On and Off Your Mat Yoga Podcast
How to Stop Outsourcing Your Spiritual Life, with Lopa van der Mersch
Have you ever put a teacher a little far up on a pedestal or giving away your power when it comes to your spiritual practice? If so, today’s episode is for you. Our guest did just that, she's sharing her story and the lessons she learned on the way.
For today’s episode, I sat down with Lopa van der Mersch. Lopa is a lifelong health seeker and founder & CEO of Rasa Koffee, a coffee alternative made of adaptogenic herbs. She spent years studying esoteric spiritual practices (& found herself in two cults!); has had a whole slew of health challenges that have had her seeking alternative therapies from Ayurveda to Functional Medicine to Shamanism for over a decade. Today, we sat down to talk about embracing nuance dogma and why we shouldn’t outsource our spiritual sovereignty.
Listen to the episode here:
MY 5 BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS EPISODE
1- Discernment is the best tool to get clear on whether a teacher has your highest interest at heart or not. See if the teacher is pushing you in a way that is generative for you or because they are getting something out of it. Some red flags: it's not ok to study with another teacher, you don't have a full sense of freedom, they hold your devotion as something they need and is owed to them, they think they only hold the truth, not open to being questioned, don't encourage you to have your own experience.
2- To balance faith and discernment rest in your own experience. Be open to what comes, connect to your body and your heart, and then be willing to question it.
3- Spiritual sovereignty starts with having a strong sense of self. Self-knowledge and self-trust are the base. Stay open to your teacher's opinion, but don't put them on a pedestal in a way that what they say has more value than what we think and feel.
4- To start to take charge of your spirituality, with self-knowledge, you need to practice self-acceptance. As you cultivate a healthy sense of your needs, you start setting and upholding boundaries. Over time, you build more self-trust and own your voice more fully.
5- We have so much input from the outside that we can start to question who we are. Our experiences are there to teach us and to give us parts of ourselves we need to see, to open to, to heal, or to develop.
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QUESTIONS SHE ANSWERED IN THIS EPISODE
- How can we enter into a relationship of teacher-student instead of guru-disciple?
- How do you describe dogma?
- How can we practice critical thinking while also welcoming faith? And not throw out the baby with the bathwater and turn our back on spirituality or become overly cynical?
- How do we keep our spiritual sovereignty and still work with a teacher?
- What are the steps or some actions we can take to take charge of our spirituality? Reclaim our sovereignty if we tend to give it away a little too much?
ABOUT OUR GUEST
Lopa van der Mersch is many things: Serial entrepreneur. Mother of two. Sustainability advocate. TEDx speaker. Recovering cult member. Three years ago, she added a new chapter: Founder and CEO of Rasa, the adaptogenic coffee alternatives revolutionizing people’s relationship to energy.
2015 was what Lopa now calls “her own personal 2020” — she left a cult, had emergency surgery while pregnant, lost a family member, and had a traumatic birth. Beaten down and exhausted, she needed a source of energy that could sustain her without burnout, crashes, or jitters.
What she needed didn’t exist, so she worked with a clinical herbalist and Rasa was born: adaptogen-rich blends that nourish & energize while providing enough rich, roasty flavor to convert even the most devoted coffee fanatic.
What started with a mom elbow-deep in herbs in her kitchen is now a movement, with triple-digit YoY growth and over 100K customers worldwide.
Rase Coffee: wearerasa.com