Treasured knowledge and wisdom are available now. Authentic well-trained spiritual teachers—teach contemplative science.
They teach the knowledge and methods we need to observe and understand our mind. So we can make it healthy. And so we can experience the sacred dimension of life, at levels unimaginable to most people.
But there’s a problem. As I noted in an earlier post, the form and style many spiritual teachers know and use to teach are often derived from, and best suited for, other times and places.
A PROBLEM: OBSOLETE MODELS
This form and style mimics a Divine Right Monarch Model (DRM). A stance that enjoys a kind of absolute authority and power within their community of students.
The DRM posture is not well-suited to the 21stcentury western mind.
Because westerners are prone to idealize spiritual teachers and so mistake the teacher, as a personality, as the source of life-changing spiritual experiences. Bad mistake.
Many Western students find the “spiritual” part of their identity fused with the divinely anointed teacher.
BEWARE OF PROJECTION
They project idealizations onto the teacher that then trigger experiences that seem to irrefutably validate that their teacher is indeed a divine being.
This misses the point. Which is to explore, practice, understand and realize the fruit of spiritual teachings and practice.
As a consequence problems emerge, nasty problems even. Including sexual, financial and emotional exploitation.
When an idealized figure becomes a voice for spiritual teachings he or she can appear to embody and source them. That’s too often dead wrong.
My understanding of spiritual teacher and spiritual community failures came from long years of experience.
As a psychologist working with badly wounded spiritual practitioners recovering from teacher betrayals. And as a dedicated practitioner within several spiritual traditions.
OUR THREEFOLD CHALLENGE FOR DEVELOPING A HEALTHY MIND
The challenge facing us today is threefold:
1) To make an inspired turn toward our deep interior, to our inner life. To counter the madness of the surface mind’s materialistic nightmare.
2) To attend to and test the spiritual teacher’s contemplative science teachings, for awakening our mind. Not to his or her personality or to the spiritual scene.
3) To develop our capacity for awareness and compassion. So we can break free from ego’s never-ending self-preoccupation and skillfully help others as best we can.