Ethics and Spiritual Teaching Panel at the SAND Conference Transcript

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Ethics and Spiritual Teaching Panel at the SAND Conference

Rick Archer: Having been around the spiritual scene for so many decades and having interviewed so many people and all, I started out with the assumption and understanding that there was a tight correlation between higher states of consciousness and ethical behavior. And over the years, the the tightness of that correlation has gotten looser and looser and in my understanding based upon observation, and it always puzzled me. And I’ve, you know, seen so many examples of harm and upset and confusion and damage and people leaving the spiritual path due to that dissonance on that particular issue. So that’s why I wanted to give the talk. And let me just ask you, I mean, how many of you have heard of instances in which spiritual teachers have behaved inappropriately? Okay, most some of you have been living under a rock, but And how many have been personally impacted by such behavior? Okay, so, all of us, you know, have could say some things similar to what I just said, and had also been aware of this issue. And as a matter of fact, other’s talks last year actually touched on some of the same themes. So after my talk, we all had lunch together. And we asked ourselves, you know, what, what can we do about it. And we kind of hatched the idea of forming an Association of Professional spiritual teachers hold up our banner. So over the course of the year, a lot of thought has gone into this, and I just want to acknowledge Jac for having been the primary engine on that train, she’s, you know, really worked very hard. And what we’ve done is we’ve taken codes of ethics from various spiritual organizations, the diamond approach, and Spirit Rock and various other things, and kind of, you know, reviewed them and digested them and tried to mold them into a code of ethics, which could perhaps be universal across the entire sort of contemporary spiritual community. And our purpose in doing so this very much been a work in progress and learning curve, and I think it always will be. And I wanted to spell from the outset, the first impression that some people have when they hear about a code of ethics, or an organization with a board of people that have come up with that code, you know, that my wife initially started calling it the gods squad, because there’s this sort of implication that maybe we think that we are in some way morally superior to somebody and are able to, you know, tell them what they should or should not be doing. But that has really not been our sentiment, we’ve approached this thing with a constant sense of humility, and introspection and acknowledgement of our own flaws and foibles and vulnerabilities. And, you know, and with no sense of hierarchical superiority, or we have no intention whatsoever of being in a position of granting or revoking licenses, or any such thing, as many professional organizations do in other professions, lawyers, doctors, and psychologists and so on. But our hope is to enliven an understanding in our community, our larger community of what is or may or may not be appropriate, because there have been so many cases in which a teacher has behaved in a certain way. And students have abdicated their response, their own judgment and their own discernment, and have had attitudes such as well. This really seems naughty, but this guy appears to be enlightened and I certainly am not. So who am I to say, you know, it must be there must be something to what he’s doing some justification or whatever. And that has, in many cases allowed teachers and their followers to go away off the rails, and to get into very messy situations. So our hope is to just, you know, have some code of ethics that teachers could ascribe to. And if they did, to, you know, join our organization and maybe put a little seal on the website or something, which might be like a good housekeeping seal of approval kind of thing where, you know, there’s some acknowledgement that certain standards are being recognized. And the students in turn would become more cognizant of, of these values and suggestions. And, you know, perhaps have a higher standard or higher expectations for spiritual teachers and not be kind of the word hoodwinked comes to mind for some reason, but you know, not be kind of led astray and taken advantage of in any way whatsoever, sexually, financially, in any way, none of that really belongs in the realm of spirituality, spirituality should be a growth into greater and greater healthiness in all, in all dimensions of our being, it shouldn’t be an opportunity for anyone to, you know, just have indiscriminate romances with followers or, or, you know, divested them of their life savings or, or any such thing that is, it’s such a travesty of the whole intention, of spirituality. And, as I said, at the beginning, and I’m about to finish speaking here and turn it over to others, it has caused a great deal of harm, and disillusionment and confusion. So hopefully, we can evolve out of that as a, again, a broader spiritual community, and we’re making this little effort as a means of, of fostering that growth. Okay, so who would like to speak next? Okay, we divvied up some points and have little notes about what we’re going to cover so that we cover a lot. And do you new, do you have a copy of that yet?

Jac O’Keeffe: No, we’ll just we’ll just follow on from from your introduction. We’ve been trying to keep in mind that we’re looking at traditions that are over 2000 years old, that we know of. And if we’re, you know, being part of this, this wave of where we’re revisiting culture around patriarchy and powerplay, and looking at more equality issues in the diverse nature of what it is to have a human expression, we also have to see that we’ve got over 2000 years of where the Guru, the teacher is beyond reproach. The teacher was in, you know, an enclosed order in monastic situations, and so many traditions, and now know, we live regular lives. And so the power play that is traditionally in place, where the student will bow down to the All Knowing teacher has to be shattered, and rebuilt in some more contemporary, honest and open way that is reflective of our contemporary culture. We can’t do this overnight, we need everybody’s help, to to reach reform, revisit, redesign what the future of spirituality is going to look like, we can’t do it on our own. What we can do is go on the journey ourselves as teachers and say, what would it be in me to be challenged by a student to say, Jack that’s full of crap? Can I Can I invite that in my own workshops of where I can introspect, reflect, be brutally honest, expose blind spots if there are blind spots? And how can that be done in a healthy way and yet maintain the core of what we’re all doing there, which is in order to point towards truth. So it’s not an easy task. And we’re looking at as I suppose riding the wave of art is there with in so many other areas in the world about about looking at human rights, because it is a violation of rights that happens so often for students, and it’s not okay, at the virtues that that you have as a teacher might have to be learned at a later stage in your own teaching career. And it is a career nowadays, we have to pull it away from the mystical mythical on questionable authority. That has been part of what has protected the abuse for so long.

