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26.10.2014 : 8:38 : +0100

IF Paper on the Discussion about Spiritual Teachers

Integrity, Spiritual Teachers, and a School for Integral Spirituality

"Of course, anyone can call him- or herself a teacher. It is wise to learn as much as possible about specific teachers before entrusting your practice, let alone your life, to them. Good teachers have done considerable practice themselves, and may have been certified to teach by their own instructors. They walk their talk, living and relating in ways consistent with their message. They treat everyone, including students, with kindness and respect. Their major convern is with awakening, rather than with ego traps such as fame or power. Good teachers openly acknowledge their mistakes and do not pretend to be perfect. This may be offputting to immature seekers looking for the perfect teacher. But there are no perfect teachers - there are only human beings who teach."

- Roger Walsh, Essential Spirituality, p. 283

 

Sparked by the discussion about (alleged or real) abuse of students by spiritual teachers, that also involved some of the teachers with whom the Integrales Forum is in contact and exchange, the IF board of directors formulated a position paper to demark the position of the organization on these issues. This paper articulates both our ethical premises for ourselves and our work, as well as explicit criteria for spiritual teachers and people in positions of leadership and responsibilty in general. 

Parallel to this and in dialogue with spiritual teachers, the idea of a "School of Integral Spirituality" (SIS) arose, as a forum and space for an encounter of broad science (natural sciences as well as the humanities) and spirituality. We hope for a rich mutual exchange, that on the one hand lays a foundation for a solid scientific and academic basis of the topic "spirituality", as well as a (re-)discovery of the spiritual "heritage of premodernity" (Ken Wilber) as an indispensable cultural heritage of humanity.