SFSK Devotee

Discussion of the SES' satellite schools in Australia and New Zealand.
bluegreen
Posts: 95
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:42 pm

Re: SFSK Devotee

Postby bluegreen » Fri Mar 22, 2013 10:04 am

enlightened wrote:awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, i DIDNT KNOW YOU ALL CARED!
COMEON TIME FOR A GROUP HUG
AND DONT FORGET ):):):"GRAY SKIES ARE GONNA CLEAR UP, PUT ON A HAPPY FACE" ESPECIALLY YOU DEMON :)):):

enlightened wrote: 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 [.....] more open minded tutors who have acknowledged depression as a legitimate condition.

Perhaps the same consideration for bipolar disorder sufferes, which includes depression as part of the disorder?
St James Girls School 1977-1981

Dr.Alan
Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:15 pm
Location: UK

Re: SFSK Devotee

Postby Dr.Alan » Fri Mar 22, 2013 10:09 am

THERAPY V SPIRITUAL WORK

It is important to clarify the terms used here. "Therapy" I presume is meant to refer to any method of sorting out "problems of thinking" which people have, due to the situations of their life and the people who have had some impact on it -- either or both of these having caused some kind of worry or stress, which will not go away easily. Sometimes it can become an illness - i.e. preventing normal day to day engagement with the world and other people.

"Spiritual practices" - which I would rather call "spiritual work" - I have always considered to be centred around the discovery of who we really are. i.e. the perennial question of the human soul. Is there a soul? was it here before I was born? will it be here after the body dies? etc. and matters which surround the difficulty of unravelling the answers to these questions (if there are any) and any other subsidiary questions which arise in connection with them.

At this point we need to place the above matters into a framework.

The human being is basically five distinct areas. You can draw them as five circles from left to right, which overlap with each other by a small amount.

[A - BODY] [B - SENSES] [C - MIND] [D - INTELLECT] [E - SOUL]

The overlaps with each other produce the following four areas, which would be placed between the relevant pairs.

[A/B -SENSE ORGANS] [B/C SENSE IMPRESSIONS] [C/D IMAGINATION] [D/E INTUITION]

We need to lay down a simple principle for the understanding of this approach, as we go from left to right matters become more and more subtle and difficult to study or document. The use of scientific instruments becomes less valuable if we try to penetrate beyond the point of sense impressions. i.e. mind in this approach should not be equated with brain. Brain is entirely contained within the body circle. Even the senses are not easy to measure with modern science. The mind is not measurable by science but its effects on the brain can be measured - these have often been confused as being measuring the mind.

As far as I can understand "therapy" can only go as far as helping with matters (from left to right) up to the point of the mind. But I would be interested to hear how anyone else views this.

Whereas the "spiritual work" has to go further to the right of the diagram.

All the difficulties which relate to spiritual work are hampered by any problems in the mind area. Hence it is not advisable for a person who has mental problems to engage in spiritual work. This will only add to their problems. The better situation for spiritual work is a normal mental state - where a person has no general difficulty in going through each day and dealing with any issues which life throws at them.

Physical sickness, such as fever, or other conditions which temporarily affect the mind working i.e. hamper the brains connection with the mind -- will also affect any spiritual work. The same applies to any general mental condition which hampers the mind.

So any sickness (physical or mental) which clouds or confuses the normal mental state should be treated first, so that the way is generally clear to proceed with spiritual work.

Anyone who engages in spiritual work as a method of dealing with mental problems, is not doing themselves any favours in the long run -- mainly because (1) beginning to uncover spiritual truths will disturb their mind more than before and (2) they will blame spiritual work as not being able to come up with the goods and will get an adverse and (spiritually)damaging attitude to matters of the spirit. This really means using spiritual work for a purpose which it is not intended.

please comment - I would be interested to hear your views.
SES - London 1964-1974 left due to SES interference with private life.

enlightened
Posts: 68
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:38 am

