Spiritual Elitism

Milfoil

That sounds like a really difficult situation for you. I honestly don't know what I would do in your place. Putting yourself in harms way (although sometimes appropriate) isn't always the best way to promote tolerance is it?

Gandhi said that we should not fear dying for the truth but never be prepared to kill for it. Personally, I wonder about other ways first.

Though on no parallel to your own situation, I've been going through something similar. I gently questioned why an association which I am happy to belong to, seems to have more adverts from members, selling their workshops than anything else? What does that say about the group to everyone else. You can imagine how unpopular that was though there was some support. I was made to feel as though I was wrong to question this or 'take issue' as one person put it. Instead I should have been the change I wanted to see. Nobody was able to understand that by not advertising, I could not and have not ever changed anything, so their idea would never work.

Then I started to question why I asked in the first place, was it just my ego or a genuine concern, a need to make others see my point of view or perhaps answer my own questions. Was I wrong to 'take issue' with something? Surely when we see something that doesn't seem right or may need to be changed (cruelty, war, violence, bigotry, prejudice etc) by standing up and protesting, we are doing just that ' taking issue'? Somehow that seems to be ok but questioning something less obvious like the predominantly commercial activities of a supposedly spiritual group, that is not appropriate!

So hence the question. I truly, hand on heart, don't feel that I asked this question of the group for any other reason than to draw attention to the potential problem that others have expressed to me - that the group was merely commercial with little else of merit.

It's difficult to know whether what we say out of integrity will hurt, needs to be said, should be kept quiet, is my issue or otherwise? I can't beat myself up about it because if I was in error, it was done with the best intention. If what I asked was naive or inappropriate then I will, when I understand as much, admit it and apologise but that is different to saying you shouldn't ask in the first place.
 

BodhiSeed

((Milfoil))) I truly believe that if you don't have something to hide (or something you don't want to see) then a few innocent questions shouldn't put you on the defensive, ready to attack someone. If a group or person can't answer a simple question without blowing their stack, that in itself answers some questions for me.
 

Milfoil

((Milfoil))) I truly believe that if you don't have something to hide (or something you don't want to see) then a few innocent questions shouldn't put you on the defensive, ready to attack someone. If a group or person can't answer a simple question without blowing their stack, that in itself answers some questions for me.

Now what you have just written is important in many ways. Twice now I have asked two different people (both leaders of groups) to explain an ethical discrepancy to me. Genuinely I wanted to resolve a misunderstanding but each time the response was that they were not comfortable discussing this via email, in the group or on a forum. Instead wanting me to contact them by phone or meet in person. Nothing can be referred to by phone or direct conversation, others cannot see the clarity of the conversation and once said, things can be remembered out of context or badly, even forgetting key things. I like things being out in the open. If you have something to say - say it in the open, surely it is nothing to be covered up? But gossiping in private or getting someone alone so you can corner them and brow-beat them isn't productive.

Sometimes I think that people talk big about having integrity, being humble, being of service yet when challenged, just don't understand. I'm not saying that I do either but I am trying to.
 

PAMUYA

Unfortunitly the price of being right is suffering. Being open to all opinions is difficult for most people. The only thing we can do is to be true to ourselves and keep our hearts and minds open. If we know it ALL our options are limited, if we keep an open mind our options are limitless. The world must change one heart at a time, starting with yourself. You cannot change someone's heart, they must do that themselves. Arguing only fuels the fire of hate, compassion and patience is the way. "Loving Kindness" is a way of being to one's self before you can show it to others. Tolerant is just not a way to act, it is the way of the heart, a way of being. True happiness is found there. I repeat, the prince of being right is suffering.



Being a grown-up on the spiritual plane means no longer playing small. We drop our superficiality and pettiness, get over our wounds, realise our fears and insecurities, abandon notions of entitlement and lose our enchantment with cheap drama. No more games, passive-aggressive behaviour, attacking or power obsession. We're simply just done with it. We cut the crap. We get our heads out of the spiritual books we've read for years and go our and live what is in them.

