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Sep. 9th, 2009 @ 08:32 pm Ways to Change
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
I am reading the book "Do You Need a Guru?: Understanding the Student--Teacher Relationship in an Era of False Prophets" by Mariana Caplan. The thesis of the book is that an Eastern style Guru relationship between student and teacher is a rewarding path. The author tackles some underlying topics first. I want to share one of the concepts presented early in the book.

Mariana refers to Ken Wilber's model of spiritual translation versus spiritual transformation. She says that translation refers to a horizontal process in which the contents of ego or personality are progressively uncovered, understood, and worked in order to create a greater sense of well-being within the individual, and hopefully a greater workability within their lives. Transformation is a vertical process in which the nature of the ego is understood and undermined, and the individual shifts from an egoic identity to a universal identity. Mariana then quotes Wiber as saying the translation gives the self (or subject) a new way to think and radical transformation does not legitimate the world, it breaks the world; it does not console the world, it shatters it.

Wow. Most people would settle for a bit of translation to ease the pain in their lives. I don't know if I am REALLY ready for transformation. It feels like I've been through several years of transformation, but know there are lots of reasons/room for more. Mariana ends this section of the book by commenting that a relationship between student and teacher would include translational and transformative elements, but the transformative is an essential component to achieve the highest human possibility.
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Date:September 10th, 2009 01:22 pm (UTC)
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It's always seemed to me that the benefit of a guru (or a healer or teacher or ...) comes largely from delegated uncertainty. It's hard to explore uncertainty in a useful way so that learning can occur when it's running wild all over the questor's life. A good guru corrals some of that and organizes it so that it's handed back through the story-structuring of interaction and relationship. The questor has a better shot at learning from the chaos.
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Date:September 10th, 2009 02:41 pm (UTC)
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Good answer... there is a theme in the book about needing outside guidance for growth. You've touched on one reason why. The role you present could just be translational instead of transformative.

The transformative element is a big part of the author's thesis. Int h is there is a larger component in play. The Christian analogy is original sin. There is something in our make-up that denies us connection with the oneness of divinity and the healer cannot heal themselves. Instead intercession is absolutely necessary to overcome that blockage to enlightenment. I will probably write more about this in the future as I read more.
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Date:September 10th, 2009 03:10 pm (UTC)
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If I understand the meaning of the words I think the guru/student relationship bounces around in translation but every translation has that "in the air" space where it COULD be tranformative. . . just from observation it's typically both the teacher and the student who pulls it back in to traslation because relationship is so important to us humans.

I have been noticing something I don't understand but have enough grasp to begin to talk about in social geometry. None of us are really solo -- we are the current translation of our accumulated history and lineage where it meets the changing face of the world around us. There's ALL kinds of error built in there, that I find easist to spot by reading the primate research. Short form: lying is built in to monkey culture so part of the original sin of being human is that lies are required to connect and communicate. That's "in our makeup" so long as we identify with our ego, but to the degree we can recognize our ego expression as a web browser and being to appreciate our existance beyond that limited technology . . .
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Date:September 11th, 2009 06:40 am (UTC)
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Translation and transformation are both natural, cyclical steps in the process of learning. We go through stages of each, from time to time, as we make our way through life's journey. Understanding which course you are currently on can help you ultimately learn the lesson all that much more quickly and fully.

As an example, currently, I'm in the transformative process with both my own teaching and learning processes. Things are being broken and shattered all around me: ideas, patterns, relationships, views, even my physical and emotional comfort levels are changing in dramatic ways. But, through this process, there are new things being forged and re-built in new and unique ways so that I can gain a clearer understanding of the world I live in, where I fit in it, and how I can mold portions of it to become a better fit for me.

My wife, on the other hand, is going though the translational stage of teaching and learning. She's noticing the way things have been and are, and sharing those views with those around her while gaining insights from what these others are relaying to her in their own translation of how their world and situations are viewed. It is a more restive, and comforting stage of development, but it is also necessary to be more "at rest" than continually being active. Who wants to really be reborn each moment of their lives, physically, emotionally or spiritually?