Re: SFSK Devotee

Postby enlightened » Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:22 am

I think the reason i persisted is because I liked the company, we had a good group and were able to have a laugh.I often questioned the material, but half the time my mind would just wander.We were always told that your'e there to attend and that is wasnt important to try and take in everything, and that every now and then something you heard would just resonate.That's exactly what happened, occasionally I would hear something that made a lot of sense or that touched me and that was enough incentive to stick around, I guess I just wanted to find out more because I was curious.In the early days I was "courted" by some of the other, more senior students who were obviously told to try and 'reel" us in. I pretended to go along with them but was'nt totally convinced, but one thing that struck me about them was how incredibly passionate they were about the school,and at the same time I remember thinking that they also seemed to be quite gullible. The interesting thing is they are the very people that were among the first to leave recently.
There were many times that I felt like packing it in, I think I just needed a group to belong to and wanted to be with like minded people, so I just went along each week. I had a very casual attitude, but something kept driving me to keep going, maybe it was the power of the three promises......Older students would often tell me that it would all make sense once I did the Karma material....................................Well it didnt start to make any sense until I had a change of tutor, a kind and compassionate man, who really did talk the talk and walk the walk, and then everything changed, that made all the difference.
Mr Mavro firmly believed that old school discipline was required to whip prospective new aspirants into shape, and to "weed" out anyone who was too weak or precious because they wouldnt have the fortitude to cope with the demands of spiritual work.I also questioned his style, but his commitment was solid and at times when he spoke he had a magnificent presence that was palpable. I think that the residentials, well, in the old days were designed to make you really "get over yourself", and because a big part of spiritual work involves diminishing the ego, I felt that the "strategies" he used were designed for this purpose. Of course I didnt realise that at the time but after a lot of work, i have now come to realise that if you could live through a residential with Mr M, then anything else would be a piece of cake, and thats exactly how I have found it.
These days,after the mass exodus of students Mrs M has become softer but she is still a powerful, committed spiritual leader with a depth of knowledge that is inspirational.Maybe she has come to realise that the hard-nosed tactics employed by Mr M, are no longer necessary. I still like to keep my distance, but the material is solid and very practical, and really does make sense and is backed up by the scriptures.
I think that a spiritual emergence and the accompanying desire for truth is borne from some kind of adversity and one has to start from the beggining, and sometimes that may means years of psychotherapy before one gets the calling and is ready to start their spiritual journrey.
Finally, all I can say is that the SFSK may just not be for everyone..............

Leonie
Posts: 29
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:00 pm

Re: SFSK Devotee

Postby Leonie » Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:15 pm

Wow, Enlightened.

That's all I could manage last night! But just wanted to say thanks for the fuller explanation of how things are for you and where you are at.

I was never in the SFSK so I'll leave it to others to respond, but I just wanted to point out the newspaper article about the Mavros (published in 1985) which you can find on this forum at this link:

http://www.ses-forums.org/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=723

Leonie
Last edited by Leonie on Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

ManOnTheStreet
Posts: 137
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:32 am

Re: SFSK Devotee

Postby ManOnTheStreet » Fri Mar 22, 2013 10:07 pm

Dr. Alan,

You say that spiritual work is concerned with the perennial questions of who we "truly" are, and whether we have souls. You then include the "soul" in your framework. It seems you have just assumed that we all have souls - in which case you have rendered the question (of whether we have souls) moot. I don't think that is justified; you are simply assuming what you want to prove. In any case, where are you getting this "framework" from? You make a whole lot of statements about the limits of science as well: have you read the research on this area? It's a lot more advanced than you might think.

Mind/Brain:

I know it seems to be a popular view, but really, Dualism (the idea that the mind is separate and distinct from the brain) has very little to no currency amongst neuroscientists, philosophers, or psychologists today. In fact, the debate between Monism and Dualism was settled long ago. I would encourage you to read the following article, which sets out both positions quite well: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dualism_(philosophy_of_mind)

Whatever you might think of Monism, it just isn't satisfactory (or correct) to give absolute statements like "mind in this approach should not be equated with brain" and "The mind is not measurable by science" without proof of some kind.