We get our hands dirty and do for others, yet never with a sense that we are special for doing so. It just becomes how we approach life every day, for we know that the hour is late indeed. . .
 

BodhiSeed

Sometimes I think that people talk big about having integrity, being humble, being of service yet when challenged, just don't understand. I'm not saying that I do either but I am trying to.

Sugary icing on a cow patty. :p
 

Milfoil

Unfortunitly the price of being right is suffering. Being open to all opinions is difficult for most people.

Yes, I think Gandhi said something like that didn't he? Would you say though that there is a subtle difference between being open to all opinions and having an 'anything goes' attitude. The former allows for discussion and exchange, finding middle ground, admitting that nobody has all the answers whereas the latter is a sort of lazy, nothing needs to change so I don't have to make an effort for anything sort of thing?

Gandhi also wrote:

All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender. For it is all give and no take.

It's not an easy road is it? When fundamental ethics and truths are damaged we can either walk on by pretending not to notice and not make waves or we can say something. Sometimes that means being like a bad smell in the room but surely it doesn't mean we should shy away from speaking or acting simply to avoid pain?

I guess the pitfall is that we can consider ourselves spiritual martyrs - yet another ego trap.

Sugary icing on a cow patty. :p

HA! What a priceless saying. That did make me smile, not that I think either of the people I referred to above were cow pattys but I get the joke. :D
 

BodhiSeed

Would you say though that there is a subtle difference between being open to all opinions and having an 'anything goes' attitude.

I agree. The "anything goes" seems almost full of apathy, as in "Why should I care?" But when I am open-minded, I'm looking to find a common point on the continuum that runs between my opinion and someone else's. Then I can move from me/you and us/them to just "all of us." I wish I could say it is easy to do this, but that would be a lie. The whole Chick-fil-a incident is a perfect example of where I feel self-righteous about my opinion and don't think I need to even listen to the "other."
I don't know if I've posted this article here or not, but it explains why people hold on to their ideas and opinions, even when shown facts that prove those opinions wrong:
http://www.boston.com/news/science/articles/2010/07/11/how_facts_backfire/
An interesting read, whether its politics or religion being discussed.
 

Milfoil

That is an interesting article, my first thoughts were that every day my mantra should be "I'm probably wrong" but then when you read this:

There is a substantial body of psychological research showing that people tend to interpret information with an eye toward reinforcing their preexisting views.

it makes sense why people don't want to change their minds or views. It also makes sense why people cherry pick the bits of a belief system that suits them and discard the parts that are uncomfortable or which don't fit with their pre-existing, longterm beliefs which makes sense to them. For example, as a child, I was not brought up in any specific religion until the age of 10 when I started going to Sunday School. Until then, I saw the world as being completely alive. I talked to trees, cows, insects, dolls & toys, the car - everything. The Sunday School teacher on the other hand, told me categorically that only Humans had souls, not animals and certainly not trees! "so don't pets go to heaven?" NO! was the reply. This made no sense to me at all, it didn't feel right or seem appropriate. So later in life, when I find a belief that mirrors my inner, pre-existing knowing, it is adopted without problem.

When, however, children are indoctrinated with a very specific set of beliefs from birth and told to have blind faith and that to not believe these things will mean pain, suffering and eternity being burned alive, it is hardly surprising that new 'truths' discovered later in life will only be dismissed as misinformation or lies.

There are also some cases where directness works. Kuklinski’s welfare study suggested that people will actually update their beliefs if you hit them “between the eyes” with bluntly presented, objective facts that contradict their preconceived ideas.

THAT I do believe, certainly it's how Spirit have knocked some sense in to me in the past. Not that we should all go around being forceful all the time but sometimes there is no other way of saying it other than to be direct.
 

Carla

Now what you have just written is important in many ways. Twice now I have asked two different people (both leaders of groups) to explain an ethical discrepancy to me. Genuinely I wanted to resolve a misunderstanding but each time the response was that they were not comfortable discussing this via email, in the group or on a forum. Instead wanting me to contact them by phone or meet in person. Nothing can be referred to by phone or direct conversation, others cannot see the clarity of the conversation and once said, things can be remembered out of context or badly, even forgetting key things. I like things being out in the open. If you have something to say - say it in the open, surely it is nothing to be covered up? But gossiping in private or getting someone alone so you can corner them and brow-beat them isn't productive.

