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RichG

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~ Integrity in the "Spiritual Practitioner/Healer Community" ~

What claims are you making about your work, your practice, your credentials, your "status", yourself?

How true are they? Have you "padded" your bio? Stretched dates? Exaggerated claims? Do you word your experiences, awards and accomplishments in a way that makes them sound like something more than they really are? If you do any of these things, how do you feel about it? How do you justify it to yourself? How do you respond to the self-inquiry that asks why you feel a need to do any of these things? Are you able to convince yourself of your integrity regardless of the "flexibility" of your claims? How do you REALLY feel about it when you look within, in that place that is just You and the Divine, You and Spirit, clear, naked, revealed?

Are you 100% at peace and standing in full integrity when you come face to face with the Divine?

If not, what is your justification for being anything less than that?
Are you deluding yourself in order to convince yourself, so that you can convince others of who you want to be?

If you are a healer, claim to be a healer, think you are a healer, wish to be a healer, do you feel there is a place where you can be one while simultaneously not standing in full integrity with all that you are and all that you claim to be? Does image and the process of "selling yourself", of "creating abundance", trump integrity or justify the possible lapses, the exaggerations?

These questions, and the honest, revealed, un-intellectually contrived answers we bring to them, are between each of us and the Divine, between each of us and Spirit. It's our karma, our life, our soul agreement - our "judgement day".  How shall we play with the hands we have been given?

© 2015, Rich Goodhart
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beyondthegates

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Reply with quote  #2 
How true are they? Have you "padded" your bio? Stretched dates? Exaggerated claims? Do you word your experiences, awards and accomplishments in a way that makes them sound like something more than they really are? If you do any of these things, how do you feel about it? How do you justify it to yourself? How do you respond to the self-inquiry that asks why you feel a need to do any of these things? Are you able to convince yourself of your integrity regardless of the "flexibility" of your claims? How do you REALLY feel about it when you look within, in that place that is just You and the Divine, You and Spirit, clear, naked, revealed? My bio is all true but perhaps written in such a way as to allow for the creativity of the reader to place my status somewhere higher in their estimation, according to their needs. After all, it is a bit of a game, isn't it? I've never claimed a certification or experience I didn't have, but the whole point of a bio in the first place, is to make oneself sound wholly accomplished and wonderful...like any resume...like any CV. Hopefully we do this with integrity. (If you're like me, you are more likely to downplay your actual accomplishments but that is not exactly helpful either!) We are in a fairly unrecognized, uncertified field. Anyone can claim anything pretty much. And the truth is, the public demands that we do. They want that stupid piece of paper, even if it is bogus. But frankly, some of the best healers I've ever known had nothing but a gift.

Are you 100% at peace and standing in full integrity when you come face to face with the Divine? Frankly, no. At least, not recently, but that is not the fruits of my bio so much as my recent life choices. And I have stepped away from healing as a result...or maybe it is more so that my healing has turned inward again. 

If you are a healer, claim to be a healer, think you are a healer, wish to be a healer, do you feel there is a place where you can be one while simultaneously not standing in full integrity with all that you are and all that you claim to be? Does image and the process of "selling yourself", of "creating abundance", trump integrity or justify the possible lapses, the exaggerations? Great question. One of the clearest teachers I know, Adyashanti, has spoken and written of his own inner debates over fraud. He said once he accepted that he was a complete and utter fraud, it all got a lot easier. I love that. For me, I was given the confidence to heal by grace alone and an inexplicable, mystical experience that was confirmed through helping others. But niggling doubts were always there, why me? When I fell from the grace through a series of comparisons and decisions, I lost the confidence as well...to promote myself, to reach out and help,  to feel any right or justification to do so. The more I doubted myself, the less opportunity presented itself, and what I had built slowly faded away. Every once in awhile, the universe hands me someone who needs what I have to offer, and so I offer it, and it always astounds me. And as I heal the stupidity and lack of humility that brought this all about, I realize none of it was ever about me anyway. Only now do I feel some passion returning, some clarity about what it is I offer and why I offer it. It isn't about image or status (and it's certainly never been about money). It's just what has to be done as I live and breathe. I don't know Jack but Jack seems to know me pretty well.

