There are multiple benefits for me in going to CSS.
First, the clarity Joel brings from his Ground awakening and studies of the philosophy and practices of many traditions. (Christianity, Buddhism, Sufism, Hinduism/Advaita.)
Then, what gets triggered in me in different ways.
I often feel that the ways the teachers look at a particular topic is quite limited, so it encourages me to find what is more true for myself. What they say is great, but what else is also true? What are the other ways of looking at this topic? What does the larger landscape look like? And also, what are the truths in the reversals of these teachings?
And then the reactiveness, the hangups triggered in me, which is as valuable and as much a teacher as the above. (If not more of a teacher.) Whenever I go, believes are triggered, and there is something in the setting that allows these to come up more clearly and in more abundance than in any other setting. (I probably have higher expectations/hopes.)
There are my social fears. And then the judgments about them: They are too conventional. They leave out the emotions and body. They only focus on the enlightenment aspect and leave the self-realization aspect out. They don’t use the integral model as a framework. Joel doesn’t use active imagination when working with dreams. (He interprets them! What a dinosaur.) They are too focused on awakening, what about here now? What about making it easier for who we take ourselves to be, here and now? They leave out the soul aspect entirely, the alive presence, the fertile darkness. They are far too limited in their approach, focusing only on enlightenment, the head and heart centers, and leaving so much of us out, and so many effective and helpful practices.
And then the ways I work with it in real time: Allowing the experience, as it is, as if it would never change. Using tong-len with the group. Dropping into my heart and body. Just noticing what is happening without changing anything, not even allowing experience.
So all in all, in spite of some discomfort now and then (or rather, because of it), there are benefits all around. Genuine benefits. Things I am deeply grateful for and appreciate tremendously.
There are teachings all around… from the explicit teachings, which are amazingly clear and to the point, although quite partial. From my own investigations prompted by these teachings, both in following their pointers and in finding what is more true for myself. And from finding my beliefs triggered, and taking them to inquiry, finding more clarity around it.