E009 - How to choose a healer, therapist or teacher

Mar 28, 2020

Hello there

So in today's episode we are going to be looking at how to choose a healer therapist or teacher. Watch the video, or read about it in the blog, posted below:

I’m going to be talking specifically how to heal and thrive in the most direct way while avoiding the potential cul-de-sacs, pitfalls and even traumatic experiences that can set a person back years or even decades if they do work with, dare I say it, the wrong person or get into the wrong hands. In this particular episode we're going to look at questions for teachers or a therapist that one can ask and ethical guidelines and standards that are worth knowing. It's probably, or rather it is almost definitely, a very good idea to get streetwise to enjoy a smoother path of healing and definitely a smoother path than mine and many other people that I know - yeah it’s just that there are pitfalls and cul-de-sacs and I'm going to talk a little bit about how those have come to be and where you tend to find them and how to avoid them and more specifically, it’s really my wish that in putting this out there, it is hopefully helping you to find a more direct path to healing and joy and confidence - and just a freedom of being on a path that you love. Please understand that as I write this and speak this, I’m on my own journey and learning and I don't know everything about this - and I'm gonna repeat this a lot: hold your own counsel. Decide what's useful here from this particular video and throw away the rest. While we're here, if you are into it please subscribe to this video channel - you can click the little button and the bell below to be notified about new episodes. Who am I? I am Jeremy and I've been on a spiritual and healing path for around 25 years and I've had a lot of extraordinary experiences but a lot of it has also been marked by some really tough moments, with teachers whose integrity was not entirely worked through or resolved. My first spiritual teacher for example, changed my life. I had extraordinary experiences and really transformed some, at least the beginnings of, some really deep patterns but simultaneously that particular teacher was also behaving deeply unethically and that community smashed apart. This is in the 90s over a space of a year or two and it took me a while after that to actually trust going into any kind of spiritual spaces because of that. And this is a pattern that I've observed through a lifetime's work and it's become a lifetime's work for me to piece together what feels like an ethical, grounded practice and obviously that work is ongoing… Talking about inappropriate teachers - you only have to look through the last 50, 60, 70 years’ worth of Yogi's and Buddhist teachers heading to the West and Christian evangelical teachers and certain leaders in Islam and just spiritual and consciousness teachers all over the world and even more specifically, a lot of men behaving abusively. There is an extraordinary history of this and people's lives, often young women's lives, getting really negatively impacted and being deeply traumatised by it simultaneously. The same is to some degree also happening to male followers on these paths and there is also crazy drug taking and alcoholism and just a deep lack of integrity amidst all the beauty and so many different extraordinary methodologies that some of these teachers have and it's a deep paradox. I'm going to talk to this paradox about how, for example, a Tibetan teacher an apparently semi-realised, awakened teacher can also behave like a complete asshole and yet we have so many of these examples. We're going to talk a little bit about why this would happen. Another thing to talk about around this are what are called Indian Siddhis but are kind of wanton displays of power that some teachers will use to recruit students. As teachers become more awake and ope,n they can frequently see - you can call it, or see into their students’ shadows or weaknesses or fears and then demonstrate powerful ‘psychicness’, powers of observation - whatever you want to call it and thereby recruit students who then believe that their teacher knows more than they do and is more powerful than they are. Let's all just take a deep breath right now. So we don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater – there are beautiful teachers and teachings out there but getting streetwise about this and seeing through the Siddhis or the acts of power or the apparent but devastating wisdom or even just the beautiful white outfits and the turban and the beard and you know, the speaking very slowly and a whole bunch of things that then just signal ‘I feel peaceful and safe with this person’. But wait there's more.. a few years ago I stumbled on an organisation in the United States called the Association of Spiritual Integrity. I think this is really worth having a look at. For everyone who's watching this, if you're not a member already, there's a link in the description below. The ASI really looks at teachers and healers and sets up a code of ethics that is absolutely worth subscribing to and paying attention to. You know, amongst other things, it says to teachers - please just stop making yourself this Special One, the special channel of energy, the unique source of any kind of teaching because you're just not and the sexual, monetary and many other boundaries that should be in place with teachers (and I'm not saying I've got all of this right at all). I'm just saying that this is a really good place to start introspection from. Simultaneously they also look at it as a person on a path as a student, or as a client. Both what you should expect but also some boundaries and guidelines for each of us on a path to look at and I just want to really speak to one thing in particular that I found fascinating - that they spoke of a triad of responsibility within one's own healing path and the one thing is that we can't just heal at a spiritual level - this kind of notion that we can awaken and get spiritualised and astrologised and do Tantra and meditate and all the things - it's not enough at all. This spiritual aspect - It's a beautiful thing to do all of that but simultaneously we've got to be working at the level of our trauma - that was the second leg of the triad and the third was working through our developmental trauma, in other words what happened to us when we were developing and as a small person. Ignoring some or one of these legs can be very dangerous and I think that's part of what then played out with say Yogic or