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Re: SFSK Devotee

Posted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:54 am
by Middle Way
Sorry, my mistake. I thought you said you have "complete faith" in Mrs Mavro. If you don't believe everything she says, that is not complete faith. That is partial faith. I won't bother asking what you do believe and what you don't believe because you will duck those questions like you do all the other ones, resorting as usual to abusive ad hominem attacks. Go back and look up my other posts for a definition of what ad hominem means, if you can be bothered. While you're not doing that, don't bother looking up what I do professionally which I have stated in many posts.

Finally, I urge you to stop breaking School Rule number 2: "you do not associate with those who have left SFSK".
Breaking this rule is fraught with danger for you. SFSK says that, not me.

Re: SFSK Devotee

Posted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:52 am
by enlightened
oh I see you are a "psychologist"........I would never have picked it in a million years, you obviously have not done much work on yourself to resolve all the obvious issues you have. You are an angry, angry soul, and god help those unsuspecting patients of yours, thats presuming you are still practising. Whats wrong middle of the road, it seems that Im onto you because you seem to be so intent on getting rid of me.

Re: SFSK Devotee

Posted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:57 am
by Middle Way
Did you look up "ad hominem attack"?

Re: SFSK Devotee

Posted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:03 am
by Tootsie
In my humble opinion a Machiavellian quality (conniving,cunning,opportunist,wily) is the only qualification needed to run a spiritual school. The only two people who had the above qualifications that I ever met in my 14 years in the SOP were Mrs Mavro and David Boddy. So I have to agree with enlightened, Mrs Mavro is delivering the goods as far as he is concerned so anything negative said against Mrs Mavro on this forum is a case of sour grapes by those who could not stay the distance, to use a horse racing term. If enlightened feels SFSK has made him a better man, then good on him!

Re: SFSK Devotee

Posted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:56 am
by enlightened
Middle way, you have discussed your hatred for the school and Mrs Mavro to the point of ad nauseum on this forum.I dont get it, what are yo trying to acheive here. I guess if you were trying to turn off potential SFSK candidates, well youve probably suceeded.Im just trying to present my case as an SFSK student.Why does it bother you so much??. Have you asked yourself why you seem to have this compulsion to attack anyone thats happy with the school???, is it because you havent found the same happiness in another spiritual institution???

Re: SFSK Devotee

Posted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:56 am
by Middle Way
I've found it for you.

The “ad hominem” argument aka “playing the man not the ball”. Person A asserts proposition X. Person B attacks or threatens A. Therefore X is false. This is a ‘biggie’ and is most obvious when used by the bullies, who have no qualms about dishing out verbal abuse.

Ad hominem is effectively used by bullies everywhere, because A: 1) gives into fear and falls silent to stop the attack; 2) attempts to defend themselves thus inviting further attack, or 3) attacks back. All of these reactions suit B well because X is no longer the focus of the “discussion” and B controls the whole process. Ad hominem is only used when B cannot or refuses to discuss X, leading to the very valid question of why not?

Despite its effectiveness, this argument is simple to counter. Simply ignore the personal attacks, keep stating “I wish to discuss X” and keep repeating just this whenever the personal attacks or threats get more intense as they may do in increasingly desperate attempts to steer the discussion away from X. It may be helpful to remember the Buddhist saying thoughtfully provided in School: “if someone offers you the gift of anger, and you don’t take it, who owns it?” Withstanding the barrage leads to a growing sense of internal power and control as well as awareness of the growing lack of control of the attacker, who hopefully will also become aware of this plus the fact it isn’t working, and stop attacking.

Re: SFSK Devotee

Posted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:27 am
by ManOnTheStreet
enlightened wrote:Im just trying to present my case as an SFSK student.

So, what is your case exactly?

Re: SFSK Devotee

Posted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:33 pm
by bluegreen
Middle way said:
It may be helpful to remember the Buddhist saying: “if someone offers you the gift of anger, and you don’t take it, who owns it?”

Lovely. May I suggest the people on here stop taking ETiCS's gift. Far better to carry on as before and maybe ETiCS -who is obviously very keen to be part of this community - will take away something good. As long as you address him/her directly he/she is only able to reply with hostility.
I took the gift from him/her last week and it did me no good, but now I'm going to let ETiCS hang onto it.

Re: SFSK Devotee

Posted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:39 pm
by Middle Way
Excellent advice, bluegreen - well said.

Re: SFSK Devotee

Posted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:24 pm
by enlightened
I posed a simple question:
Are the spiritual practices enough to deal with your "stuff", or does one need therapy as well", I thought that this would open up an intelligent debate, instead I got the usual response from Middle way , referring to past posts, unable to move on and childlessly clinging to his usual defense mechanism of oneupmanship.

