relatable introduction. If Bentinho died I would feel immediately that I had failed to tell the truth and fully acknowledge the biggest influence in my life while he was alive.
The truth is that the way I feel about Bentinho’s work feels like purpose. Honor. The reason I’m alive. I can’t help but think of that quote by Oprah:
“there is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honor your calling. It is why you where born and how you become most truly alive”
My calling has a lot to do with helping people understand Bentinho, get over their projections and opinions about following a teacher or his controversial personality, and get serious about doing the work.
What have I learned from Bentinho?
To try to answer this question is silly. I’ve learned thousands of subtle, perfectly-timed lessons from Bentinho. Every single time I’m around him I’m learning. I’ve been humbled countless times just by watching him speak to others; noticing his compassion for people who would irritate me, seeing him transform an impossible dynamic into a breakthrough nobody saw coming, delicately working with someone who seems to make no progress only to discover two months later that for her the impact was paramount. I have several notes in my phone saturated with spontaneous quotes from Bentinho. Here’s a recent one:
“True confidence is open. It’s humility. Insecurity expresses itself as arrogance or stubbornness. Why the fuck are you insecure? Be humble! Insecurity is a separating principle. Everybody else on Earth is worthy but you’re the unique one? You’re the one, special unworthy human who is separate from creation? How arrogant is that?”
So instead of trying to summarize everything I’ve learned, I’ll promise to share more moving forward.
This is the schooling I always wished I had—and I often get inspired to share what I’m learning. But until recently I’ve found reasons to hold back.
Enough of that. Enough arrogance disguised as insecurity. This is what’s true for me. This is what you can expect from me. These teachings are what matter to me most. This is what I love more than anything. This is the work I want to dedicate my life to. This is the path I’m here to support and clarify and promote and share.