Ethical Framework

Teacher and Student

The teacher-student relationship is based in mutual respect, on the one hand respect for the student’s interest and efforts, on the other respect for the teacher’s training and experience. In particular, the teacher-student relationship is not a parental or paternalistic relationship.

The teacher trusts that the student is seeking in good faith guidance in his or her path of practice. The student trusts that the instruction and guidance provided by the teacher are intended to help the student in his or her path of practice, not to benefit the teacher or the organization.

The teacher is responsible for providing the student with methods, perspectives and exercises drawn from the teacher’s own experience and training. The student is responsible for bringing to the teacher the questions, challenges and insights that come through his or her efforts. Through repeated interaction, the teacher’s instructions are shaped to the student’s questions and challenges. The student is then responsible for practicing those instructions, developing his or her abilities and meeting with the teacher when he or she feels the need for further guidance.

Both teacher and student are responsible for building and maintaining a relationship in which the student can grow and develop spiritually. Trust and respect are essential on both sides as effective learning can take place only in a balanced relationship. Both parties must act in good faith, honor the aim of the relationship and protect the relationship from their own emotional reactions. When either party feels these conditions are not present, that party is responsible for communicating his or her concern to the other and taking whatever actions are called for.

Part of the teacher’s responsibility is to awaken the student to new possibilities and give the student a way to free him- or herself from problematic patterns and beliefs, whether those patterns and beliefs are personal, social or cultural. Because the student may find that basic beliefs about survival, emotional needs and identity are being called into question, tension and differences may arise. When differences do arise in the relationship, both parties are responsible for addressing them constructively.

If, in the course of working with a teacher or attending a program, psychological, relationship or personality problems in the student are identified that inhibit the student in his or her path, the student is responsible for addressing them in addition to his or her work with Unfettered Mind. The teacher may make such additional work a condition for continuing to work with the student.

To facilitate a broad understanding, students of Unfettered Mind are encouraged to explore programs offered by other teachers and organizations. If the student actively works with other teachers, he or she must so inform the teacher at Unfettered Mind and, to avoid confusion, specify which teacher the student takes to be the primary teacher. The choice of primary teacher is the responsibility of the student, not the teacher at Unfettered Mind.

The relationship may end by mutual consent of both parties or because the aim of spiritual awakening can no longer be undertaken, i.e., the teacher feels that he or she can no longer provide the student with guidance and training or the student no longer finds the teacher helpful. In either case, the ending of the relationship must be clearly communicated to the other.

When the teacher-student relationship has ended, whatever the reason, teacher and student may engage other forms of relationship with each other. If the teacher and student do engage in another kind of relationship, they cannot return to a teacher-student relationship: however good their intentions, it is difficult to re-establish the requisite trust.

If the student feels that the teacher is at fault — for example, not providing helpful guidance, acting incompetently or taking advantage of the student for material, emotional or social benefits — and has not been able to reconcile his or her experience with the teacher, the student may file a complaint with the Board of Directors of Unfettered Mind. The filing of such a complaint is a de facto acknowledgment that the differences are irreconcilable and the relationship has ended.

Imbalances arise when either teacher or student seeks material, emotional or social benefits from the relationship. Imbalances also arise when teacher and student work on other projects together or either is interested in an emotional connection. The teacher-student relationship takes precedence over these other forms of relationship. If either party wishes to make such benefits, projects or emotional connection the primary basis of the relationship, the teacher-student relationship cannot continue and the other party must be so informed.

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