Craig Holliday: What are the things that I began To See, you’re working both as a teacher and as a therapist is just meeting with, with so many other teachers, students. And so oftentimes, you know, I would sit and hold the space and hear this, this tremendous pain that had happened, you know, whether it was, you know, someone being a young child and being abused by a priest, or by, you know, being sexually assaulted by a great non dual teacher, you know, losing a, an inheritance, you know, to to a guru, because, you know, one may have thought that would have brought them special status or been in the inner circle, or whatever it is. It’s broken my heart again, and again, to see this rampant abuse. And, and as, as a therapist, it’s a difficult place to sit to sit and to listen. But you know, and to provide healing support and to do the trauma work and somatic experiencing, and all this, but, but this, this thought just kept dropping into me again, and again, that all this this suffering, it’s unnecessary. It’s, it’s radically unnecessary. And so that’s one of the things that we we saw as a as a community is that we don’t need this, we don’t need to go through this journey again. And again, it’s like, one of these days, the Catholic Church is going to wake up and say, we need to examine our issues with sex and sexuality and celibacy. You know, but it’s not just the Catholic Church. And it happens in yoga centers and dharma centers and Buddhist centers, and non dual communities. I mean, it’s happening all over the world. And, and this was an invitation that arose in all of us to say, yes, why don’t we take some steps forward? Why don’t we offer a community? Why don’t we begin to begin to have this conversation in a way that’s healing that’s supportive, because if we go on Google right now, we could find, you know, another’s new student writing another blog, about this teacher doing that thing. And that’s, you know, how people are filing their grievances. I mean, that’s how this issue is coming forward. But that’s exposure, but it’s not necessarily healing. And in to me, you know, what are the things when we’re speaking about with Mariana Caplan is, let’s talk about preventative psychology, preventative support. Let’s speak about education and growth as a community. So we’re not busy playing clean up. Yeah. Because it’s, it’s unnecessary. It’s ridiculously painful and unnecessary for anyone to spend two decades of their life in a struggling with, Oh, my guru did this to me, Does God exists? Does truth exist? Is anything for real? Will I ever heal from this pain and wound? It’s a ridiculous pain that is unnecessary. And us as a community, we’re just wanting to begin this this conversation again, like Rick was saying, not with judgment, not with condemning, not with saying, Oh, you’re in the group or you’re not in the group. That’s silly. That’s nonsense. But how about we’re all human. We live in an evolutionary world. Now, we can all admit that, you know, relationship tends to be where most of us struggle. So let’s talk about how to relate to our students to each other. How to work with projection and transference and countertransference how to work with with obedience and Chesed siddhi and poverty and poverty, you know, these great issues that have been, you know, that we’ve struggled with and spirituality for for 1000s of years, and it’s a necessary conversation, and that’s what we were wanting to be a part of is a conversation has nothing to do with judgment, but everything to do with growth.

Caverly Morgan: When Rick invited me into this conversation, I was touched in particular that there’s some attention being brought to the collective and by that I mean that I’ve had so many conversations with you folks who’ve had been the recipient are on the receiving end of an abusive power in some form. And I feel intimate with that topic based on my own history in terms of spiritual practice. While mine wasn’t sexual, there’s a way in which I’ve been greatly benefited by seeing different models, specifically, watching Rupert Spira teach, and, and seeing that there, there’s a way in which power dynamic. And teacher being on pedestal is not a required piece of spiritual growth and development and and through my own experience, the recognition of abuses that can happen, when there’s confusion about that. And the collective piece that interests me is the way in which as I’ve spoken to these folks who are the recipient of the abuses of power, I’ve noticed that in almost all cases, there’s a teacher who’s on an island of sorts, there’s there’s not collective interaction between other groups or spiritual communities, there’s not, they’re not interrelating with colleagues in a way in which there’s shared accountability. And just to underline what was just being said, the, the judgment piece around this doesn’t interest me, but watching what’s possible in our collective as we create forms of teaching that more accurately reflect truth, in the greatest sense of the word interests me greatly. And I think there’s a real hunger and a need for it. And we don’t have to look far in other communities to see the downfall of of not meeting that need.

Rick Archer: In this in the spirit of wanting this to be a collaboration among the entire spiritual community, and not something that we are just espousing or formulating, I’d like to open it up to questions even now. We have 45 minutes, we can have a discussion here, and go back and forth. So be sure to have a mic before you speak. Someone will be running around with a mic, and raise your hand. So that mic person can give you the mic and and then we’ll talk. So who is the mic person? There’s a mic. There’s a person, here it comes, Francis.