Sometimes I think that people talk big about having integrity, being humble, being of service yet when challenged, just don't understand. I'm not saying that I do either but I am trying to.

My suspicions are always aroused when people want to talk off the record. Anything that people don't feel confident to put in writing is something they ought not to be saying, in situations such as this. Anytime a senior person wants a one-to-one chat, it makes me wary. If I were you (and I'm not...), I would expect my questions to be answered in writing.
 

PAMUYA

That is an interesting article, my first thoughts were that every day my mantra should be "I'm probably wrong" but then when you read this:



it makes sense why people don't want to change their minds or views. It also makes sense why people cherry pick the bits of a belief system that suits them and discard the parts that are uncomfortable or which don't fit with their pre-existing, longterm beliefs which makes sense to them. For example, as a child, I was not brought up in any specific religion until the age of 10 when I started going to Sunday School. Until then, I saw the world as being completely alive. I talked to trees, cows, insects, dolls & toys, the car - everything. The Sunday School teacher on the other hand, told me categorically that only Humans had souls, not animals and certainly not trees! "so don't pets go to heaven?" NO! was the reply. This made no sense to me at all, it didn't feel right or seem appropriate. So later in life, when I find a belief that mirrors my inner, pre-existing knowing, it is adopted without problem.

When, however, children are indoctrinated with a very specific set of beliefs from birth and told to have blind faith and that to not believe these things will mean pain, suffering and eternity being burned alive, it is hardly surprising that new 'truths' discovered later in life will only be dismissed as misinformation or lies.

THAT I do believe, certainly it's how Spirit have knocked some sense in to me in the past. Not that we should all go around being forceful all the time but sometimes there is no other way of saying it other than to be direct....

Would you say though that there is a subtle difference between being open to all opinions and having an 'anything goes' attitude...



When we are children we are pure of heart and see things with an open pure mind. Indoctrination moves us away from that, ego (the need to be right, to fit in, to be safe) comes in and clouds our pure mind. I was not brought up in a christian home, but I have seen both the fear and love that comes out of it. Do I agree with everything that they stand for? No, but I listen to their arguments and understand that their religious culture bends their beliefs in a certain direction. I cannot or would not try to change their beliefs, they do have a right to their beliefs as we all do.

There is nothing wrong with being direct as long as there is no anger. Me getting angry does not change anything, it only makes me suffer. Anger does not deminish by more anger, it is by loving kindness that will turn someone around. Just look at history, we repeat the same mistakes over and over. People with the best intentions (like; global warming activist, or Pita, greenpeace...)can be the worst offenders, they will turn to violence to make their point, but all it does is cause even more violence and separate the sides further. The whole Chick-fil-a incident is a perfect example of this, anger gets in the way of compassion on both sides and they are even farther apart than before. Who suffers?, those who are right(which are both sides), those who are angry(both sides).

To have an "open pure mind" and "anything goes" are miles a part. To have an open mind is that you are willing to "really" listen to those with different opinions with compassion and understand where they are coming from, you may not find common ground, but there is no "anger" when someone else believes something different than you do. "Anything Goes" is not giving a shit, you really don't care, you just go with the flow with your eyes and heart closed.

Unfortunitly the price of being right is suffering.
Buddha quote..Gandhi was a wise man of an open pure mind(although some of his beliefs are not my beliefs).

I have worked years on my "anger" issues. Anger comes in all forms, weither right or wrong, anger keeps you blinded to compassion and keeps your mind clouded. Just because I try to be compassionate with a pure mind does not mean I do not have an opinion or that I do not act on it. I am working on keeping the anger at bay, to free myself from that suffering. I will work on what I feel is wrong, but with compassion and non violence and without hurting anyone physcially and/or fianacially. I want to work on their compassion/heart, can't do that if they feel threatened.