I came across a little something that I think that people practicing Scientology – inside or out of the church – ought to consider while pursuing the higher realms of cognitive development and consciousness it can assist with the attainment of. The following is a segment of a talk by philosopher Ken Wilber on traps that certain spiritual teachers can set for students. I think this applies to both the teacher (auditor/supervisor/advisor) and the teachings themselves. The latter being so, in fact, has prompted several essays by me of late suggesting that while you strive for as close to perfection as you can with technical Scientology procedure, you not fall into the trap of becoming a radical, fundamentalist Scientologist (literalist) whether you are affiliated with the church or not.
From Kosmic Consciousness with Ken Wilber by Sounds True.
Indeed we do have these one or two dozen developmental lines, like cognitive development, interpersonal development, moral development. And you can be very highly developed in some of those lines, medium development in others and very low development in yet others.
What seems to happen with a lot of meditative, contemplative or spiritual teachers is that one or two lines are very highly developed; and they are, indeed, the lines that have to do with the capacity for introspection, for awareness, for cognitive capacity and they can get into some very, very high states of consciousness. So in that capacity they are very highly developed, really authentically highly developed. It is not to take anything away from that accomplishment. It’s just perhaps that their own practice or personality has left two or three or five other developmental lines not very well developed, or possibly atrophied, or possibly even pathological. And particularly in certain types of spiritual development there is an emphasis on, let’s say meditation or personal interior development – that spend hours and hours and hours inspecting the “I” but not giving a lot of time to polishing your inter-personal skills, or your sexual skills, or your moral skills even for that matter.
The fact that you are a great meditator does not mean that you are going to be a great mathematician or have great musical skills or have any of these other developmental lines. The problem comes because some of these states of consciousness are so overpowering and appear to be so all-inclusive in a certain way that it’s easy for individuals to say that ‘because I now have this experience of enlightened oneness, that therefore everything about me communicates this perfect oneness.’ And teachers fall into this trap all the time. And I think anybody who has had these kinds of experiences can see that tendency in themselves; because that experience of ‘one taste’ , particularly when you are tapping into the absolute truth – not just relative – but you are also getting this blast of absolute isness, then it is just impossible for that to be wrong in a certain sense. And in its formlessness that’s right. It is impossible for it to be wrong because there are no parts. It just is. And there it is, you just see it.
That doesn’t mean therefore you excel in all these other areas. The problem comes when students come to spiritual teachers and the spiritual teacher is trying to help the student overcome ego which is a very important part of spiritual growth. You have to sort of grow beyond your own individuality, your self contraction, your separate self. And what the teacher tends to do is then – half the advice they give the student is very good, half of it is usually a disaster.
The good part has to do, indeed, with the areas that the teacher is competent in, and can spot self-attraction, can spot ego and so on. But the areas that the teacher is not competent in, then they start criticizing the student for things that might in fact be very wise on the student’s part but can’t be spotted by the teacher. It can be in anything, it can be in any sort of relation, it can be in the job, it can be in work, it can be in marriage, in any sort of relation you are in. And the teacher is telling you ‘no, you are doing that because you are contracting ego, you are doing that because you are being egoic, you are not taking my advice because you are resisting me. And your resistance to me – the teacher, guru, master – is evidence of your ego, your contracted, illusory ego.’ But it might be evidence of your discriminating wisdom growing and evolving. But because the teacher is not evolved in those areas, the teacher can’t spot that. All the teacher can do is spot any disagreement you have with the teacher as if that is egoic contraction, when the disagreement you might have with the teacher is with that part of the teacher that is a jerk – and you should disagree with that.
If teachers don’t have some form of integrally informed awareness, then it is going to be hard for them to discriminate the areas in which they are competent to make these kinds of judgments in and the areas they are not very competent in. And that is a real nightmare, for everybody. We’ve all had teachers like that. To the extent that any of us are teachers we get caught in the same traps ourselves. And the only thing that we can do is to continue to have this dialogue in an integrally informed context.