Timing worked out such that I could ask my spiritual teacher in person regarding the best way to handle the conflicting opinions and personalities that had been surfacing in the Agnihotra group.
He travels quite a bit and happened to visit Houston in September that year, a handful of months after the Agnihotra community started.
He was staying with a family friend in Houston. When I arrived at the home and was invited to the living room, I saw my spiritual teacher sitting comfortably, welcoming me with a warm smile. My heart instantly opened and the feeling of home quickly set in.
After I gave my respect and greetings I sat near him. I felt the familiar feeling of being nourished and revitalized by his presence and energy.
After I sat near him and settled in, I realized this was the first time I was in his presence since the efforts to support the Austin Agnihotra community had started.
After catching up, he asked how I was.
I let him know about the efforts to support the Austin Agnihotra community, and I open-endly asked him if he had any suggestions re where and how to direct my efforts to support the Austin community.
The first words he spoke reverberated through my heart. He said, “you cannot escape from being a leader.” I was slightly startled by the response. He went on to add, “because you know more than the others.”
After speaking those words, feelings buried within my subconscious rose to the surface. A part of me wanted to cry inside.
I realized I was trying to escape from the responsibility of leading. The idea of being a leader made me feel exposed and vulnerable, and I felt the fear of not representing Agnihotra appropriately or correctly.
I realized there was a part of me that wanted to walk away from sharing Agnihotra and bearing the responsibility that comes with it.
I realized this was actually why I was so eager to let others lead the group discussion. I was inwardly hoping someone else would step in and take the lead.
I sank my head, as I realized I couldn’t hide from the responsibility of leading and sharing Agnihotra. I closed my eyes and visualized leading the community. I let the feeling of being exposed and worry rise up. I took a deep breath to fully absorb the feeling of fear, and I exhaled to sit with it.
That was the first step for me to accept my role and responsibility to lead the Agnihotra community.
What I didn’t realize as well, this also sparked my next test: how deep was my commitment and perseverance to support the community?