MOTS

Middle Way
Posts: 78
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:46 am

Re: SFSK Devotee

Postby Middle Way » Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:21 am

Fair dinkum “enlightened”, can’t you give a man a rest? You were enticed back on here for some more fun hitting you for 6, but enough of a good thing is enough. My arms are tired from hitting everything you bowl up for 6, and my ears are tired of hearing your witless sledges every time the ball disappears into the crowd. I’ve retired to the pavilion for a cool drink and a rest, and here you come begging to be hit for more. Brits: I know I shouldn’t be using a cricket analogy, given the comprehensive flogging the Australian cricket team is getting in India, but the analogy is so apt. And later this year the English team will probably mangle us even more than “enlightened” mangles spelling. See “enlightened”, you’ve just made me hit you for another 6, and I’d really much prefer to rest up and see if the opposing captain ever brings on someone who can bowl more challenging stuff than you, Nick or Snapper.

OK, I get the story. SFSK used to be ruled by a gentleman who abused us for the sole and essential purpose of making sure we were up to the spiritual challenge of transcending our egos. He never enjoyed that at all, he only did it for our benefit. Sadly he died and Mrs M took over, and she kept up the tradition of abusing us because that’s the only way to continue weeding out the weak. The weak ones like me then found we could no longer hack it, so we scurried back into Outer Darkness, leaving the strong ones like you to carry on, all the better, happier and enlightened for surviving the ordeal. And now therefore she can become softer in her approach.

All right. Let’s just shake hands and wish each other all the best, and it’s game over - after you’ve had your usual angry, witless rant at me of course – and I’ll even gladly and with great relief and some amusement let you have that last word. It’s been fun, but time to think of other things. For me that means shortly leaving for a study tour overseas. I mention this so that you understand why I won’t be posting again here for some time.

enlightened
Posts: 68
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:38 am

Re: SFSK Devotee

Postby enlightened » Sat Mar 23, 2013 10:17 am

OK Middle way.....I think my work here is done.......I wish you every success....it was fun while it lasted xx

Dr.Alan
Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:15 pm
Location: UK

Re: SFSK Devotee

Postby Dr.Alan » Sat Mar 23, 2013 10:39 am

MOTS

I have not made this up, as I guess you would like to believe that I have.

Shri Krishna - Bhagavad Gita Chpt.3 V. 42
"The senses are said to be superior to the body; the mind is superior to the senses; the intellect is superior to the mind; and what is superior to the intellect is Atman."

Adi Shankara - Quintessence of Vedanta
483. "The intellect catches the light of the Atman. Similarly again, the mind catches the light of the intellect, and the senses in their turn catch the light of the mind. Finally the physical body comes to feel what is comprehended by the sense organs. That is why one comes to think that the Atman is constituted out of a combination of the body and the sense organs although in reality such is not the case."

I guess you already know that Atman is the Vedanta word for soul.

All scientific instruments only enhance information brought to the five sense organs. Scientific instruments do not have consciousness. They need a conscious being to use them and receive information from them.

If you have any scientific instrument which can connect with the mind - you had better let the scientists know about it. They have wanted, in vain, such a thing for a long time.

All the while your mind is attached to your senses and your body (believing that is what you are)- you will never be able to read and understand the writings of people who have seen beyond these things. If you do not believe that there have been people who have seen beyond these things then you would be better giving up your involvement with this subject - and wait until later in your life when you start to become more reflective about the prospect that your body will some day die - and what that might mean.
SES - London 1964-1974 left due to SES interference with private life.

Babs
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:52 am

Re: SFSK Devotee

Postby Babs » Sun Mar 24, 2013 2:20 am

enlightened wrote: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.


