What is competence in spiritual teaching? The article “Spiritual Competence” by Thomas Hübl (from the Integral Forum) offers a positive perspective.
The following excerpt was posted today by Hübl’s Team on Facebook:
Teachers and students encounter each other at different stages of development, comparable to the development from childhood to adulthood and as an awakened adult. Teachers must be aware of this and students as well as far as they are able. Encounters between the teacher and student will time and time again contain regressive elements coming from the student. The teacher must be aware of this.
If the teacher’s contact with the student is characterized by any lack of clarity concerning the student’s stage of development, this can result in the entanglements so often seen in spiritual circles.
Truly competent spiritual teachers have consciously integrated different stages of growth within their own development. A teacher must be at home on all levels and be aware of his own strengths and weaknesses if he is to be a mirror for his students. A spiritual teacher is basically nothing more than a conscious authentic reflection of various aspects of the student’s life.
Spiritual teachers need to have knowledge of relationship patterns and projections of their students, otherwise the effects of these can overshadow the mystical aspect. Idolization cannot be taken personally by teachers. These energies mostly come from non-integrated aspects or because of the overwhelming nature of transpersonal love.
An encounter between teacher and student does not primarily take place on a personal level. There is a higher level of consciousness that is very clear and this is only reflected on the personal level. This higher level of consciousness always resonates even if the student is not aware of it.
It is often perceived as an overwhelming love or a strong feeling of attraction. This is why it is important to know that these levels can intermingle, i.e. very high levels of consciousness intermingle with very personal levels. These fine nuances here are often not even perceived. And the less integrated a student is, the stronger the resulting overlap and confusion become.
It is important that student be aware of his learned patterns in relationships and his projections so that he can also assume responsibility for them. It is his obligation to deal with this – either with the help of a teacher, a spiritual friend or an in-depth self examination.
Idolization is often followed by knocking the idol off of the throne – an act comparable with rebelling against your parents during puberty. Similar rebellious attitudes against the teacher are frequently a part of the student’s development. Teachers should not take this personally. They have to consciously hold the space that can contain this rebellion. Neither should teachers take other aspects of the student’s developmental dynamics personally. Especially in the topic of sexuality a teacher has to bevery aware and conscious of what’s happening.
Ideally, teachers and students relate to each other in an adult manner, but in our society many individuals have not yet completed their inner development into rational and emotional adulthood. Like children and teenagers, they need an outward expression of their inner guidance.
When spiritual teachers can see the individual developments of different intelligences then they are able to paint the full picture. For example, if a student criticizes the teacher from a regressive position, then he projects his own energies onto the teacher. The teacher needs to able to completely recognize this.
As long as it is not possible to enter the relationship at the adult level, the teacher and student should at least know from which level their relationship in taking place. In most cases, this means that the teacher tells the student what he perceives with respect to the level of communication.
This makes it obvious that teachers need a very high level of competence not only with respect to spirituality but at the ‘marketplace’ of interpersonal interactions. If they don’t have these, then they risk triggering ambiguity, lack of clarity, conflict and re-traumatization.
The main responsibility lies with the teacher because he has the wider radius of consciousness. However, this should not be understood as relieving the student of their share of the responsibility.
Read the entire article.