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RESPONSE TO LETTER-INSTRUCTION BY SEBAI MAA NETERIAN CLERGY STUDIES
Q) During the last conference I witnes that Seba Dja was accosted by an aspirant and talked to with harsh tones of speech and wondered if the unut who knew this person communicated with the person to discuss the issue or the appropriateness of that interaction? For myself and others who might have been around that seemed out of place and inappropriate and disturbing.
A) The above question was posed to Sebai Maa. As part of our clergy studies we were sked to reflect on this students’ concerns, reflect on their concerns and respond with our own reflections.
In many spiritual traditions, with authentic teachers and preceptors, one of the major or main principles that is imparted from aspirant to spirant is that of full and open respect for the spiritual teachers. In the incident involving Seba Dja, within the context of a spiritual group this would be unacceptable however it may be understandable as some aspirants may carry with them misunderstandings and latent egoism that comes out and is directed at the teacher. Be that as it may, its understandability does not negate its inappropriateness. If the situation was witnessed by a member of the Hemu, then it is that cleric’s duty to protect the teacher and try to counsel and share higher knowledge of comportment, appropriate comportment with the offending party. If the cleric has a personal relationship with the offending party, then that action then becomes an issue within their relationship. Therefore, the cleric should try to approach the issue with the offending party within a dual context; firstly, as a friend and fellow human being who have close association and secondly as a member of the Hemu. So, this is one of the dangers of relationships and close associations, that these complex issues do arise.
The Shetaut Neter community is very small and we are not as well established as other traditions. This has given us, students of the teachings a unique and valuable condition. We know our spiritual preceptors personally; we can call them and email them whenever we want and receive an answer directly from them. There is no intermediary as such, even when there should be one. Sebai Maa and Seba Dja have not deflected from this situation but have embraced it with courage and good faith. We are very fortunate. Since we are essentially soul and we are essentially on the pathway to enlightenment, then our relationship with them becomes our most cherished relationship, the relationship of the soul with a higher spirit. In as such this relationship needs to be cared for and protected, as they care and protect us from the vice of egoism. So when I received the word of the inappropriate approaches and verbiage towards Seba Dja, I received it with great apprehension, meaning it was very troubling. Seba Dja has proven to be a very compassionate and caring spiritual teacher for us, beyond all measure, not just now, but over the years of our association with the Sema Institute and thus the troubling nature of the negative approaches by the aspirant.
I think and muse and sometime wonder how I would have reacted If I were there when it happened. I have discussed this with Asar Maat, and I know for sure I would at the very least put my body between her and the aspirant. It is not now my nature to argue and exchange harsh words, but I would have protected her in some way. I feel the very same about Sebai Maa.
I was not there, I wonder what were the initial feelings and reactions and actions of any member of the Hemu that was there. Wrere we spectators at a throw down or were we protective of those who nourish the soul for higher realization. There was once a spiritual teacher who came to the US from India. He was at the airport dressed in his traditional clothing. At the counter the American person was very rude with him, handled him roughly and yelled at him. One of his American students came to the counter and said, “If you talk to my spiritual master like that one more time, I am going to smash your face.” I don’t propose we act like that, but what was our reaction at the moment when Seba Dja found herself being accosted by this person for no real reason? I think it is a very troubling and unrighteous occurrence and when I heard it, it was like my very best friend was harmed. Seba Dja was in such an elevated space, we were all talking and worshipping and sharing sacred space with the profound teachings, we were all so elevated and then this happened. Not that it ruined anything, but it should not have happened in a relative sense, at least not in that way, there is a way to handle disagreements, professionally, ethically and with respect. There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever, that if Seba Dja was approached differently the aspirant would have benefited in ways that she would not have expected, because these (SMAA, SDJA) are good people. I think Seba Dja handled it very well, not only sagely but professionally as well.
So am saying all of this to say that something should have been said, maybe not at the very moment, to allow tensions to ease, but there could have been a discussion with the Hemu member who knows the aspirant and the aspirant guided by Sebai Maa on the issue to try and bring a resolution and the much warranted apology. So now, I think it is up to the aspirant to heal the relationship she injured, if the ariu would allow it. Thus, in practical terms, the aspirant should make amends; from the perspective of the ariu, it remains to be seen how it manifest itself in time to come. I was disheartened to find that the aspirant was someone who Sebai Maa took under his wings of Isis and was training her personally. There is a mundane proverb, it says, “you don’t know what you have until you lose it.” So as aspirants we must be careful with our actions. The Buddhist masters have a saying, “what has been given can be taken away.” What they mean by this is to be careful how one approaches the spiritual guide. It is on us, our responsibility to maintain proper comportment with our teachers. If we err, make amends, WHO is God not to forgive? In our teachings it says, “But if a soul on entering in the body of a man/woman persist in its vice, it neither tastes deathlessness nor share in the GOOD (Spiritual Consciousness)”. Many aspirants are unaware of how their relationship with the spiritual teachers actually have such a profound influence on their life. When this is forgotten, it is mostly due to vice and passion and is disordering to ones own spiritual life. We have learned, “where there is passion, nowhere is there good.”
