We all need help at times.
I recommend being open to *anyone* who can provide it, no matter what the form.
I’ve had more than one client recently ask my thoughts about “traditional” therapy, counseling or working with psychologists for certain issues.
They expected me to look down on those approaches, which is unfortunate. Honestly, the idea of me doing so is laughably arrogant, but I get it.
In fact, I was almost certainly guilty of this years ago.
There is a level of arrogance that can be surprisingly common in the world of emotional work, alternative healing and spiritual teaching approaches.
It depends upon whom you are listening to of course, but it is not rare.
Sometimes it’s subtle, sometimes it’s overt. The “therapists just talk, psychologists live in the mind but we do REAL work” is a statement you will hear in one form or another.
Of course, it goes both ways. There are plenty of licensed, studied individuals who would blow off everything I do here, or those I look up to, as quackery.
I get that, and am not concerned with defending it – but I’m also pretty clear on what I do, what it is and what it isn’t. This is not the case with everyone in this field, who are at times happy to call it the cure for everything. I’m also still refining clarity around this myself, which is likely a lifelong process.
Nothing is right for everyone
I don’t pretend to be qualified to work with someone experiencing a psychotic episode, or a myriad of other conditions where a trained professional or medical doctor is warranted.
What I have found, unfortunately, is that many spiritual teachers and facilitators seem to have no problem giving fairly stock “don’t identify with the body” or “just watch the thoughts and feelings arise” answers indiscriminately. “Let’s change that belief” – even to people who would likely benefit from, or even require professional care.
I’m not saying it’s sinister. I am saying I often perceive it as misguided and arrogant.
When you are completely absorbed in what you might call higher level truths
- “beliefs create the experience of reality,”
- “believing thoughts creates suffering”
- “you are just the awareness and not the person,”
and many more, they are SO broad and at such a base level – yes, they may technically apply to everyone
Are they helpful or appropriate answers to give to the person in the midst of their depression or other mental health challenge, auto-immune disease, or even ‘everyday’ struggle? Not necessarily. Often not.
If the person has signed up for that kind of context (going to a non-dual teacher and asking for a take from that perspective) then that is one thing.
That is often not the case, and the boundaries are not often made clear.
Many things like to present themselves as THE answer.
Again, it’s not always directly stated that other forms of help and support are seen as ‘lower.’
It comes in the form of someone giving a stock answer, or some type of inner work process in every case. Never suggesting “you may want to get that checked out,” or “there are other people to speak to about this” but asserting that the answer lies in the universal wisdom of the technique or teaching.
Doing this without discernment can be dangerous and irresponsible.
In my experience, the best teachers and facilitators can shift gears
Here is a video from Rupert Spira talking to someone about depression that a friend sent me. He is a good example of not being married to a particular form of ‘non-dual answer’ even though that is his teaching.
Freedom from the belief in a right, or better way
I try my best to practice letting go of belief in anything being THE answer.
Including “letting go.”
Not only for my own well-being, but in the practice of facilitation.
Sometimes people need more of an ear or a space to share what’s on their mind and heart. Not to be told it’s all a story and to jump into processing.
Some people benefit from being pulled out of their mind for a bit and into some feeling work.
Some people benefit from being told they don’t have to keep trying to “let go” or “allow” things and instead honor what is actually happening inside of them.
If anything I am interested in incorporating the skills or qualities of counseling, coaching and more into what I do rather than being dogmatic.
Some people will benefit from, or possibly require, being recommended to someone with a completely different skillset or approach.
Obviously, I’m a huge believer in the power of guided emotional and energy work, processing with tools like EFT, Inner Reconciliation and intuition that is rather hard to quantify.
- I’ve experienced enormous, life changing results as a student of this work.
- I’ve seen it produce really phenomenal results for colleagues and friends of mine.
- I’ve been told by clients and friends that working with me has produced pretty incredible results at times.
- I’ve experienced areas in my life where it was not enough to do inner work or meditate on it.
- I’ve needed, and still do, support from people with different skillsets.
- Examples: people who know how the body works, people who know more about music, someone who could do surgery when I broke my knee in half.
My job is to help, not to preach a technique or teaching.
My job is also to help myself and not get attached to a certain way it should look or work out (easier said than done!)
I believe this is true for all of us.
Healer, Teacher and The Internet
I’ve made my living as a musician in New York for the last 12+ years.
The thing about “musician” is anyone can call themselves that.
If you own a guitar and play, you can call yourself a musician – and I wouldn’t disagree with you.
Some people will enjoy listening to a ‘novice’ more than me.
They may not be able to go into a studio and read down hard music, but that’s a skill. You can call me for that, but you probably don’t want to hear me sing a pop song.
The same thing is true for ‘healer’ or ‘spiritual teacher.’
All you need to do is say you are one, and put up a website or videos.
That doesn’t put everyone who does so in the same camp with Adyashanti or Eckhart Tolle.
As with musicians, the fact that someone paid for music school or training courses about facilitation says little to nothing about their abilities, sensitivity or whether they are right for you.
Be very careful about this.
Also, you are dealing with a unique human being, not just their training or method.
Anymore than two musicians are the same because they both fit into the same genre.
Someone may be the perfect match for you, regardless what they are trained in.
Try different things, work with different people and trust your own experience of them.
Do not believe any technique, teaching or teacher is the answer.
Take what works for you.
Understand where certain tools fit into your life.
Be open to building a team.
Any person’s journey may include:
facilitators and teachers of inner work, doctors, nutritionists, psychological care, counseling, medication, body work, 12-step programs, community support, changing careers, and so on.
Do not look for a magic bullet or place any approach on a pedestal.
Similarly, try not to look down on other approaches or methods. They may be what you need at some point.
Agreed. I also found this to be liberating, healing, and true. Everybody has a gift to benefit the world with and we may benefit from so many inputs. There seem to be no such thing as ‘The One’…
Spira’s advice is fabulous! I think your attitude is the right one, but not everybody has the maturity to adopt it.
Thank you Sarah! Yes, Rupert is great.