Caverly Morgan: Yeah, it’s a, it’s a very intriguing idea that I’ve thought a lot about myself. And it reminds me a lot of the accreditation, I guess you’d say that I received as a pastoral care person when I was a hospice chaplain. And one of the aspects of that was a kind of Oh residency that we did, where we learned we didn’t learn specific, theological or spiritual practices or things like that, as clergy people. But we did learn basic principles of pastoral care. I’m wondering if you might consider a two month CPE, which is a Clinical Pastoral Education kind of component that would be required. For this, it would only it wouldn’t take a lot of commitment for somebody, and they would learn basic principles of how to deal with a person pastorally that I think would actually correspond very well to the spiritual teacher student relationship. And that’s already a kind of component that’s in place that I’ve often thought since I’ve been doing this work would be very helpful for a lot of spiritual teachers, it teaches them things like boundaries, how to introduce various challenges to beat like to challenge people in a way that’s healthy, and not kind of

Rick Archer: what’s the word he

Caverly Morgan: Well, or that’s abusing power kind of position. But anyway, I think CPE would be something that could be very much utilized by your organization. Just a thought.

Jac O’Keeffe: Fantastic.

Rick Archer: Thank you. Yeah. And any such ideas we’ll consider very seriously and hopefully, implement as the thing grows. They will respond to that before the next person asks a question?

Craig Holliday: Well, that’s. So these are the types of conversations that we’ve been having. And you know, of course, when you start a new organization, one of the things that we were doing in the beginning is we’re just trying to raise interest and raise awareness. But the thing that Francis brought up is is absolutely loosely needed. You know, it’s something that says, you know, someone who studies to become a psychotherapist or a counselor, you know, you have to train, you have to learn how to work with people. And one of the one of the great things that we we see in this community, especially the non dual community, as people wake up, and then there’s this assumption that somehow they know how to work with trauma, you know, with people suffering, they know how to work with, with every relationship experience possible. They know, financial advisor, financial advice, you know, they know what’s right, and you know, who I should be dating, and, you know, this, this type of thing. And it’s, it’s completely outrageous to have that expectation one as a, as a teacher or two, as a community to assume that that individual knows those things. And so that this is why it’s, it’s helpful, you know, in a sense to be educated, have some type of education, you know, to learn things like what Francis is bringing up boundaries. So there’s so many communities, that if they just simply understood how to work with boundaries, how to work with power, there’d be no problem. Yeah, but just to have that thing, sit in the shadow, and then come forward and turn into this tragic mess, again, is, is unnecessary. And so I think it’s it’s absolutely a necessary component. It’s one of the things we’re beginning to, to work with Marianna Copland, to start to develop these types of things, and, and, and other teachers, other groups. Yeah.

Jac O’Keeffe: And I think it’s important that, you know, that what what we can add to the community is educational. And I love that idea, Frank, because there’s resources that are out have already have a wealth of experience behind them, and we can put in links and add that to as a resource, I love it. Our problem is that we have a culture of people who are teachers who don’t think they need to be educated. That’s the problem. We can provide all of this, but until students say, Hey, what are you doing to maintain your own growth as a person, I would love to give more power to the students where they can, you know, feel that their own autonomy to ask for better standards of their teachers could come into play. So to shift the power back to students, so that education is revisited again, by the teacher so that they can embrace that Being human means being open to educating and improving yourself as a human being, you know,

Rick Archer: I just want to throw in there that the, in traditions, I’m aware of some kind of ethical or moral development is considered a critical part of the path. Like in Patanjali, for instance, you have the Yamas, and niyamas, and, you know, non violence and non covetousness, and all sorts of things like that. And I’m sure in Buddhism, there’s something similar, and hopefully, in Christianity, I’m not as familiar with those traditions. But you know, Francis could tell us about that. But I don’t know if that’s kind of been bypassed, I think, in our contemporary spiritual culture, people just get up and start doing songs and, and they do it. And there’s never a sort of any, and obviously, people can only act according to their level of consciousness. And, you know, if Well, that’s enough. On that point. There’s no it’s not. It’s not a new idea to have some sort of ethical training or attention on those those kinds of things on the spiritual path. And we’re a little bit kind of behind the times and not introducing it. Yeah. Next question. Who else? She has the mic here, get the mic before you ask.

Craig Holliday: Thank you very much for this work. It’s hugely important. And I also like to say that there’s a difference between new ageism and spirituality. And there’s a significant difference in anybody that tries to put me in a new age category. I deject it the other thing I want to say is it’s a group that may have gotten it correct. I was just recently teaching at Kripalu, and I don’t know if anybody follow that story, but it’s kind of interesting.

Rick Archer: I interviewed Yogi Amrit Desai. And we I brought up the point and everything and yeah, go ahead and elaborate.

Jac O’Keeffe: So you know, there was a lawsuit after the the whole thing fell. And you know, there were many wrongdoings that had gone on there. But the lawsuit was essentially and the people one had $50 million dollars to then do sort of rehabilitation and therapy for people that had been wrongly hurt in that environment. So it was an interesting sort of twist on so many things had gone wrong. for them to have taken the money to to attempt to do something, right. So just wanted to throw that out there.