Buddhist teachers that moved to the West as frequently developmental wounding and trauma hadn't been dealt with and so we had highly awake, really fascinating human beings who somewhere in the downstairs department were sometimes emotionally adolescent, severely dysfunctional and very damaged actually and then acting out on that damage. It's a really tough territory in there and there are a lot of people who have suffered from severe abuse from there. So this is just a call to be streetwise - in all spiritual communities. Just because someone is wearing white robes and has a beard doesn't mean that they’re a safe person to be around. So yeah, I think that's about as much as I'm going to say about it - there are beautiful, profound teachers there are beautiful, profound therapists and it's just a question of finding one that you feel safe with and you feel work like working with. The kinds of questions and principles and guidelines mentioned by the ASI I think are really useful to follow. They just help you hold your own counsel and the idea is to really sit in your body, feeling your feelings and following your gut as you interact with anyone in any spiritual healing community or therapy session. Speaking from personal experience, I know how easy it is to hand over power to one's therapist, to a teacher. A good therapist will keep reminding you that it's you, it's you, it's you and to just stay in knowing that it's your work. It's not about me being some powerful healer that's here to fix you - it's you and your body healing itself! I think one principle that's really good too to think about is the idea of supervision. That it's good to know if your healer or teacher is in supervision and what that means is that they are regularly seeing their own therapist or their mentor or whoever it is, in order to work through any transference and countertransference issues - in other words, the stuff happening between them and their clients plus to keep on working on their own stuff. My favourite teachers are generally in supervision because they are avoiding that trap of thinking that they've got it and that they're enlightened and that they've finished working on their stuff. That there's someone calling them on their shit. There’s got to be checks and balances. Okay deep breath… Another aspect that I just I'm going to put forward is that I think it's really useful, if you can afford it, to do one-on-one work and to do regular one-on-one work. Some of my favourite teachers are in weekly supervision sessions. My personal secret sauce is to keep on attending and receiving one-on-one sessions from a qualified and powerful and clear, high-integrity practitioner. I'm a huge proponent of one-on-one sessions and receiving them (and obviously I give them but that's not what this is about). As I said, for me it's really about holding your own authority and never handing over power to whoever your teacher is and the thing is, is that if a teacher does start putting themselves out as this extraordinary unique channel of energy, it can be very seductive and when you see how powerful they are and they sit in their body and they sit in their being because they've done a lot of work, that can be very seductive for us to hand over our power - I've done it multiple times. I know exactly how to make this mistake, really. I also want to say, as a way of holding your own counsel, doing somatic work of sitting more deeply in the body is really useful but also I think this question of how do we make a decision, is that the right person, is an interesting one and what I'd like to speak to then (and maybe this needs a whole video of its own), is how to make a decision from the depth of one's being rather than from one's ego or greed or a kind of a clawing - oh she's got what I have and what I want and I want to have it too… How do we make it from a much more grounded, deeper-centred place in ourselves. Because it is possible to make decisions from very different portions of our being. We can be up here in our heads and in a panic and make pretty bad decisions and the more we descend into a more integrated sense of beingness, potentially we can make much deeper decisions, much better decisions. So the idea is to even integrate first of all our body, deeply integrate our body into the decision. Secondly, our intuition and our feeling and our knowing. Thirdly our heart and fourth our mind too, the kind of higher aspects of our mind and our clarity, really use our clarity and the lessons that we've learned in this lifetime but to be integrated through our whole being making that decision. And also when we're sitting with that teacher or healer, not being so ‘in’ what they're saying - that ‘oh, they’re just so wise and so awesome, I'm just gonna hand over all my power’ - it’s like in other words you're in their TV but you're sitting back in your own space, hmm, evaluating, feeling, feeling it in your body for yourself, holding your own counsel and your authority but let letting the heart guide you. For me, my preference - and this is really just a preference that I'm speaking here, I particularly like teachings that can combine science and some ‘woowoo’ or spirituality or awakening. I like the interface between the two, the thousands of years’ worth of spiritual history and sitting in caves, dialling into the fine detail of our consciousness that's way beyond the thinking mind is absolutely priceless. And then with the rigor of science and the testing and the peer reviews, is also a really important contribution. Anyway, maybe that's my agenda but it's something I feel comfortable with. If you're interested in the kind of awakening and trauma and therapy teachers who have a combination of those, please just mention it and I'll drop some more of that in the comments section. So, this has been just speaking to some of the downsides - I really also want to speak to the upsides of all of this work. There's so much joy and comfort and learning and growth to be had in all of this. Please do go out there and have fun and discover and find, you know, what delights you. I just wanted to share a little bit of how to stay safe. That you maybe don't need to stumble into some of the cul-de-sacs that I've been on and that you can maybe go a straighter clearer path. I do see that happening around me sometimes. It's really beautiful just seeing people awakening in as clear a path as possible and once again just obviously stating that I'm simply a human being, trying my best. I don't have all the answers but this is what I have to share today. Much love