These questions, and the honest, revealed, un-intellectually contrived answers we bring to them, are between each of us and the Divine, between each of us and Spirit. It's our karma, our life, our soul agreement - our "judgement day".  How shall we play with the hands we have been given?

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RichG

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Reply with quote  #3 

Great responses, Beyondthegates. Your thoughts help me to think with greater insight about the questions I asked as they apply to myself.

So, Jack knows you, but do I? [wink]

Most likely you are one of my friends that I invited to join last night, but I can't tell who based on your screen name!

Or....maybe I do..... maybe you are not so "unknown" to me. [cool]


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beyondthegates

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[biggrin] Found out!
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RichG

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Reply with quote  #5 

"We are in a fairly unrecognized, uncertified field. Anyone can claim anything pretty much. And the truth is, the public demands that we do. They want that stupid piece of paper, even if it is bogus. But frankly, some of the best healers I've ever known had nothing but a gift."

(I just realized this forum doesn't have the usual "reply with quotes" option.)

So, yes, that is an essential concern in our field. I resist the idea of 'certification', and certainly some of the certifications I've seen being offered are not worth a whole lot. Yes, you can get a certificate that says you've completed someone's or some organization's specific training, but that certificate does not mean you know what you are doing or that you are good at it, or that you are 'gifted'. Are those 'Certified Trainings' as good, as experientially deep, as tuned in as the ten years I spent working, studying, playing, collaborating with Saruah Benson? (Known to many as "a teacher of teachers", and as "sound healing's best kept secret", Saruah didn't give out certifications. I've studied with Tom Kenyon as well and he also does not give certifications, even as I've seen people claim in their credentials "Certified by Tom Kenyon" but if you see that it is not true.) Some of the best healers I've ever known also had no official papers pinned to their wall. Saruah was one of them. She also had an ability to identify inherently gifted people and invite them to work with her. I never saw her do very much advertising.

On the other hand, yes, anyone can claim anything, and many do. There is quite a bit of gullibility to many of the false and/or lacking in integrity claims, or at least it seems that way based on both internet proliferation of such things as well as personal experience with unquestioning believers of such things. But widespread lack of integrity (shouldn't 'disintegritous' and 'disintegrity' be words?!) is rampant all around our society these days - at least here in the United States it is. And I question our ability to "control" this with an externalized or 'parental' sort of ruling force. I also question the very desire to control this 'integrity crisis' with any sort of external or parental/governmental ruling force. 

I think collective enlightened self-regulation is the best way, the more evolved way forward. That is itself one of the motivating purposes for this forum, which in part arose out of facebook conversations I had with Mitch Nur, Steve Sklar and others. With honorable and respectful intent we can encourage and support a clear and honest dedication to integrity and the discovery of what is true or real within ourselves and in the greater sound healing/therapy community. And we can bring the light of awareness to issues that require it, calling out the nonsense where it so glaringly thrives (as with my 432Hz article).


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9ways

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Reply with quote  #6 
I think many of us are aware that the time to have an 'adult' conversation regarding Sound Therapy is overdue. Up until this point it's been about selling Cd's and merchandise, and promoting pseudoscience as the be all and end all. Actually, people are certified as Music Therapists, which you are entitled to take issue with ( I'm one of them), but none the less they are recognized and certified. We are 'trained' practically from birth ( and we do get a certificate there) that paper is important, and much of it within the sound therapy community is in fact bogus, because most people spend more time getting a drivers license than actually gaining any real 'education' in the sound arts. The problem is that the public accepts this nonsense. But, some of us do not, and we take issue with it. Personally, I feel that a minimum of 125 hours of training is needed which is made up of science, anatomy, psychology, music theory, history, and so forth. When you look at what is available with these protocols there's only just a few learning opportunities in the entire country that follows this. The rest is about having fun, being on vacation, and making a mockery of serious study. And this why there is little to none in regards to integrity.
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RichG

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Mitch,
When you said "I am one of them", did you mean that you are a certified Music Therapist or that you are one who takes issue with the certification?