Craig Holliday: You’re one of the advisors who, who helped create healing within the community, Mariana Copland. She’s, she’s working with us. And so these are the types of resources we’re reaching out for. And we’re welcoming, because that is that’s a prime example of how it went really bad. And then as a community that healed and so again, that’s, that’s beautiful to see that, that we’re admitting we’re human, we’re willing to grow. We’re willing to do our work. That’s the That’s a beautiful thing. And then again, even take it a step back if we do our work first, that we don’t have to experience the train wreck and the whole community doesn’t have to experience the fallout. And so, you know, this is, again, it’s an invitation, it’s not like, you know, everything is going to be healed. And you know, from 2018 Going forward, it’s going to be this work in progress.

Rick Archer: And Patanjali says, Hey, I’m a Heyam Dukham Anagatam avert the danger, which has not yet come. And you know, Benjamin Franklin, what a stitch in time saves nine is better than a nip these things in the bud and have to spend $50 million cleaning up the mouth. Yeah.

Wendy Coulter: Hi, there. Thank you so much for doing this. And for putting this organization together. I truly appreciate it. My name is Wendy Coulter and I am teach medical intuition to healthcare professionals, most of them licensed. So you can imagine the ethical issues that are brought up in that. And what I do and this may be a resource for you, is I’ve partnered with a woman named Midge Murphy, who is an attorney and also an energy healer. And she’s written a book for energy healers, but for teachers like myself, it is now a component in my program people have to pass her exam and it’s comprehensive. So I would bring her name up to you as someone to reach out to she’s brilliant. She’s also working with ASAP and a few other organizations for this knowledge and and study.

Rick Archer: Thank you. Thank you lunch and cedar Barstow.

Jac O’Keeffe: Yes, mentioned that Sita Barstow has been working around the right use of power in in many different areas. She has recently as the point was made earlier, we’re late in the game addressing ethics and spirituality. She, she, in the last two or three years has started to work with Zen communities. And we are at the PST offering free webinars once a month, maybe even more frequently, we’re not quite sure it’s all just making it up as we go along to see what works. And so the first Wednesday of December, anybody can come and participate in Cedar barstools to our webinar, through the APS T site for free, where she talks about the right use of power, about the power differential between teachers and students about how to honor that power differential but not to abuse it, and what happens in the dynamics. So it’s a totally passing of skills, she’s very practical. That’s her area of expertise. So we need to pull in expertise, because it’s not in the spiritual sector, but it’s already been developed in the other sectors. And that’s what we need to learn from rather than reinvent the wheel ourselves gonna

Craig Holliday: want and why great shadows is that that it’s assumed in the spiritual sector it is. And that’s where so many teachers in so many lineages we find ourselves in trouble is that there’s this great assumption that Enlightenment equals this or because someone’s sitting in the chair above others, that means they know, you know, some great thing about everything. And there’s, there’s just trouble there.

Rick Archer: We have a stack of cards here, which we’ll distribute later, which have the website on it for this organization. Next question. Someone with the mic, go ahead and hand it to somebody. Yeah.

Mira: Hi, there. I, I know you’re in the earlier stages of this wonderful project. And so what I know what I’m asking is kind of a tall order. But um, have you had any conversations about institutionalized sexism? Because partly, because I think when you have organizations where it’s all men in the positions of power, it’s it’s inherently corrupt. And I didn’t know if you had any conversations around that. Thank you

Rick Archer: say it was intentional that we had an equal balance of genders.

Unknown: Thank you!

Jac O’Keeffe: Yeah.

Craig Holliday: Yeah, Kevin. Nation earlier in the year.

Rick Archer: That’s your question.

Caverly Morgan: You know, the thing that’s arising for me and it isn’t lost on me that so far we’ve had so many women ask questions. It’s, it’s nice to see some women’s voices come into this room. One of the things So that interests me so much about this conversation is because there’s so many people here deeply dedicated to, to a spiritual path. It’s interesting to me that there isn’t that in the tradition, I was raised in guidelines vows were imposed as ways that your ego was revealed as you ran up against them. And I think that we’re in a, we’re in an era where folks are learning so much more about, about who they authentically are, and the guidelines might be helpful along the way as places to reference but that the same power dynamic that actually keeps an ego in place seems less useful to me. And I know I’m not specifically speaking to sexism yet. I’m gonna pass it, I’m gonna pass it back to you. I’m afraid I’ll be too long winded if I continue with the with the

Rick Archer: one little thing I just want to pop in here and then more from others is that at BatGap, we have a very intentional policy of inviting an equal number of men and women to be interviewed. Maybe it wasn’t that way over the entire course of the project over nine years, but these days, it’s like, okay, December is coming up to men to women. And if it gets imbalanced, one month, we try to compensate for it the next month. Anybody else want to see anything? Take another one? Well,

Craig Holliday: I just think it’s rapid in the community. And I mean, one of the things that we see is, you know, the people who are attending, to cause the abuse create the community, they tend to be men, you know, more often than not, and it’s, it’s unfortunate. And so I think it’s really beautiful, what’s coming forward in the collective consciousness, you know, from the, from the me to movement, we can learn a lot. But again, we want to move into a place that’s beyond just the shock and exposure of this happened, and this happened, and this time to say, Okay, now let’s take a step back, let’s take some accountability, you know, who has a willingness to look at their shadow? And to me, that’s, you know, that’s where the rubber meets the road. And that’s where the real conversation is, but it’s, it’s absolutely necessary. What you’re saying to, to investigate all these?

