27 December 2018

There is a concept emerging now that the spiritual marketplace is in a huge mess of corruption and abuses by teachers, and that there is need of an organization to provide moral and ethical guidelines for spiritual teaching relationships.

They are using the ethics covering psychotherapeutic relationships as their guide.

To me, this is ridiculous. A therapist sees a client once or twice a week for 50 minutes at a time and excludes any personal, business, or financial relationship outside of those sessions.  

These therapeutic relationships are formal, one-sided in a big way as the therapist is totally in charge of the environment, and the client is a patient.

Usually such relationships have the purpose of finding relief from inner pain, depression, anxiety, or finding relief from issues arising in relationships.  Therapy is considered primarily curative, and only secondarily as a modality for growth or transformation.

A spiritual teaching relationship is entirely different.  It is primarily about growth and transcendence, rather than being curative, and the transcendence envisioned is to go entirely beyond the human, the personality, to the divine, or to the absolute, or to emptiness, goals not even contemplated in any traditional psychotherapy.

It is also two-way, not tightly bound into discrete time sessions, is personal, and romantic feelings can be used for spiritual purposes in any number of ways going in either direction.

But the ideas of outsiders is that the teacher/student relationship is one way only, of the power teacher and the poor, weak, needy student who is so easily abused, a concept that differing power elements in a spiritual organization can use against teachers from other organizations, or used to attack teachers within that one organization.

Outsiders are blind to the fact that the student can abuse other students and the teacher too, in so many ways.

How do you think this problem should be addressed?

Outsiders see spirituality as a marketplace that needs to be regulated and can point to any number of teachers as examples of immorality or corruption that must be punished out of existence.

I really don't see it that way at all.  I don't think I ever had a teacher who was deliberately abusive or more than 50% autocratic.  But it was only when I got with one teacher that I could surrender to that I received any real benefit, and not until I met two women that I could surrender to that I found God both within and without.

Devotion and surrender are essential, but the Western model of the therapeutic relationship does not trust either devotion or surrender as part of it, except to be analyzed as transference.  Surrender to a guru, or a guru surrendering to a student is not contemplated or considered acceptable. 

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