Just to clarify my position a little bit:
I "resist the idea of 'certification'" in part because as you say, much of it that already is offered in the Sound community is either bogus or is lacking in depth. And I also resist in part because of the idea of who gets to be the official certifying body. Shall the government set the rules? Oh gee, I sure hope not! And then keeping it within the Sound community we all know it could become a huge power struggle between those who see themselves as the elders or the "real" ones - or more so, a power struggle between those with the biggest egos and the most forceful determination to set themselves up as the kings and queens and money makers off of it.

Several years ago there was a new organization created by "leaders" in both the Sound Healing and Music Therapy fields. It was called SAMA (Sound and Music Alliance) and was an attempt to set up such an official body. They had a really good charter statement that they spent a lot of time hammering out between the many factions. I was not a part of it but I was on their email list and followed their development. I think they may have taken a couple of years to work out the details. Once they became official, they imploded and dissolved, I think within a year.

I wish to keep the source of my inside information anonymous (that person can reveal themself if they ever wish to), but I got the impression that the organization was done in by ego and money issues. One thing that happened was that they established a rather large fee structure to be a member and to be officially recognized as a Sound Healer/Therapist by them. As a result almost no one signed up. They then sent out a message to all on the mailing list that they needed something like $4000 in the next few weeks or they would have to dissolve. I wrote to them twice, offering my perspective on the fee structure and also inquiring why they needed the $4000 dollars, suggesting that it might help if they told us what they so desparately needed the money for and why it was essential that they raise it for the organization to continue if they wanted us to contribute. I never received a response.

Anyway... the point is, such an official organization has been attempted and failed. If it is ever to be attempted again may those attempting learn from past mistakes. I will probably still resist (!), while at the same time hopefully finding a way to have my resistance be a constructive contribution to the process.

In general I prefer less control by "authorities" of all types, not more. The best use of governing bodies, in my opinion, is as a preventative or protectorate from abuse and exploitation of individuals, groups and protection of the public/planetary commons (i.e., land, water, air, food supply, trees - yes, trees! We need a lot more protection of elder trees from ignorance and exploitation!!).
As much as I see a huge integrity issue rampant in our field, I am not yet convinced that we need to officially and legally protect anyone, other than through the sort of conscious and mature dialog and education that we are attempting to encourage here.

Again, this is simply my current opinion.

 

PS - I'm fine with the Music Therapists certifying themselves. What I'm not fine with is Music Therapist organizations seeking to control, limit and even outlaw sound therapists, sound healers etc.


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Rich Goodhart
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9ways

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Reply with quote  #8 
When you said "I am one of them", did you mean that you are a certified Music Therapist or that you are one who takes issue with the certification?


I take issue with the way they are certfied. I'm not comfortable with their study format, and other aspects of the curriculum. I feel it's biased to western music only. There are spiritual elements, and indigenous/shamanic elements missing from the studies.

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Sacred Metal

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Reply with quote  #9 

Good discussion. I have never made up a certification I have not studied or received. I have to admit, some of them were a little too easy to get. Or the material seemed a bit elementary but I have studied sound almost my entire life as well as worked with it in different aspects. So some of the the principles crossover to other modalities.

 

I have no degrees but that did not mean did not do enough work for a degree, The system of education is abusive to the outsider who's education does not fall in line with their doctrine. So one who is outside the systems boundaries are then left to find & cultivate their own teaching and methods.

 

This then leads to the misdirection of information due to conflicting sources. Then one is lead to find the source that resonates to themselves and gravitate towards it in hope it is the information (or truth) they are seeking.

 

We can only hope as time goes by, this gets sorted out & all doctrines fall into a similar line so that the truth is not as skewed or at least we can more easily tell the truth from the fiction.

 


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Craig S

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Reply with quote  #10 
A wonderful article, and for me, one that begs the question; if the pursuit of money was not the end game, how would your "bio" look then?


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draytron

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Reply with quote  #11 
Hi everyone, what a great site. My feeling about selling yourself is don't. Talk of the science of Sound or your personal experiences as a recipient.  Let your work speak for itself and people will tell others. Real clean and humble.  
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BenjaminSavage

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Reply with quote  #12 
This may be an unresolvable topic!

My day job revolves around structuring content for college accreditation resulting in all levels of degrees and certifications. I am part of a team working to push the modern United States educational system forward into a competency based education system, or at least with CBE as a much more predominant modality. Within this context I am exposed to the challenges of quantifying what constitutes certification of skill on a high level in a diverse variety of specialties.