Caverly Morgan: Yeah, it seems it seems to me that we’re we’re in a place where, where we’re trying to bring attention to, to the structures that are in place, because we can’t we’ve we can’t just address the individual without also addressing the societal structures at the same time. The reason this feels like such a long winded topic for me is, is because there’s so many, there’s so many ways in which the abuses of power had been a mis misuse of those guidelines that I think originally were created to support us in living our, from from the recognition of who we authentically are, that they’re that within the power dynamics of, of sexism within the power dynamics of the patriarchy, the, the guidelines, and the rules have gotten usurped by a conditioned view of, of power structure, that that that isn’t in alignment with our greatest understanding and recognition of who we authentically are. So that if we don’t address the the context in which, in which these things are arising, if we’re not naming the power dynamics and the con in the context in which they’re arising, then we can be confused that it can all just be addressed internally, without seeing the linkage between our personal conditioning and our collective conditioning. Does that make more sense? I felt I felt a little rambley about it, but it’s a topic that’s close to my heart because I think something we all have in common is what what what are the ways that we can support moving beyond the breaches in the recognition of our shared being not from a guidelines coming out in in and can constraining. Feeding the mind of duality, really feeding the idea that there’s someone who’s done something wrong and now they need to be punished, but, but more from how to support them. Not having mirrors, for example, that allow us to just see, okay, here’s my internal conditioning. I mean, being raised in a Zen monastery, I had mirrors around me all the time. For better and worse, and collectively, in our spiritual communities, I see the benefit of having such mirrors mirroring our systems of patriarchy, mirroring, mirroring the ways in which I have so many people who come to me to try to, as Craig said, unwind the trauma that they’ve experienced by being in communities where they were sexually abused by a teacher, for example. So I’m I, yeah, I’m interested in and guidelines that support the remembrance of who we are, and the collective support for each other of manifesting the recognition of that, remember, it’s having our actions be on behalf of that remembrance rather than guidelines that feed feed the idea of, of right and wrong and good and bad. And yeah,

Craig Holliday: I think the key word there is is is guidelines, like these are guidelines for things we’re working with are things which we should struggle with, we should deeply investigate, not that this is a rule, and I broke it, and therefore I’m bad. And I think that’s, that’s there’s a real difference there.

Rick Archer: In fact, last, there are certain issues that we’ve been debating all year, and still haven’t come into agreement on. And this will probably go on perpetually. But last night, we spent an hour discussing the issue of relationships, you know, when if ever, is it appropriate for a student and teacher to enter into a romantic relationship, if such a thing begins to kindled during the teaching situation, and we talked about it for about an hour, and I think we’re gonna patch that video onto the end of this one, and I’ll put it up on BatGap, if you want to see it. But I’m just saying that to sort of emphasize the point that not we haven’t come down off Mount Sinai with anything cut in stone, you know, I mean, this has got to be a work in progress. And we intend to remain fluid and malleable and open minded and just keep feeling thinking and feeling into it as we go along. And when I say we, I don’t mean just we for I mean, we next question.

Mira: Hi, my name is Mira. And I’m from Canada. I’m a psychotherapist. And we have one of the very strong thing which call it Sue’s self and effective use of self. So we have you know, continuous supervisions, to understand the challenges we are going through so that the transfer and countertransference is not going to take place. I have been working with clients now more than 20 years, and I’ve seen from simple anxiety, to schizophrenia. And of course, you know, I have been very successful, more than 90% with the sexual abuse has been there. So today I want to bring something new, like you were saying the mirrors, you know. So first part is that we need to train, we need to have a continuous supervision on the therapist. First he needs to address his own challenges, let us say my i in order to put my carton on the wall, I had to go whole life therapy process, which took 207 hours of sessions for years. And I went through all the challenges which I felt, which I saw which I lived with my mom, dad, etc. So that when the when the times came when the client fell in love with me and said she wants to marry me. So if I reject her, so I will be rejecting the attractive sexual beam, and I’m hurting. So very politely I move her away and say, Okay, let’s thank you for this honor. Let us finish your therapy, and we talked about it. And she agreed, and things got settled. But now here comes the second part, which is from victim point of view. And here, I want to bring something new to your attention. I don’t think it has ever been discussed before. And that’s definitely my topic of tomorrow, which is the spirituality of a trauma. So I know that sexual abuse is bad. It should not happen. But nevertheless, we can’t stop it. It’s going to happen. But now the question is, do my client needs to keep on living with that victim mask? Because that is going to affect his life directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously it’s going to affect his relationship. Let us say with is a girl when she is going to get married because have lots and lots of more than 200 300 cases. I have attended last five years. So what I want to bring here, can we introduce a kind of therapeutic process where the person can understand his participation to bring that thing on her? What was that thing unconsciously inside her, which attracted to bring that situation on her. Because there has been studies now by Dr. Vernon Meinhard, in Germany, and we have discovered, we have been proved that every fatal accident is an unconscious form of committing suicide. So how much we are open to work with our unconscious mind, so that I can understand my participation, what was that deep desire inside me, which took me to bring that predictor on me. So I have my responsibility. other person has his responsibility, and it’s a 5050. And it just disappears, subconscious closes it, and now I can live my life completely with 100% availability of that energy, which was hiding me or stopping me before.

