Important Statement from the Director of TRU Education
The following statement was published here June 2019. The support group page is no longer open. September 2021 update is posted below the original statement for those still seeking refuge or answers to your questions.
Thank you once again for your participation in our unique courses and programs. TRU is a small organization with formal values, mission, and code of ethics designed to serve our cherished community. “Teachers who live what they teach” is the foundation of this organization. Creating a safe, effective, inspiring learning and work environment is my personal primary directive. It is for this reason I am writing to explain why TRU has undergone some dramatic changes and how we are responding to support the community.
After 7 years of co-creating experiential courses, in February 2018 I terminated my work affiliation with Christopher D. Wallis, aka “Hareesh.” Through considerable effort and numerous discussions, I determined it was no longer possible to ensure this instructor would provide students with the safe high-integrity instruction, nor his colleagues the healthy low-stress work environment that our organization’s reputation is built upon. It was my opinion that his behavior was no longer in alignment with TRU’s clearly defined values.
I will not be sharing the specifics of his behavior here, reporting publicly on his conduct is not the goal of this statement. I aim to formalize this separation and offer support to the community in alignment with those same values.
TRU was a vision born in support of my work with Wallis, to expand beyond it with other teachers, and eventually transcend the fallible charm of any individual teacher, to cultivating trust in an institution with integrity, accountability, and vibrant community. I stand by the work that I did with Wallis and acknowledge his talents as a scholar, author, and orator. I witnessed benefit to hundreds of people over the years. Yet, given what has transpired, I can no longer recommend his teaching beyond the academic field in which he is lettered, nor his professional practices.
At the time of the termination, it seemed the ideal scenario was a clean and quiet split. TRU’s public prestige and my personal work was entwined with his accomplishments. Wallis is a charismatic public figure, we share community, and it was my hope we could thrive while maintaining distant yet professional association.
Many of you noticed in April 2018 I cancelled all TRU courses and went quiet without explanation. This was due to personal exhaustion from overworking and overcompensating for Wallis’s lack of integrity while being the recipient of pronounced hostility from him. I suffered serious health issues, including 3 emergency hospital visits, and was not able to fulfill my duties as a leader in the organization. I always intended to return, but it took much longer to recover than anticipated.
For all these reasons, I maintained silence regarding the grounds for Wallis’s dismissal and my personal grievances. I held off on filing a legal suit and truly hoped for the best.
Yet what has transpired in the year and a half since this separation lands more in the category of worst case scenario. As disturbing allegations have arisen from a significant number of Wallis’ students and colleagues, it has recently come to light that he has perpetrated more ethics violations of greater magnitude than I was privy to. Even as the majority of the current allegations fall after his termination, most of the people affected were introduced to Wallis in conjunction with TRU affiliation.
Looking back, it is evident I made an error by avoiding immediate public disclosure of the fact of Wallis’s violations of TRU’s code of ethics. I now realize the violations I witnessed were symptoms of additional harmful behavior that was hidden from me.
I want to acknowledge the healing power of transparency and its role in accountability. Those individuals who have recently come forward with statements have courageously paved the path for others to validate the truth of their own observations and experiences and begin to heal, and I believe that is immensely honorable.
In light of our high ethical standards, I feel that TRU must avoid any endorsement of his choices and conduct by continued silence, ongoing association, or past affiliation.
There are many people who have taken TRU courses with Wallis in the past who are now struggling to separate the teachings from the teacher, questioning the fruit of practices given by a problematic practitioner, doubting the value of their education from Wallis, and fearing a loss of community if they no longer want to be affiliated with him.
After significant contemplation, interviews with dozens of students, mutual colleagues, TRU faculty, and professionals external to the situation, I am now taking what I feel is responsible action in alignment with our values to stop the harm and help the recovery.
To rectify my error of silence and facilitate community healing, I am utilizing the capacities of TRU’s platform to create and gift an intentional safe space for group support, productive discourse, and helpful resourcing so that we can continue to learn and grow through this, together. I invite you to join the free forum, receive support and guidance, lend your voice, and share your perspective. I have gathered some pertinent resources and offer them to anyone affected by Wallis’ behavior. I am taking steps to educate myself and inform this organization on the factors leading to these circumstances so that they may be avoided in the future wherever possible.
Please understand that personally, I have been close friends with Wallis for 15 years, devoted considerable energy to supporting his work, and feel some responsibility for his success and the trust students have extended to him. I sincerely hope that he can learn from the current events, and thrive doing beneficial academic work in the future, putting the “spiritual teacher” role down. I am deeply disappointed in his conduct, appalled by the harm he has caused, and wish to help potential students who may be attracted to his fame make informed choices.
The steps leading up to this statement have been profoundly heartbreaking and this action is done with utmost intentionality in dedication to my personal values and TRU’s codes of integrity, dignity, transparency, and service.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity once again serve this community.
With great compassion for everyone negatively affected,
Founder & Director of TRU Education
Please note, all previous TRU Faculty and staff have been apprised of the details of the situation, many have offered thoughtful input to inform these words and actions, all are aware of these official actions being taken, and some have volunteered resources and to be present in the private group to support the community.
Apply for access to the Community Support & Resources Here
This is a space for anyone seeking to receive or offer support with the intention of healing.
(support group is no longer active)
May it all be for a blessing
UPDATE: 2021 FAQs
Why didn’t you share the details of the stories, what exactly did he do?
Since this statement was published, there have been many who have emailed wanting to know details of Wallis’s transgressions and why I have not offered a full expose.
