482. Panel Discussions on Ethics and Spiritual Teaching

Ethics and Spiritual Teaching Panel at the Science and Nonduality Conference

  • Questioning whether higher consciousness and ethical behavior are tightly correlated.
  • The founding of
    the Association for Spiritual Integrity (formerly the Association of Professional Spiritual Teachers).
  • The attempt to formulate a code of ethics that might apply universally in the contemporary spiritual community and enliven an understanding of what may or may not be appropriate, giving students greater confidence in their own discernment and discrimination.
  • Ancient traditions held the teacher beyond reproach and students surrendered their own will. This may have worked in monastic settings but generally does not work today.
  • Preventative support so we’re not busy doing cleanup.
  • Power hierarchies should not be an essential part of spiritual development and can lead to abuses.
  • Spiritual awakening does not necessarily qualify a person to offer advice on relationships, finances, etc.
  • Ethical training of some sort is integral to most honored traditions.
  • The issue of sexism and patriarchy in spiritual organizations.
  • Entering the teaching profession prematurely.
  • All too often, when teachers are challenged on their behavior, they ignore the challenger or become defensive.
  • How do we offer the possibility for redemption and atonement?
  • Moving away from a culture of competition to one of cooperation.
  • The importance of humility.
  • The importance of teachers not identifying with their role and thinking that students’ devotion is about them.
  • South Africa’s “Truth and Reconciliation” as a model.

Discussion of this panel in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Recorded October 27, 2018

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

 

A Discussion on Teacher-Student Romantic Relationships

  • The Association for Spiritual Integrity does not have a moralistic, judgmental orientation. It’s a community endeavor. We don’t agree among ourselves on certain points. We’re trying to balance our subjective perspectives with standards that fit our contemporary culture.
  • A key point of disagreement is the issue of teacher-student romantic/sexual relationships. None of us are rigid or adamant in our opinions.We’re trying to work it out.
  • There are exceptions to every generality. In graduate school, psychotherapists are taught that it will never be appropriate for therapists and their clients to become partners.
  • Relationships tend to be the most challenging aspect of people’s lives. These challenges shouldn’t bleed into a teacher’s teaching activities.
  • When a teacher/student or therapist/client relationship transitions into romantic involvement, the potential for growth is undermined.
  • Sometimes “divine compulsion” arises in your spiritual path, shattering your conception of appropriate behavior.
  • The problem with teachers who haven’t transcended desire and explored their own shadow.
  • There can be a huge disparity between the apparent enlightenment of a teacher and their behavior.
  • Isolation and being closed to constructive criticism can be very dangerous for a teacher.
  • If a teacher doesn’t have friends other than his students, he might want to ask why. If he doesn’t have regular relationships and is always on a pedestal, he won’t get real-world feedback.
  • The culture is changing anyway. We’re just trying to give voice to values that are becoming lively in collective consciousness.
  • There can be a lot of practice involved in having your actions be a reflection of your deepest understanding.

Discussion of this panel in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Recorded October 26, 2018

Other BatGap episodes with these participants:

Recorded October 26, 2018

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

 

427. Panel Discussion: “Sudden or Gradual: Two Paths to Realization?”


SAND-PanelRecorded at the Science and Nonduality Conference.

There is a perennial debate in spiritual traditions regarding whether realization is direct (sudden) or progressive (gradual). But is this a false distinction? Realization is often sudden, no matter how many years of practice may have led up to it, and even after realization, most people find that refinement, clarification, and the working out of personal shortcomings continue indefinitely.

Who wouldn’t prefer direct realization to years of purification and practice? But how many examples of purely direct realization can we find? Can a path be both direct and progressive? Is it possible to have a taste of our true nature from the outset, and then spend a lifetime clarifying and embodying it? Also, is there one watershed breakthrough which can be universally agreed upon as final “Realization”, or are there many degrees and stages of realization, each of them important stepping stones in a never-ending journey?

Proponents of the direct path sometimes argue that if we regard spiritual development as progressive, we will forever be anticipating, never arriving. But some spiritual seekers, not appreciating the distinction between understanding and experience, mistake intellectual understanding with enlightenment, and consider themselves “finished” when they are just getting started.

Isa GucciardiIsa Gucciardi, Ph.D. is the Founding Director of the Foundation of the Sacred Stream, a school for consciousness studies in Berkeley, CA. Isa is also the creator of the spiritual counseling model, Depth Hypnosis, and author of two books, Coming to Peace and Return to the Great Mother. In addition to her teaching schedule that includes teaching classes in Applied Buddhist Psychology, Applied Shamanism, Integrated Energy Medicine and Depth Hypnosis, she has active practices in Depth Hypnosis and Applied Shamanic Counseling in San Francisco, CA. For more information, please see sacredstream.org.