May I offer a completely different experience to "Enlightened's" encounter described above. The senior tutor referred to above was my tutor when I first joined the SFSK. I found him to be warm and caring. Perhaps his manner could be somewhat authoritarian at times but it was always tempered with I felt to be genuine warmth. A young woman also attended my group for a few sessions. She was consistently very emotional and wept during the class. The senior tutor was very considerate towards her. When she didn't return after week three, I asked the tutor about her. His response? He said that clearly she needed professional help and the SFSK wasn't for her at that stage, ie, he clearly understood that this woman was suffering a mental disturbance of some sort. Some years later I happened to disclose to Mrs Mavro, during a personal conversation with her, that my partner was undergoing therapy. Her response? She told me to persuade my partner to stop therapy as psychiatrists were, in her opinion, most unhelpful, (I think she might have even said psychiatrists were "bad") that depression was all in the mind, and all my partner needed was to attend the SFSK regularly and do his three hours of spiritual practices a day. Of course my partner continued with the course of therapy which was a positive and life changing process for both of us ultimately. I think Mrs Mavro's views about therapy and psychiatrists are, at the least, ignorant, misguided and meddlesome.

Sorry to hear that you won't be posting for awhile Middle Way. I have enjoyed your well reasoned and thoughtful posts. Can I also say to you "Enlightened" that I have had the pleasure of meeting Middle Way and he is a lovely and caring man, qualities which he takes into his professional life, and nothing like how you describe him.

ManOnTheStreet
Posts: 137
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:32 am

Re: SFSK Devotee

Postby ManOnTheStreet » Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:43 am

Dr. Alan,

Dr.Alan wrote:I have not made this up, as I guess you would like to believe that I have.


I don't want to believe you made up anything. However, I think someone else made it up, and you now believe them. That's much the same thing really.

In any case, in neither of your quotes was the genesis of 'mind' discussed. You can't derive a justification for your Dualism from those quotes - both of which are consistent with the idea that the 'mind' is physical/material.

Dr.Alan wrote:All scientific instruments only enhance information brought to the five sense organs. Scientific instruments do not have consciousness. They need a conscious being to use them and receive information from them.


I agree, but this has nothing to do with your earlier point about Dualism. The real question is whether Consciousness arises separately from brain activity, and I don't think you have established this at all.

Dr.Alan wrote:If you have any scientific instrument which can connect with the mind - you had better let the scientists know about it. They have wanted, in vain, such a thing for a long time.


You're already assuming that the "mind" exists separately from the physical body. Why? What makes an 'ancient' book any more authoritative than 'modern' Science/Philosophy in any case? Also, I don't remember any Scientist of the last 150 years or so pining after an 'instrument that connects with the mind'. As I said before, the Dualism/Monism debate was settled long ago - it doesn't make sense for Scientists to look for something for which (it has been shown) there can never be any evidence.

Dr.Alan wrote:All the while your mind is attached to your senses and your body (believing that is what you are)- you will never be able to read and understand the writings of people who have seen beyond these things.


Can't you see that this just begs the question? Who says those people saw "beyond these things"? They did! Your point is no better than someone's when they say the Bible is true because it says so in the Bible. Surely you have a better reason than this?

Dr.Alan wrote:If you do not believe that there have been people who have seen beyond these things then you would be better giving up your involvement with this subject


I don't see the connection. If you're saying that it's necessary to believe these people when they say they have "seen beyond" in order to understand that they "saw beyond" that is just circular. Moreover, do you really mean to suggest that the only way to approach this subject is from a point of complete acceptance of the propositions contained therein? You stifle discussion this way. In fact, it's a rather doctrinal view of the subject. If you only permit one line of inquiry into a subject, why bother with discussion at all?

Dr.Alan wrote:and wait until later in your life when you start to become more reflective about the prospect that your body will some day die - and what that might mean.


Again, what is the connection? Many people consider the fact of death - that doesn't imply anything about the validity of the claims in these 'ancient' books. Do you really want to say that your beliefs are merely based on an attempt to rationalise the inevitable demise of your body? I would like to think that, as generally inquiring people, we might be able to find a better foundation for our beliefs.

I find it somewhat humorous that after all our exchanges, you still assume I haven't been reflective enough on the subject of my death. I'm not drawing the same conclusions from that reflection as have you, but that doesn't say anything about the quality or rigour of my reflection.