Simply put, I am not a journalist. There are significant logistic, moral, and legal complexities with reporting other people’s experiences and making allegations which I am not trained to navigate. There are also particular intentions a journalist must have which I do not.
From this relatively mild statement, I suffered significant retaliation and an elaborate slander campaign, as will anyone who shares their story. Victims of any kind of abuse often choose to stay quiet or anonymous because of the additional trauma associated with their stories going public and the power dynamics at play. Retaliation is often far worse than the consequences to the aggressor. Its a lot to ask of anyone to share deeply painful experiences publicly, and its the job of a journalist to do so responsibly and protect their sources as much as possible. I am not trained to do that.
My carefully chosen and designated role was not to expose details of stories for curious minds to grasp for their personal justification. My role was to officially separate from a toxic individual whom I had worked closely with for 8 years, condemn his actions, respond responsibly, support those who had been hurt in the community, and signal a red flag for anyone looking to validate their own experiences. I spelled that all out above.
What has happened since?
In the time since this publishing many brave women, whom I have never met or served, have reached out to me with their own stories and fears and pains from contact with Wallis. I honestly lost count. I remain disgusted with his worsening behavior, which I try to avoid knowing about as much as possible, and he remains blocked on all channels. I have switched careers entirely and went through significant therapy to heal from these experiences. I am grateful to many other “survivors” who have become good friends as we support each other.
How can I decide what to do without details?
Is it really reasonable to think that if you knew the details they would be too mild for you to change your course? I invite you to consider if you actually need details to make your decision about whether and how to trust your own intuition or experience. I invite you to read between the lines, because there is more than enough provided. Practice discernment. Read our Code of Ethics and ask yourself if you are okay learning from a teacher who breaks any of them enough to be fired.
Consider the motivations of women like myself who make claims, and the significant cost to us that really has no personal gain. Notice the power differential at play. Statements are like icebergs, for every visible experience there are a lot more that are not visible or shared publicly. The view is clear, its a wake of women writhing in pain. Do you support that, or want to have anything to do with its source?
Maybe this is all just revenge…
Well, if this is revenge, ask: revenge for what? The impetus for revenge comes from rage, and rage stems from betrayal. Revenge is a response to being very badly hurt. That query is a form of victim blaming. Natalie Portman famously shared: “If a man calls a woman crazy, ask him, ‘What terrible thing did you do to her?'” Let us be done with this diminishment and invalidation of pain.
Can I contact you to talk about this?
If you are a trained and established journalist and want to do a story about Wallis, I will discuss details and other sources with you once proper protections are in place. If you are not, then please don’t contact me. This is literally the worst thing that happened to me, I did my absolute best to navigate it with integrity, and I just want it to be over. I haven’t spoken to Wallis since spring of 2018, yet every time he behaves badly, which way too often, strangers come running to me. I can’t help you and I have nothing more to share beyond what is here.
So why do you keep this statement up if you want to be done with it?
I struggled a lot with that actually, its a very valid inquiry. The fact is, Wallis had zero students/following when we began working together, and, as I say above, I feel partially responsible for his success, and thus power. He’s a really smart charismatic guy, and without me he surely would have still found power and fame. But they way it played out, it was with my support. I’m involved, and that is a hard truth to reckon with. As long as women still whisper my name in his community, then I have some role.
What do I want that role to be? I’d like to remain a strong and honest presence that uses my resources to heal. This statement remains a single thread is what I am willing to keep as a lifeline for those seeking validation. Taking on the leadership role for all those years sometimes means sacrificing for the community. It just never felt ethical to delete this record.
But also, until recently there was no other permanent online report of his behavior. I would like to find a forum or site to move the statement to that is accessible to the public and SEO to remain a permanent record. Any ideas?
I’m suffering, can you help me?
I have tremendous compassion for those who struggle with the disillusionment that these behaviors cause. Its just horrible, really. I am sorry for your pain. Your experience is valid. Please seek help from a trained therapist.
There are those in the inner circle who get hurt the worst, but there are many more who where not directly abused but suffer from the disorientation of learning that someone they trusted and learned beneficial teachings from acts out of integrity, wears a façade, and abuses power. It is also very hard to see this, and want to save others from pain, and not know what to do. I have gotten a lot of emails from those folks too, afraid for their comrades.
There is no blanket response for what to do, except keep doing your best to live the deepest truth you know. Ethics are truth in action. Live by your values and empower yourself with understanding, take care of your priorities. Don’t underestimate potential retaliation. Explore your own conflict avoidance and how abuse of power happens when “good people do nothing.” Do what is right for you to do now. Only you can decide what that is.
Here is a direct response with resources and advice to a recent victim:
Validation is an important part of the healing process, and I want you to feel 110% validated. What you see is real. That self-doubt you feel is part of the gaslighting and emotional abuse, and deeper patterns that led you to be taken in by those methods to begin with. Exploring your own reasons for staying as long as you did, absorbing the consequences of his problematic behavior, and working with the potential psychological and emotional damage of all those gaslighting and manipulative conversations, can be very fruitful. I have found the western psychology lens of ClusterB Survivors to be very helpful and illuminating. Jackson MacKenzie also offers salve for healing in “Whole Again” and explains the CPTSD symptoms associated with thse experiences.
Other book reccs include “Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists”, and “Halfway up the Mountain” and “The Guru Question” (Mariana Caplan).
Okay, so that about covers the FAQ. As a reminder, I will not respond to emails from anyone other than journalists.
I pray for healing for everyone.
I again, encourage Wallis to stick to scholarly roles. Go be a professor! Translate! Write! Drop the spiritual teacher façade.