Jac O’Keeffe: Thank you. Yeah.

Craig Holliday: Yeah, I think that’s something that I’ve worked with numerous times with clients is you look at the dual responsibility. In fact, you know, within our own organization, Jack was very instrumental in, in, in creating the guidelines for teachers. And one of the things that I thought of was, was, it would be good to have guidelines for students as well, so that there is that dual responsibility, and see what when we have dual responsibility, then everyone becomes empowered. And then we’re not playing that that victim offender, you know, your eternal victim, or the eternal, you know, offender paradigm is that we’re working with both and see, then there is both, and it’s we’re all on the path, and we’re all growing together. And we’re having this experience that, that this, this lady was bringing up where the community grows, as a culture, we grow. And I think that there’s there’s such a power in that, you know, one of the great things that happened with me early on when I was teaching is, is there was I had very much in my life was was still quite messy. And I had some individuals, one of them’s actually seated here in the front row who brought me aside and said, Craig, you know, you need to take responsibility for this. And that willingness, you know, for me to listen, for her to step forward, you know, for the, for the two of us, you know, to switch roles as student and teacher and, and just to see that we’re here together, we’re growing together. And it’s, it’s that kind of power, where the students rise up and say, yes, we want this, like Jack would say, yes, we’re demanding this. And yes, we’re gonna pull you aside and say, hey, no more the monkey business, you know, you need to go to therapy, you know, Mr. or Mrs. You know, Guruji. I think this is a it’s a, it’s a powerful thing. And then it leaves the individual, not in a state of trauma, but in a state of empowerment. And the world grows, is a great point you brought up.

Jac O’Keeffe: I think the other points in this particular discussion is that a lot of teachers are teaching before they’re ready. There are so many too, I got a shock about six months ago, when I realized teachers don’t even know what transcending desire is, they haven’t even gone there. So they don’t even know that this natural pool of sexual attraction is going on. They’re not even that self aware. They’ve seen the truth with their life and their own personal consciousness. They’ve done minimal therapy. They have no sense of being responsible for their own crap. They projected on somebody else, and they use non dual language in order to camouflage the whole mess and continue to abuse their teaching and their immature

Rick Archer: premature emasculation it’s called.


Unknown: Yes, please. Yes, please. Here. Yes. The next Governor of California has wife Jennifer Newsome of doing some beautiful work. She explained to us that men in this culture, have half of their being cut off. hearing it from her I felt my own pain for that. And from the pain I could hear that women have had their being cut off. And when they try to manifest it, our culture and I judge them as angry. And after feeling my own pain, I could hear their pain underneath their anger. And so I was turned away by it, I could enter it and listen. So, Van Jones says common pain is common cause. And I’ve been apologizing in some groups for my own behavior. And I’m very sorry for what I have done. And I hope that I will be healing now for seven generations back and seven generations forward. Thank you. Thank you.

Caverly Morgan: Thank you for speaking up.

Rick Archer: Next question. Over there, I think

Alyssa: Hi, I’m Alyssa, I’m in an interesting situation, because I come from a medical background as a medical doctor, where, you know, we had boards and licenses. And if there were perceived ethics breaches, there was a whole system in place. And now I’m sort of in the spiritual teaching world, where I’m surrounded by people who are not licensed. And I’m witnessing just blatant basic violations of what every doctor and therapists would know, is an ethics breach. And my question is, like, I’m, I’m in a group of 200, people who are best selling authors and spiritual teachers. And I would say 95% of them are breaching ethics. And the question becomes, if you’re in a situation like that, and what I find is that when I challenge people, colleague to colleague, then there is just first of all, I get ignored, they literally act like I didn’t even say anything. And then when I refuse to be ignored, and I press, then there’s defensiveness. And if I continue to like, sort of bring Cali energy of like, No, this is not okay. Then things get extremely heated. This blew up at one point, because one of the members of one of these groups had just gotten out of jail for just murder, basically, involuntary manslaughter. And so the whole community was sort of up in arms over what do we do with this, and there was a lot of emotion because the colleagues had been calling this malignant, narcissistic part in this person out, and nothing was happening, there was no way to follow up. So for example, I could decide I’m a whistleblower. And I could write on my blog and send out to 100,000 people, a list of, you know, 30 people that I could list name a list of grievances, just so at least people who are following these people know, but I don’t feel like that’s my role. So instead, I’m going direct and challenging these people, and trying to find a way that how do we do this? Where there’s possibility for redemption? And atonement? Like, I love what you said, like, how do we give the people who are in those situations away to say, Wow, I didn’t know better? And now I want to do better? And what do I do? How do I make apologies and make amends and atone for this, so that I can actually evolve and grow from this, and I’m watching slim examples of that, but they’re slim. And so I would love to hear what y’all have to say about