MOTS

enlightened
Posts: 68
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:38 am

Re: SFSK Devotee

Postby enlightened » Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:24 am

Hi Babs, yes I hear you...... unfortunately Mrs M will not accept that the mind and brain are two different entities.The brain is an organ of the body that requires treatment when its not working properly, just like any other organ of the body.She is very old fashioned and only sticks to the scriptures and traditional way of life, very cut off from modern society. I learnt early on in the piece especially after a residential where the women folk had a meeting and Mrs M said something scathing about "womens liberation".... that its only her limited belief, and other intelligent women in the room felt the same way. theres no point arguing the point, she doesnt want to know.I just ignore that side to her and just take in the spiritual material....

still looking
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:42 am

Re: SFSK Devotee

Postby still looking » Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:55 am

Thank you enlightened for raising an important issue regarding spiritual work and therapy and for sharing your experiences regarding this, and thank you Babs for your observations. My experience at SFSK was also that the school was often suspicious of and at worst downright hostile to psychotherapy and related approaches. For a few of my years at the school I was also in therapy and at a certain point I became aware of Mrs Mavro's attitude.

Babs writes of Mrs Mavro's injunction that her partner "stop therapy as psychiatrists were, in her opinion, most unhelpful, (I think she might have even said psychiatrists were 'bad') that depression was all in the mind, and all my partner needed was to attend the SFSK regularly and do his three hours of spiritual practices a day".

I think it's extremely important to understand that there is no conflict between spiritual work and therapy and that in fact they can work together to make the mind a healthier place. Mrs Mavro's comments are actually highly irresponsible and potentially limiting, even damaging, to people who need help. (Perhaps not all tutors shared this attitude - some did/do, and I came across comments along these lines from time to time in classes over the years, but I also know from private discussions that at least a couple of tutors supported the idea of therapy when it was needed.)

Personally, I generally found that the fundamental spiritual practices I learnt at the school complemented my therapy. There is a huge evidence base for the benefits of being present, observing one's thoughts and tendencies and meditating as part of the healing process. These techniques form the basis of cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, a whole range of Buddhism-influenced approaches. I must admit I was taken aback when I first became aware of Mrs Mavro's and the SFSK's hostility to psychotherapy. Although I treated it as another Mavro archaism, and got on with what I knew I needed to do, it was also disturbing and was an important factor in my developing doubts about the school. It certainly became part of my increasing awareness of SFSK authoritarianism and intrusiveness (which have been discussed widely in many posts).

The whole point is that it isn't an either/or thing at all and that it's staggeringly irresponsible of Mrs Mavro (and anyone else at the SFSK who agrees with her) to suggest that it is. Therapy and meditation/self-observation are complementary. Care for the mind and spirit and if you need professional help, get it!

enlightened
Posts: 68
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:38 am

Re: SFSK Devotee

Postby enlightened » Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:30 am

Hi still searching, totally agree, Ithink that most intelligent people take a lot of Mrs M's misguided views with a grain of salt, another one is that you only need 4-5 hours sleep a night., even tho the common medical opinion is 7-8 for optimum health. I have spoken to the other tutors and they acknowledge mental disturbances and the benefits of psychiatry, altho they wouldnt admit this to Mrs M.I do know how you feel, but I just ignore some of the silly things she says and just focus on the spiritual content, the practices and being with like minded people.I wonder if its like that in other spiritual organisations, where they strictly adhere to the teachings of their guru, to the exclusion of all else????

ManOnTheStreet
Posts: 137
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:32 am

Re: SFSK Devotee

Postby ManOnTheStreet » Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:30 am

How do you distinguish between "spiritual" and "non-spiritual" content?

Someone else
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 11:48 am

Re: SFSK Devotee

Postby Someone else » Wed Mar 27, 2013 1:54 am

Hi enlightened,
are you suggesting that Mrs Mavro is your 'guru' ? If that's what you meant, what qualities do you find she has that would be necessary for this role? If she's not your 'guru' then what qualities does she exhibit that one would expect from a leader of a spiritual organization? If you are referring to HH as your 'guru' then do you think its odd that students are discouraged from going to see him? Whilst a student at SFSK I sourced a book by HH (translated into English with wonderful photos) and when I showed my tutor I was told that it wasn't appropriate material for me to read!


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