Re: SFSK Devotee

Posted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:29 am
by ManOnTheStreet
I suppose one of the main questions would have to be: "are the results distinguishable?" By that I mean the following: Is there any effect of doing "spiritual practice" that sets it apart from what you'd expect from the beneficial effects of therapy? I think the answer to this is most certainly "No". The fact that some people become more accepting of the School teachings as time goes on does not mean they are any wiser or closer to "enlightenment". If acceptance of School teachings was the marker of spiritual progress most (if not all) of the Friday group would have to be realised by now. I don't think anyone would be comfortable trying to make that claim. What you would need is some clear and unique benefit that is bestowed on people as a result of following the School teachings, and I don't think anyone has managed to establish this so far.

Therapy, on the other hand, has had defined and tested results. Those results are repeatable and a whole profession exists whose purpose it is to study and refine the methods used to treat people. Studies are done and are then peer-reviewed. In other words, there are always objective checks and balances to ensure that untested or unfounded claims do not go unscrutinised. Nothing even approaching this happens with regard to "spiritual work". I would venture to suggest that the placebo effect along with a rather heavy confirmation bias act together to create the illusion that "spiritual practice" actually produces results. Moreover, I'd say that even if there is a benefit in certain circumstances (like meditation for example) this benefit is incidental. Meditation of most kinds has been shown to produce beneficial results in respect of general wellbeing and so on. The mere act of concentrating on something (like a word or image) for a certain amount of time will do this. I don't think the practices given at the SFSK offer anything more than this at the very best of times.

As far as your question is concerned, one problem I found in the School was that you were told you're "stuff" was of a particular type and that it was necessary to overcome it using the practices given. But on what authority can they be sure what sort of "stuff" you have? It's a bit like going to someone (not a doctor) and them telling you that you have a disease in your arm that you can't even feel or see. They then prescribe "exercises" for your arm to cure the "disease". The whole thing could be completely pointless. The question of whether there is anything actually wrong with your arm is never addressed. These people are not trained psychologists or psychotherapists. They are just ordinary people, some of whom have been telling people about diseases in their arms for a very long time. This does not lend them any authority. The fact that there is an elaborate system in place to describe the "arm-disease" does not mean that there is any truth to the assertion.

If you think you have "stuff", then see an accredited mental health practitioner or therapist. Going to SFSK to sort out your "stuff" is a bit like going to a homoeopath to cure cancer.


PS - There's nothing wrong with referring to earlier posts in order to make one's point clearer. This is exactly what should happen in any discussion - people should attempt to remain consistent in what they say, otherwise the whole thing just becomes arbitrary and that serves no purpose.

PPS - The real issue is that the School does not advertise itself as a way to deal with your "stuff". It gives all its practices a "higher" purpose. This purpose, "realisation", is so vague that no one can ever really test whether the practices actually lead people to it or not. What you end up with is just a lot of spent time doing "exercises" that may not lead to anything at all. Could anyone really be satisfied with this state of affairs?

Re: SFSK Devotee

Posted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:59 am
by enlightened
Thankyou Man on the street for being civilised enough to give me a straight, sensible answer.
In my early years at the school, and under the guidance of the senior tutor who has now left, I was told by him at a meeting that depression didnt exist, and he gave some preposterous explaination as to why based on the material that he just accepted and never questioned. I was flabbergasted to say the least and challenged him, we almost came to blows that night because he just would not listen to an opposing view, thats how closeminded and inflexible he was.From that night on I decided that I would only take in the information that was relevant and held meaning and truth for me and just ignore the rest.But I did not take the issue lightly and have taken it up with other, more open minded tutors who have acknowledged depression as a legitimate condition.This is the thing about the SFSK, just like any other organisation, there will be inspirational leaders and there will be the ones that drive people away.When Mr Mavro was alive, people were terrified of him, and at my first residential he humiliated me in what he thought was a humorous way , i took it with grain of salt and just laughed it off,and thought that he must be testing me to see how big my ego was.After that residential he treated me with the greatest of respect.

Re: SFSK Devotee

Posted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:18 am
by ManOnTheStreet
enlightened wrote:From that night on I decided that I would only take in the information that was relevant and held meaning and truth for me and just ignore the rest

While this is admirable - it does present a slight problem: By only taking what you think holds meaning and truth for you, are you not simply comparing what you hear at SFSK to your own moral/intellectual standard? In which case, there is hardly any need to remain there, as you are already using your own discrimination it seems. As a related question: Have you found that your acceptance/non-acceptance of SFSK teachings has changed over the years? If yes, then to what can you attribute the change? Has your standard changed or have you managed to make the teachings satisfy your standard?

enlightened wrote:When Mr Mavro was alive, people were terrified of him, and at my first residential he humiliated me in what he thought was a humorous way , i took it with grain of salt and just laughed it off,and thought that he must be testing me to see how big my ego was.After that residential he treated me with the greatest of respect.