The short answer is that we just do the best that we can to prove that an individual knows their stuff.
The awarding institutions and those that govern the requirements for certification do the best that they can to ensure the students can prove their competency the specified skill-set.
These are based on long lineages of institutional regulations, syllabi, government regulated requirements and whatnot.
Even on the college/university level these competencies are ever-changing and updating to a certain degree.
Some students go through a traditional route spending hundreds of hours in physical classrooms learning directly from human professors, while others learn through on-the-job-experience, some now through online interactive courses, and some solely through personal curiosity and drive. In the end, each student must submit to some agreed upon method of evaluation to prove their mastery of a set of competencies.
But these evaluations are not universal, as many immigrants to the U.S. can attest to: their degree awarded from their country of origin's system is not necessarily valid in this other system.

In the end though, a certification or degree can be awarded to an individual, but that does not necessarily signify their superiority OVER someone who does not have that certificate, who went through a different path to come to the same or higher quality of mastery in the same areas.

The desire for a certificate, proof of a lineage, of credentials is in part a desire for a lazy shortcut. We want to know through a simple, immediately representative set of phrases or symbols, that the individual we are seeking is a master of their skills. We have been conditioned to believe that a fancy piece of paper with signatures on it is this signifier.

I am certain we have all encountered professionals with high-level credentials who are by no means the best example of their tradition. Ever gone to a quack doctor? I am sure we have all graduated with fellow students whom we would never recommend for a job at our own company.

In the end, the Universe remains infinite, each individual needs to be assessed individually and within relative context. No shortcuts will yield a full assessment, no certificate or course program will guarantee total mastery because each individual is an infinite cosmos interacting with other infinite cosmoses within an infinite cosmos- Its just too much to claim total control over. We do the best that we can.

The best we can do is to be vigilant and impeccable as we create our own lineage and courses for mastery, and let intuition and the mysterious universal forces of cause and effect to continue to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Lead by best example.


"If you want to get laid go to college. If you want an education, go to the library." - Frank Zappa

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bob dulang

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Reply with quote  #13 
I think there is nothing wrong with wanting profit in this.  We all need food and shelter.  Having said that, a sound therapy certificate and five dollars will get you a tasty cup of coffee.

Nice Zappa quote; I just read his book.


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RichG

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Reply with quote  #14 

Thanks for the thoughts and comments everyone!

As site Admin, in addition to my 'subscribe' setting for this thread, I should be receiving notices of all posts, but was not notified of Drayton or Craig's posts - however I did get notice of Benjamin's post and are just seeing them all this morning.

I'm glad this topic has attracted significant interest.
My original post was meant as a personal challenge to anyone who reads it, as I said "between each of us and the Divine", and equally a challenge to myself to examine how I present my own work to the world.

Great thoughts and insight Benjamin, I particularly like the summation:
"The best we can do is to be vigilant and impeccable as we create our own lineage and courses for mastery,"
Our own conscience is a good thing and I'm all for exhalting it instead of marginalizing it or ignoring it when seemingly convenient to do so. What damage might we do to ourselves when we ignore its voice?

Good question Craig S. - kind of sums up much of the essence of the original post in one succinct thought.

Drayton: "My feeling about selling yourself is don't."
Honestly, I sometimes struggle with that. My default position is that I don't. However I sometimes seem to feel the need to do so, or it may even be required of me in certain situations, but it usually feels an awkward an unnatural act!

In some regards I admire those that can sell themselves so seemingly effortlessly and effectively, while also often saddened by how much of it falls into the realm that motivated me to write the original post above.

I also agree with Bob D about profit/food/shelter, and thus receiving fair exchange for our work. Like it or not we have to deal with the financial system we currently find ourselves in. With this in mind, I do occasionally and reluctantly attempt to improve the marketing of my work - with vigilance and impeccability of course! [smile] 

But regarding those $5, how about skipping a coffee today and giving it to the Bernie Sanders Campaign before midnight tonight! 
(Oh no, politics in the Sound Healing Forum!!! Admin abuse of privilege!!! [eek] 


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                cancelled due to the COVID-19 virus.***

Rich Goodhart
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http://www.facebook.com/Rich-Goodhart-Music-118609091489499/
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BenjaminSavage

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig S
A wonderful article, and for me, one that begs the question; if the pursuit of money was not the end game, how would your "bio" look then?


