There are many stories and myths telling us that the jewel that we have searched for all of our lives, are buried in our own backyard. This of course, is applicable to many levels of interpretation and to many areas of our lives.
I have shared many posts with my readers on http://shaman-shewhoknows.blogspot.com about how far and wide my search has taken me to find the healing for myself and others who were born and raised in the Western culture and Judeo-Christian traditions.
My seeking took me to more than one teacher in the East and training in spiritual paths of the Hindu traditions. In his book Cutting through Spiritual Materialism, Chogyam Trungpa writes about how Westerners adopt Eastern traditions without understanding them. Other Buddhist teachers have also spoken out against the Western 'supermarket mentality', referring to our need for quick and easy solutions.
When I started working with a Guru in the Hindu tradition, I was dismayed at his lack of understanding of our Western psyche; of the wounding that women and men carry from such a patriarchal society and the soul wounding due to the materialism in our society and worldview.
My emphasis has always been on a psycho-spiritual approach, believing that the application of spiritual practises will not alleviate nor heal personal wounding and pathology. In Many of the Eastern traditions there are no psycho-spiritual approach. In my own personal experience, I was instructed to forget about all things of the mind and that all pathology will disappear when spiritual practise is faithfully applied. In many of the Hindu traditions there are no terminology for the diseases of the soul that exist in the Western world and the path to enlightenment is seen as a path without any reference to the process or how to process or integrate the changes that the practices of the spiritual path will incur. I witnessed many Westerners trying to stay afloat in this mindset and being washed ashore with a deep sense of inadequacy and 'not being good enough' to be acceptable to the Divine.
Many Westerners seek out spiritual traditions in order to find a solution to their psychological pathology and wounding. Some of them have never developed a strong personal self-identity and ego. In the spiritual world, the ego is seen as the Devil itself, but one needs a strong sense of self and therefore a strong ego with good boundaries, before the process of surrender to Spirit can start.
When there is no self-identity and strong sense of self in the world, then the seeker is vulnerable to self-destruction, being taken advantage of and to other forms of abuse at the hand of those self-same spiritual Gurus and teachers. Many have served Gurus and spiritual and religious leaders slavishly, because self-sacrifice and service to others have been idealised as spiritual idols. One who is suffering from the pathology of low self-esteem very easily becomes enslaved to victim-consciousness in this scenario, as the Shadow Self is covered over by the veneer of spirituality.
'Spiritual' solutions can often be applied as a form of self-denial and escapism. It is often evident how we can distort and change the true meaning of spiritual or religious doctrine to justify our own pathology and neurosis. The human mind has an incredible capacity for self-deception and it takes a mature and brave heart to see the self-deception and inner darkness (Shadow) with awareness, to accept self-responsibility in humility and in compassion for the self and to surrender to the transformation process and to stay in Wisdom of the True Self, through all of the above!!
In my post http://shaman-shewhoknows.blogspot.com/2010/07/how-many-seeds-of-sacred-pomegranate.html I say that : In order to know our authentic selves, it is necessary to spend a certain amount of time in darkness in our own underworld. During these times of trial and difficulty, we will be taken into a deep sleep-like state, such as told in the stories of Psyche and Sleeping Beauty. Those for whom the task has been too gruelling, may lose heart or fall into despair and self-blame during these dark times. Learning from personal experience is often painful, self-revelatory and embarassing; it may initially feel like an admission of failure to face the reality of a relationship founded upon projection or to discover that what you thought was one of your personal attributes was in fact non-existent. These are just some of the many masks worn by the inner daimon.
The sense of identity in the West is very different from that in the East. This does not mean that these paths and traditions are exclusive to certain traditions and cultures only, but it does mean that one has to deeply entrench yourself into a spiritual tradtion and path in order to truly understand its nuances and the context of the ego-identity that it serves.