Thus it is about understanding the teaching as is being brought forth authentically. One of the other issues this raises is the aspect of mingling with other teachers, without proper discernment and mixing the tradition with fallacious precepts and philosophies. This is a serious issue, when the aspirants are unable to understand that the pure teaching requires a pure approach to the philosophy. It is something to ne learned over time, but the ramifications of mixture are very serious. It is told in the Heremtic Text called, The Key, “And then the impious soul, scourged with its sins, is plunged in murders, outrage, blasphemy, in violence of all kinds and all the other things whereby humanity is wronged.” And so what we are witnessing is the physiology of leaving the pure teaching. Mundanely, it’s similar to my patients when they don’t complete their cardiac rehabilitation despite advice to do so because they think that all is good, then to find they have died or are back in the hospital. And like those patients, it is up to the aspirant to come back and enter into the mystic path that Seba Maa aand Seba Dja have so compassionately re-discovered for us (souls).
Q) I am not in the hemu group but I find it weird that I see members of the hemu group doing independent programs and trips without going with you or Seba Dja? I don’t understand how the temple is to grow if everyone is doing their own things? Shouldn’t everyone work together and support the main temple to build a strong temple for us all by supporting your efforts so we can get more kemet university programs and trips with you?
A) This is a very valid point and I think I am very guilty of this transgression. There may be ways in which to understand it, which does not erase whatever wrong was done, but to bring an understanding, penalties remain.
In full measure this is due to the functional ariu. Some of us may have the propensity for certain aspects of the teachings or certain qualities bring out certain capacities with regards to the teaching. We have been brought up in western culture, and so we have become acculturated to think in a certain particular way. Some aspects of western cultural indoctrination can impede our spiritual growth and cause a myopic view of the teaching. I have come to the teaching with certain failings, one perhaps is a sense of individuality. In a mystic sense, this sense of individuality is thoroughly negated and one can not make any spiritual progress with this sense of individuality. Yet there are certain capacities that remain with the mind and if the aspirant look at those capacities they start to develop, at fist very poorly but with time they get better. However, this does not negate the need for congruence, but perhaps it can bring to understanding how these things can happen.
So, if the Sema Institute is being led and organized by two people, there is limited time and resources, because of the production of books, travel, programs etc. It is somewhat like a kid that has raw talent for basketball. Ok, there is no one to tutor him for hours on end, so he goes to the park to play by himself or with his friends, otherwise he would be very unhappy. The person with a particular talent, may not have a structure to foster his growth, so he may try it on his own, especially if the person is infected with this sense of individuality. From the outside looking in it may appear that a person is competing with or negating or trying to prove themselves over another person, while unconsciously it is a propensity that is finding its way through the personality out in to the world of time and space. Therefore, it is not so much just wanting to do one’s own thing, it is a propensity that is struggling to mature itself and so it will find a way to do so regardless of the complexities that may arise due to that exertion. However, it does not change the fact that congruency is needed and perhaps ideal.
Then what if the person discovers, that if they did not go forward with their projects, they would be much worse off than they are now? What if these projects actually help him to maintain his spiritual growth to the degree that it has? What if this person sees that without putting his time (male energy) and focus in to these projects that he may not have grown in the teaching to the degree he has? What if the projects were his actual saving grace (along with the counsel sessions, long hours of conversation and spiritual guidance)?
Maybe we can come together and work on a plan to systematize what each of us are doing, be sure that what we do is an alignment with the teaching that is being purported by Sema and develop a system by which we are vetted by Sema. But again, do they (SMAA, SDJA) have time to vett all these projects? Can they keep up with the pace at which the projects will come up? For example, what if a person comes out with five books in one year, another comes out with three, another is doing a Djef Neteur program, do they have time for that? It is a quandary, if the congregation is seeking a more streamlined approach and more congruency and more involvement with Sema, maybe we should strive to create that.