On the issue of the pursuit of income:

I notice that there seems to be a negative change that occurs once sound-workers rely solely upon their craft for financial support for their lives. Once it becomes the sole source of income, people seem to get defensive and territorial.

It is definitely something to note that a lot of the people who are in this sound-therapy community come from a background of disenchantment with religious institutions that have demystified, commodified, and rigidly politicized the spiritual-infinite.

We rightly react with disgust at the commercialization of the most holy, at the exploitation of the loving traditions, and at the disruptive and dissonant rigid boundaries set upon the infinite. We rightly defend against the middle-man-guru who claims to be our ambassador-governor to our own personal connection to our intuition (aka inner voice, god, spirit world, akashic records, etc.). When the spiritual is turned to political and used to separate people rather than to bring them together, something has been twisted and lost. When that which should be freely available to all for mass benefit is controlled by the few, something has been twisted and lost. When that which is infinite and ineffable is simplified and compartmentalized, something has been twisted and lost. Let's make sure we do not follow in those separatist footsteps.

We are allegedly hoping to heal, unify, and spread love and wisdom to all. Yet, I see similar internal conflicts at play in the gong community as we see in the religious community; people on sides, people attacking others for their differences of approach or understanding rather than communicating directly and accepting that there are different strokes for different folks. We see political machinations. I believe most of these political sort of positioning can be attributed to issues of ideology and money, the same reasons in the religious communities. Can the gong community be an example of a unified group of different opinions, with a unified basis of understanding and avoid these sort of pitfalls? I hope so!


This ties to another issue, that of secrecy.

Certain people want to hide their secrets for fear that others may steal their show, but nothing lasts forever, and controlling reign over an area or subset of culture seems to me to be born from attachment, fear, ego, and most of all from reliance on these sound offerings as a sole source of income. Shouldn't the ways of the gong be more open and accepting than that? Is the gong not a personally-contextually-translated experience for each individual, giving them just what they need in that moment regardless of their beliefs? Can we learn from the gong's example of being everything to everyone through the modality of languageless loving infinitude?

In my experience each gong performer I have encountered performs in a unique way which tells of their soul and of the moment in time in which they are performing. In this way each individual is a snowflake and cannot exactly imitate the performance (soul-display) of another individual. And even more so, each performance is unique due to the conditions of the room, the participants, the instruments, the weather, etc. So to fear loss of individuality, or attempt to control the dispensation of skills is a delusional battle.

I saw this in the tattooing community. For a long time the art of tattooing was a tightly held secret, and to get into this brotherhood one had to pay thousands of dollars and undergo years of fraternal rights of passage that were often humiliating and misleading to insure the continued reign of the master. Sailor Jerry would send out flash with purposeful errors in it to weed out those that were simply duplicating his work mindlessly with no awareness of anatomy or how the image should be corrected, resulting in lots of bad tattoos. And tattooing was largely a clumsy primitive art. It was only when the long-held secret that tattooing is a relatively simple craft to learn was leaked to the masses that countless talented artists flocked to the craft and released the high-art potential that laid dormant in tattooing when previously in the tight grasp of the secret brotherhoods.

I also encountered something similar in the atelier renaissance oil painting lineage I was part of, where a master would teach his students, keeping his most secret skills to himself until the very end of their teaching. Only to ultimately have his most prized student open up his own school and essentially, and disrespectfully rob his master of his entire student body.

But better is better, is it not? All things change and die off do they not? Is it not the ultimate desire of the teacher to have his students surpass him? What good is a lineage that is stagnant or constantly limited by the desire of the highest master to maintain his position?

Surely, we should champion our teachers and those who came before and cleared the path for us. Surely we should diligently learn all that we can from them.
Surely we should keep clear record of what is fact and truth.
Surely we should teach best practices and regulate competencies to an extent.
Surely we should hunt for the underlying truths and facts and continue to clarify them without end for the benefit of all.
Surely we should lead by positive example, and continue to learn from the positive example of the instruments and teachers we hold so dear.

© 2015 Benjamin Savage
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