Rick Archer: the big one. And we’ve talked about it a little bit, and we’ve sort of, you know, we I think we’ve we felt at this stage anyway, that we were not yet at a, at a place where we could be some kind of sounding board. And it would have to be more than just we to air to hear grievances and take some sort of action on such grievances. But it’s something that somehow has to be dealt with. I mean, in my capacity, doing my interviews, you know, very often things will come to my attention about this, that or the other teacher. And in some cases, they’ve been extremely egregious and and usually the people who bring them to my attention, say, Please don’t name me or tell the person who I am, or, in some cases, even tell them what I said, because they’ll know who I am. And so I’m kind of caught in the middle and usually left with a decision of whether to just take the interview down quietly, which is usually how I do it just disappears. And then it’s picked then people immediately start asking me well, why did you take it down? And I can’t tell them because I’m not supposed to divulge my my source and so it’s this a screwy thing and I wish there could be a lot more directness and you know, healthy confrontation doesn’t have to be an antagonistic because that’s, well enough set Yeah, it’s something that definitely needs to be worked on and we’re not we haven’t worked it out.

Craig Holliday: What are the things well, one of the things that I that came up with with with our support system at a PSD is is I was having this this conversation and with Suzanne, and she was saying, it’d be great yes to have a grievance board. And I said, Well, you know, it’d be great if we weren’t the grievance board, because the grievance board need needs to be created by by professionals. And we need to be accountable to it, as well. So it’s not that we are the judges, but that the grievance board is, is handling that type of thing. And so that may be down the road. But in this moment, what we’re trying to create is education, again, to to change the community, to make it you know, hip to say, oh, yeah, I have a shadow, and I’m willing to look at it, and I fell on my face. Not you know, I’m the Perfected Guru Ji, who’s this level of Enlightenment or whatever.

Rick Archer: I mean, let me just tell you quick anecdote. I, there was somebody who might interviewed and I ended up taking down his interviews and because I was starting to get all this feedback and, and I and I think Greg was involved in a few others actually engaged this person in quite a lot of email conversation, trying to just sort of work it out with him, you know, and, and all and he would write back these like 3000 word, diatribes that I my eyes would glaze over. And the minute I saw them come into my inbox, but finally, in one such long thing, he actually said, I’m perfectly pure, and beyond the need for criticism, and you’re wasting my time. So that was the end of that.

Jac O’Keeffe: Yeah, I think filled there is space for an in between support system, if there is a shift in the culture whereby we could perhaps offer something like a buddy system, where another teacher could confidentially support a teacher who’s saying, I screwed up, and I’m not comfortable being vulnerable. But somewhere, I’ve got to process this, and I don’t want to go to a therapist, and I don’t want I don’t want I don’t want. But if we could offer something, hey, this is peer support. It’s okay. I’m doing the same thing as you’re doing checking to see where’s my shadow? And if we can offer that for each other. And there’ll be safe peer support where, where, you know, so many teachers say, but I can’t go to a therapist because they don’t understand me, it’s like our bullshit, go to another teacher, we understand. You know, we we have the same process, we’ve had the same perspective of awakening and deeper, so So the place to hide because they are awake is gone. But what isn’t there is the structure in order to hold a teacher who is at that point of admitting their own internal pain. I think that’s something we can do. You know?

Caverly Morgan: Yeah. And Jack, it seems to me that with that, you’re you’re talking about moving away from a culture of competition and moving towards a culture of cooperation. Again, that’s something that I think is interesting to me about what you all have started is, it’s I have projected that at the heart of it is cooperation, rather, rather than competition, the heart of it is support and shared accountability. And not accountability in terms of like pointing calling out, but a calling in. As we, as we

Craig Holliday: And that’s a big difference.

Jac O’Keeffe: Yeah.


Unknown: Yeah. That actually leads to my question beautifully. Thank you. Craig, I was very interested when you mentioned the woman in the front being a student who came to you. And I’m really curious, what was it about that inquiry that she brought, that supported you opening to that rather than shutting it on.

Craig Holliday: But I think the big thing is, is not only was she a student, but she was also my good friend. And that’s one of the things that I’ve had as a teacher is, I’ve never been able to pull off the, I’m the guru, and I know something that you don’t, so I wasn’t able ever to sit on that platform back to me, that platform feels disgusting to me, I don’t like to have, you know, those types of this hierarchical structures. And I think that’s one of the things that’s beginning to die, you know, within the community, even though it’s been around for 1000s of years, is we’re finding that you know, even in a place like sad, you can just walk up to any teacher and start a conversation. And to have that, that willingness to listen, to connect to not see yourself, as you know, the great authority on everything. You know, to me, it all comes down to humility. You know, with humility, there’s a willingness to listen, there’s willingness to hear, and, you know, I can even say, you know, she came to me a couple of times, she kept nudging me, and that’s helpful. It’s helpful for students to come forward and say, Hey, think there’s no stop me? Oh, no, no, it’s cool. You know, it’s like, no, it’s not really cool, you know, and to, to really push it a little and for students to be empowered in that way, to me is crucial, and then course the teacher has to be willing to listen. You know, one of the great things My teacher told me was, Greg, you must always have humility in your back pocket. You must have it there. If it’s not, you’re going to get in a lot of trouble. Tremendous trouble.

