This book looks at the complex of forces that tempt otherwise insightful, compassionate, and well-intentioned spiritual teachers to lose their way and that tempt some of their students to lose their way as well. It analyzes why most of our current efforts to keep spiritual teachers from transgressing usually don't (and often can't) work and, perhaps more importantly, it suggests a set of practices and structures that can build community, encourage healthy student-teacher relationships, increase trust and spiritual intimacy between teachers and their students, and help authentic spiritual teachers stay happily monogamous or celibate.
Sex and the Spiritual Teacher is for anyone who is or might become part of a spiritual community: students, teachers, clergy, lay leaders, and even casual visitors. It's a reader-friendly, no-nonsense guide to making spiritual life safer and fuller for all of us one person, relationship, and community at a time.
Topics covered include: The shadow side of celibacy, the spiritual teacher as role model, why spiritual teachers are sexy, creating healthy teacher-student relationships, the power of no, the spiritual teacher's partner: soulmate or saboteur?, tantra and pseudo tantra, crazy wisdom and its shadow, why codes, policies, and therapies aren't enough, the sexual power of students, spiritual insight and arrogance, training, encouraging and culling spiritual teachers, when a spiritual teacher transgresses: responses of a healthy community, and an open letter to spiritual teachers.
"This book is about spiritual teachers who have sex with their students, the suffering that such encounters often cause, and what all of us can do about it. This is not a book of finger-pointing or whistle blowing. Nor does it defend or apologize for spiritual teachers who lose their way...This book is intended to create greater safety and spiritual intimacy between spiritual teachers and their students, and among members of spiritual communities." Scott Edelstein.
"Deeply spiritual and eminently practical." Philip Martin, author of Zen Path Through Depression.
"It's a good read, too - no small feat for such a topic!" Jisho Warner, editor of Opening the Hand of Thought.
"This is the book we should all read before we need it." Jean Illsley Clarke, author.
"By emphasizing the humaness of even the wisest teacher and the importance of transparency, Edelstein provides wise, clear counsel for spiritual teachers, students, and those who care for them that will undoubtedly reduce the risk of problematic relationships, as well as help those who find themselves having crossed boundaries act with kindensss and care to extricate themselves from these harmful situations...Edelstein's willingness to look at what is so often hidden with unwavering clarity and compassion is an immense gift to us all." Lizabeth Roemer, co-author of Mindful Way Through Anxiety.