David BucklandDavid F. Buckland has a graduate degree in Vedic Science and researches and writes on subjects related to the approach, shift, integration, and embodiment of the stages of enlightenment. This reflects a 40 year unfolding that has been prominent for much of his life. But with a more recent series of profound shifts, the exploration became the life itself. Under the pen name Davidya, he brings ancient teachings into modern life. After many years of research, he published the book Our Natural Potential: Beyond Personal Development, The Stages of Enlightenment in 2017.

Previous Batgap discussions with David:

Michael RodriguezMichael Rodriguez – Drawing always from his direct experience, Michael speaks with great clarity and compassion about the undivided nature of Life or Consciousness, pointing to reality in a way that is free from dogma, ritual, or adherence to any particular tradition. He also draws skillfully from the world’s wisdom traditions and integrates Jungian psychology, literature, music, and art into his work to address the full range of human potential. He offers meetings, retreats, and private sessions here in the United States and abroad.

Book–Boundless Awareness: A Loving Path to Spiritual Awakening and Freedom from Suffering

All his work, including his interviews on Buddha at the Gas Pump and Conscious TV, can be accessed via his website: www.BoundlessAwareness.org.

Previous Batgap discussion with Michael

Discussion of this video in the Batgap Community Facebook Group.

Recorded October 22, 2017

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

387. Mukti, Francis Bennett, Loch Kelly: “Emptiness is also Form” (Panel Discussion at the SAND Conference)


On 10/21/2016 at the Science and Nonduality Conference, Loch Kelly, Mukti and Francis Bennett discuss the paradoxical understanding reflected in the famous Heart Sutra’s saying, “Form is emptiness and emptiness is form. Form is none other than emptiness and emptiness is none other than form.” They have noticed that many people get caught half-way after an initial awakening in a kind of spiritual bypass: stuck in stillness, spaced-out, blissed-in or attached to the conceptual belief that “I am nobody.” What are the pointers and supports to realize the already manifest life arising out of the unmanifest awareness? They give examples of the fullness of waking-up from a limited sense of self to pure awareness, then also waking-in to our bodies and waking-out to relating and creating in the world. Loch, Mukti and Francis discuss the importance the dancing emptiness of embodiment and how to live from open-hearted awareness.

MuktiMukti, whose name means “liberation”, is a teacher in the lineage of Adyashanti, her husband. Together they founded Open Gate Sangha in 1996 to cultivate the awakening of consciousness in those who yearn for truth, peace, and freedom. In teaching, Mukti brings flavors of feminine quietude and nurturing as well as kinesthetic, visual, and precise pointers to Truth. Many speak of her being particularly gifted in her offering of guided meditations. Her keen interest as a teacher is in revelation of consciousness touching and transforming human experience. She is licensed in acupuncture and certified in yoga instruction. For sample teachings, audio clips and downloads, and further information, visit muktisource.org. Audio Book: The Self in Full Bloom

Previous BatGap interview with Mukti

Francis BennettFrancis Bennett entered the Trappist Abbey of Gethsemane in 1981 and in the 90’s subsequently lived at a “daughter house” of Gethsemane in Moncks Corner, South Carolina. Until recently, he was living in a small urban monastery in Montreal Quebec. He has been a “spiritual seeker” during all those years, practicing in the Christian mystical/contemplative Tradition and working deeply with teachers in both the Vipassana and Zen Traditions as well. In 2010 he experienced a profound perceptual “shift” in which he realized the ever-present presence of pure Awareness, which some would call, the Presence of God.

You may contact Francis by email, Skype (francisdale3), his Facebook page, or through his website. Francis’ book: “I Am That I Am: Discovering the Love, Peace, Joy and Stability of the True Self“.

Previous BatGap interviews involving Francis:

Loch KellyLoch Kelly, M.Div., LCSW is the author of, Shift into Freedom: The Science and Practice of Open-Hearted Awareness. He is an educator, licensed psychotherapist and recognized leader in the field of nondual meditation who was asked to teach Sutra Mahamudra by Mingyur Rinpoche and nondual meditation by Adyashanti. Loch has worked in community mental health, established homeless shelters and counseled family members of 9/11. He is the founder of the non-profit Open-Hearted Awareness Institute. Loch collaborates with neuroscientists at Yale, UPenn and NYU to study how awareness training can enhance compassion and well-being. For more information, visit lochkelly.org.

Previous BatGap interview with Loch.

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.