Do you think his humiliation of you was justified in any way? You say you laughed it off, but in a general sense - do you think that kind of behaviour is justified from someone purporting to be the head of a "spiritual organisation"? I remember being made to feel about 2 inches tall by Mr Mavro on many occasions - unfortunately his respect was not given to all. I would say that what you call "respect" could be more accurately described as "kid gloves". I don't think Mr Mavro truly ever had respect for anyone (with the possible exception of Leon MacLaren). It bears consideration that people were "terrified of Mr Mavro". I clearly remember this being the case - but you have ask at some point: Is "terror" really the kind of quality you would seek in a leader?

This leads me to a final question: What do you think you gain by being a member of the SFSK? Is there anything you think sets it apart in a positive way?


Re: SFSK Devotee

Posted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:35 am
by actuallythere
Hello enlightened,

You have indeed raised a really interesting topic, you wrote:

enlightened wrote:I posed a simple question:
Are the spiritual practices enough to deal with your "stuff", or does one need therapy as well

and previously

enlightened wrote:In the spiritual sense all this "stuff" is the result of 'karma", in psychology the "stuff" is deeply repressed issues that one cannot deal with on a conscious level. Do spiritual practices effectively deal with the "stuff", or should it be combined with therapy......................

As far as I see here therapy and spiritual practices are positioned as mutually exchangeable, that they can both deal with the same thing (please correct me if I have got that wrong).

Personally I can't comment from first hand experience because I haven't ever been involved with a spiritual group long enough say I have undertaken a significant level of spiritual practices. Nor have I been in therapy.

But I can envisage a scenario in which an individual faces that choice:

Sandra grew up in a family where she never felt loved for who she was; her father was a workaholic and therefore rather absent from her life, her glamorous mother had affairs and spent more time seeking the flattery of men than taking an interest in her children. Sandra's sister was more beautiful and her brother was a much higher achiever. She was given little guidance or warmth in the home, which felt like a sham. As a teenager, Sandra found something deeply compelling in the world of classic literature, it was an inspiration. Briefly, primarily for social reasons, she attended Bible study group but left after feeling it was shallow, and took a volunteer job at a charity shop that she thought would do more good. Approaching young adulthood, there was an overwhelming sense of emptiness about where she had come from, she was lost for a calling and relationships didn't work out. She felt worthless and secretly hated herself. She began to cry to herself at night, she overate and got into fits of anger. But she was wary of the option of therapy, she'd heard most therapists are messed up themselves - and even if she got a good one she expected to feel exposed and scrutinized, it might open a can of worms and make her worse; therapy sounded too intensely intimate, and that is not something she's comfortable with.

At this point, Sandra might find a gentle introduction to spiritual practices appealing. My hunch is that if she went into spiritual practices, she would soon feel loved, guided, aware of a direction, that her past didn't matter, that she was worth a lot, that she was special.

And if so, what has happened to Sandra here? Has she got closer to understanding the mysteries of the universe? Has she got closer to understanding what has made her who she is?

Personally, I wonder. Is there a risk that what Sandra thinks is spiritual attainment, is in fact purely a distraction from the personal problems that caused her to seek a new lifestyle in the first place?

How can Sandra know whether what she has is not a mirage of spirituality which is in fact a distraction from her personal problems, that would have been addressed square-on by therapy?

Can Sandra be sure those personal problems won't come back, 5 or 10 years into spiritual practice - all that anger, that insecurity, that personal desire to be loved and guided and to belong?

And what if there are other people around her undertaking spiritual practices who are morally corrupt (and it happens everywhere, most infamously of late in the Catholic Church). Will she be strong enough in herself to stand up to them? Will she be strong enough to protect others from them? Or will she turn a blind eye and therefore encourage them? And what if they, and by extension their spiritual practices, are criticized and ridiculed? Will she feel hurt that the source of her new and good feelings, the source of the love, care and guidance that she always wanted and deserved, was now being thrown in the gutter? Will that hurt cause her to leap to the defense? And if so, will Sandra have been on a spiritual path, or an emotional path?

So to go back to the start - therapy or spiritual practices for Sandra? My hunch is that she could probably try both, but I am not yet sure that spiritual practices would be enough to deal with what she could address in therapy.

In terms of experience, you Enlightened are in a better position to look back at the process than I am. So I'd be curious to know what you think about it, whether one can indeed use spiritual practice as an alternative to therapy, or what the difference is. So, over to you.

Kind regards,


Re: SFSK Devotee

Posted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:50 am
by Dr.Alan
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