Rick Archer: I corrected Greg on something just last night he was snoring. Yeah. Whoever has the mic? Yeah.


This hasn’t been like explicitly stated. But I can feel that as a person who benefited from the teacher student role that was a giant projection. And I actually benefited from the trust that I projected onto that teacher, Jack saying, I want to tear it down, there’s there was a part of myself that was like, oh, but then as I sit here, I can also feel the parts of me that have challenged those, you know, friend teachers and other teachers I can think of even publicly in their retreats like very viscerally. And I can feel the expansiveness of what you’re bringing, and what this conversation is, is an opportunity for a deeper relation, student teacher relationship. And a more a deeper awakening, a deeper human co collective experience, it just feels so obvious to me that this is a paradigm shift that is scary at first, it’s like, and it can be used to, I could see potentially, like, you know, this teacher this and there’s such misunderstandings and teachers saying things and then being Miss, you know, I could see that overly being Yeah, but the, the CO the CO conversation just feels so important. And I can feel how those teachers that I have unabashedly felt, I could trust in saying, dude, you you really hurt me there or that was not cool, that really felt like something and they have stood in their beloved strength of of not feeling ashamed, but feeling willing to meet me there. I mean, good God, the the ability and the amazing, like wonderous expansion that has come from that, like, Oh, there’s another human teacher trustworthy being that can have this conversation, it just feels so healthy, inexpensive. So I’m happy about this.

Jac O’Keeffe: Just as the mic is going over, that, there has to be some, in some situations, there is that power differential. Of course, when you’re surrendering, we projected onto a teacher, some of us it really works for that I did that also. And it really worked because I had a clean teacher. If the teacher identifies with the role, we’re in trouble. If the teacher doesn’t identify with the role, it’s not a problem. It’s that simple. But it’s about the teacher not being screwed up, not the methodology. You see, it’s about the abuse of power that’s inherit, the teacher either hides behind the role, or they just see that that the, you know, the devotion that’s coming from student, it’s about the student, first of all them,

Rick Archer: you know, if they do identify, there’s a snowball effect in which the ego gets more and more aggrandized. You know, how’s it going? Yeah,


yeah, thank you for this conversation. I was thinking, reflecting on what Jack was saying, and I just the words, Truth and Reconciliation from South Africa and just keep coming back. That model in which it was the systemic racism that affected not just individuals, but it was the whole community. And here we have systems of power, especially through patriarchy, where, when, especially men are taught that this is their, their birthright, their entitlement to exercise, forms of power and, and ownership. And they’re doing the right thing in terms of how they’ve been conditioned. And so you can I can understand it be compassionate, when there is an awareness and an understanding, like, oh, I, you know, to metabolize 1000s of years of training on so many infinite levels, that teaches someone to be in that position of taking advantage of power. That’s, that’s doing it right on many levels. And so I’m hoping with things like this, that someone studies the model of truth and reconciliation, as happened after apartheid, in which there was an opportunity for both parties to express and fully understand the mutual harm that came about from the kind of ignorances that everyone was suffering under not just those who are like, viscerally and directly harmed but the harm that came in the process of harming someone else, and I can imagine I’m thankful for the gentleman who stood up that there are many of us who would who long for an opportunity to heal those parts of ourselves in which we have perpetrated harm, and an opportunity, perhaps, you know, to to have a truth and reconciliation, mutual understanding, that protects privacy and doesn’t re traumatize, but gives an opportunity for that kind of mutual healing.

Caverly Morgan: Yeah. And it seems that that can only happen in an environment of cooperation and care and shared understanding of mutual the deepest truth, we know.

Rick Archer: Well, this has been really gratifying, I think we’re all really, really thrilled by the input we’ve heard from all of you. And so, you know, there’s still a very fledgling effort here, and we hope to have it grow in in a very wholesome way. And that will necessitate the participation of anyone who feels inspired to participate. So there are a little cards up here, feel free to take a card and that’ll remind you of what the website is. And we’ll be putting this whole conversation up I think probably sands will have it up on their YouTube and I’ll have it up on BatGap and also even last night’s discussion that we had we’ll tie it tie into it and so you know, if if this whole thing has been meaningful to you, please stay tuned and stay in touch and and

Craig Holliday: part of it part of be a part of the conversation and be a part of it rose through it grows through you. It grows through through all of

Rick Archer: us. Give him the whole stack you can pass the cards. Yeah.

Craig Holliday: That’s what we’re inviting is we’re inviting This is to be the birth of something that’s that’s really helpful

Rick Archer: cards will be here on the stage. All right. Well, thank you very much, and thank you. See you around.