About Writing, Life and Writing About Life

This is a question I found myself asking this weekend after a discussion with my sister. She shared with me a program she is looking at which she thought might be relevant to the book I am working on. I haven’t yet been to look at the program, which I’m sure is very helpful to many, and I am not criticising anyone who follows any spiritual development program.
My qualms come from the fact that deep inside I have a feeling that spiritual development can’t be taught. Yes, we can use lots of resources to explore the ideas we have, and glean information from one source or another. But if we accept what we are told without questioning then I feel we haven’t quite got it yet. This I think is where I depart from old-style religion. As I understand it from my childhood experiences there were teachings which were ‘right’ and if what you believed or felt inside was different then you were ‘wrong’. And I just can’t get that. To me what is inside is the only truth I have and I must trust it. Which is why I developed the concept of what I call the ‘truthometer’ – the gut feel that tells you whether something that you read or hear rings true for you at this time. I’ve been developing mine over the years and it’s pretty strong now.
So what did this thinking mean for me, as I embark on writing a book about spiritual concepts? It means that I have to hold true to my principles and beliefs. My book must not attempt to teach spiritual development. What I think would be ok is to share some of my own experiences, look at the kind of problems that occur from being on a spiritual path and how you can manage the impact on your life and relationships. Perhaps some of this thinking will find its way into the introduction of the book.
Does anyone have any thoughts? I would be happy to have a discussion about the issues raised here.

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Comments on: "Can Spiritual Development be Taught?" (2)

  1. I don’t think the question is really *can* it be taught, but rather *should* it be taught. Because isn’t teaching spiritual development what every parent does? Even if they don’t mean to they convey their attitudes and beliefs. Your friends, family members, and everyone you meet does this (including me right now :D).

    I think teaching people to develop their own spirituality is perfectly acceptable as long as one could be sure to minimize bias. It’s no different than teaching critical thinking. In fact, it’s exactly the same. We’re just applying it to religion where often questions are treated as scandalous and something that just should not be done. However, reading about someone’s experiences can have a profound impact as well, and at least you’d know where your biases were.

    Cheers
    ~MiM

    • Hi MiM and thanks for that thoughtful reply. I hadn’t thought about the fact that we are passing on our opinions anyway. I’ve always tried hard not to tell my kids what they ‘ought’ to think, but sometimes that has just meant there is no balance from other influences such as school. I love thinking about these big ideas, even when there isn’t really an answer 🙂

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