For those with an aspiration to cultivate a life of awareness, wisdom and compassion engaged in the world for the welfare of self and others.
Mentoring drawing on insights from the Jungian, Transpersonal and Buddhist approaches
What might spiritual mentoring provide?
Compassionate support - counseling
Skillful guidance - challenging - deepening insight
Holding the process of transformation
Enabling the individual journey
Helping integrating work, family and spirituality
Revealing and integrating the shadow
Guidance in meditation and practice
Support in the process of healing
Individuation - The heart of mentoring
"Individuation is an expression of that biological process – simple or complicated as the case may be – by which every living thing becomes what it is destined to become from the beginning."
"Individuation means becoming a single homogeneous being, and, insofar as ‘in-dividuality’ embraces our innermost, last and incomparable uniqueness, it also implies becoming one’s own self. We could therefore translate individuation as ‘coming to selfhood’ or ‘self-realisation.’ "
A Buddhist way
There is a term in Tibetan Ge.Gen, which is often translated as spiritual friend and refers to an individual who, as an experienced practitioner, becomes a guide or companion on the path. This role may include some aspect of a teacher, as one who imparts specific knowledge and instruction into the spiritual practices of the individual. The primary ingredient in this process however is that the Ge.Gen is there to respond specifically as a support for the individual needs of the practitioner in their personal journey.
While I was living in India spending many years in retreat I had a particular spiritual mentor whose name was Gen Jhampa Wangdu. He died in 1984, but while he was alive he became one of the most important figures of my spiritual life. In many ways he was as important as Lama Thubten Yeshe my root teacher and some of the Lamas from whom I received empowerments and formal teachings. He was my friend, my guide, my counselor and an important model of someone attempting to live the life of a Buddhist practitioner while being thoroughly human and authentic. He was never grand and distant despite his profound realization and considerable reputation as a meditator. Compassionate, humble and down to earth to the last days of his life he was an inspiration to me.
My own background
I left school at 16 and went through an apprenticeship in electronics engineering until I was 20, when I went to university to study psychology. Since the age of 23 I have been a practicing Tibetan Buddhist having met Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche in Nepal in 1973. After four years studying the foundations of Tibetan practice in a Buddhist community in the UK, I went to India and was in retreat for much of the next five years. This gave me a chance to explore the practices of the Tantric tradition in some depth meditating under the guidance of Lama Yeshe, Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Gen Jhampa Wangdu in particular. Whilst in India I was fortunate enough to receive teachings on many of the important aspect of Tibetan Buddhism from Lamas such as H.H. Dalai Lama, Song Rinpoche and many others. Returning to the west I trained as a psychotherapist and began the process of bringing together the two worlds of Buddhist and western psychology.
Since 1985 I have been teaching meditation following the instruction and guidance of my teachers. During this time I have had the opportunity to learn a great deal from the experiences of those I have taught. In the practice of Psychotherapy also over the past 18 years I have seen many people who as spiritual practitioners, particularly Buddhist, have struggled in their spiritual life. My training as a Transpersonal/Jungian Psychotherapist has provided some sense of cohesion in understanding the kinds of process people involved in spiritual journeys will go through psychologically. Together these experiences have given me an increasingly clear sense of what may help and what may hinder the process of spiritual and psychological individuation. This has led me to become more involved in spiritual mentoring although I had not initially given it this name. I teach meditation retreats in Bristol and Devon some of which incorporate a movement practice facilitated by my wife Anna, As a father of two sons and a keen gardener and Thangka painter I have always tried to ground my Buddhist practice in a normal pragmatic lifestyle. This has not always been easy but has taught me to try to remain authentic, realistic and compassionate towards my/our human fallibility.
The experiences of those I have worked with over the years has provided some moving and precious insights into the ups and downs of the spiritual path as it unfolds in peoples lives. This has in part lead me to write The Wisdom of Imperfection exploring the individuation process in Buddhist life.
The Spiritual mentoring I offer:
I offer a process of mentoring that can support a spiritual lifestyle and practice for both Buddhists and non Buddhists. During this process I am happy to support a journey of individuation in depth and where useful introduce meditation practices that may be appropriate. Where psychotherapeutic exploration is useful this can also be part of the relationship.
Those who embark on this process will be asked to engage in some form of daily practice of an aspect of meditation that may include Yoga, Tai Chi, Chi Gung or similar approaches.
As in the practice of Psychotherapy this is entirely confidential and similar boundaries and contract apply. I would suggest the process of mentoring is allowed to follow a natural course to give time to unfold. Short term or individual sessions are, however, also possible.
Sessions will usually be an hour or hour and a half in duration and it is best at regular intervals of about a month.
I work in Bristol and Ashburton and also offer mentoring by phone or via SKYPE to those outside the UK
For further information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org