Transparency and control

 

Different teachers (and traditions, and each of us on our own lives) are at different places in terms of transparency and control.

Some are transparent about just about anything. They give it all away in terms of their insights and teachings. They voice whatever concerns come up for them, as they come up, including about own teaching style and how what they say and do may be interpreted and taken by their students. They give a behind-the-scenes view to their students, which is maybe the greatest gift they can offer.

Others take another approach and hide certain aspects of their insights, the tradition, and their concerns about how they teach and how it is received by their students. They keep their cards closer to their chest. And this tends to lead to a perceived need to control quite a bit. They need to control what information comes to their students. They need to control how it is received by the students. They need to keep students and junior teachers in check. They need to deal with the fall out when something goes awry. And so on. There is often a lot of drama coming out of this approach, including the drama of things going on behind the scenes, partly in the mind of the teacher (trying to keep it all together according to their idea of how it should be) and the students (trying to figure out what is going on behind the scenes), and between teachers and students when the students need to be put in place.

The first that comes up for me is that the path of transparency is more appropriate today. It tends to create far less room for drama, and it is also a path of trust. Trust in students being in charge of their own lives. Trust in the teaching being honest and clear enough to survive being out in the open. Trust in whatever happens as God’s will, and offering insights for everyone.

The path of secrecy tends to fuel drama in many ways, including distrust at many levels. The teacher does not trust the students to be able to receive the teaching. The teacher does not trust that even if the student receives it in an unintended way, that too is perfect, that may be exactly what the student needs to gain more experience, refine their understanding, and mature. It requires the teacher to assume that he or she knows what is ultimately best for the student. The teacher takes to some extent on a babysitting role, treating the student as a child. And it can create a great deal of drama and stress for both teacher and student, including unchecked shadow projections either way. (Where there is something hidden, either by teacher to student, or the other way around, shadow projections often have free reign.)

Of course, it is not quite as black-and-white as this.

Often, it is appropriate to portion out the teachings over time, and also target it to where the student is at. But that does not mean that what is temporarily is left out needs to be hidden.

And to hide and control certain things brings, inevitably, up a lot of projections on the part of the student, which helps them see these more clearly. It may be a valid approach, but life itself does a good job in this area anyway, and doesn’t seem to need our help.

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