Our Ethical Code
The mission of the Association for Spiritual Integrity℠ (ASI) is to foster the fundamental role of strong ethical principles in the ongoing development of spiritual leaders and communities.
As leaders and officials of the Tree Relaxation Retreat, in alignment with the ASI honour code, we commit to:
1. Holding ourselves, our colleagues, and our staff to the highest standards of ethics, right behaviour, and professional competency, as commonly recognized by our peers.
2. Performing our organizational and public-facing roles in a caring and compassionate manner in one-on-one and group interactions.
3. Respecting the rights, dignity, and safety of all who belong to our organization and those whom we serve.
4. Fostering autonomy, empowerment, self-sufficiency, and emotional maturity within our organization and in our dealings with others.
5. Treating questions, concerns, doubts, and experiences raised within our organization and from those we serve with respect, and never trivializing or dismissing enquiries.
6. Being self-aware, open, and humble about the limitations of our knowledge and experience.
7. Making only honest, realistic statements regarding the benefits of our organization’s offerings.
8. Refraining from giving counsel in matters outside of our areas of training and expertise, and making appropriate referrals as needed.
9. Being as honest and transparent as possible regarding our organization’s business and financial matters.
10. Honouring the sanctity of privacy and maintaining the confidentiality of information conveyed to our organization and its representatives in confidence.
11. Abiding by local laws with respect to the disclosure of information in cases of sexual abuse, child endangerment, and the intention to harm oneself or others.
12. Using proper care and caution with techniques that can potentially cause harmful side effects.
13. Acknowledging that, regardless of our spiritual attainment, we and our representatives are human beings with human personalities, limitations, drives, and needs.
14. Not seeking or presuming exalted privileges or glorified status because of our role in the organization.
15. Never manipulating, exploiting, or deceiving another member of the organization or those we serve to satisfy our personal aspirations, needs, or desires.
16. Establishing and maintaining clear and wholesome professional boundaries within the organization and with those we serve.
17. Never abusing the trust of members of the organization or those we serve to obtain sexual gratification or personal benefits such as money or free labor.
18. Being particularly mindful of sexual boundaries within the organization and with those we serve—and honouring them at all times.
19. Cultivating and practising honesty, integrity, compassion, humility, and empathy.
20. Engaging in continuous self-reflection, learning, and holistic personal growth.
21. Regularly reviewing our motivations and monitoring the integrity of our words and actions both within the organization and with those we serve.
22. Encouraging feedback about our own methods and behaviour—and taking that feedback seriously. This includes complaints submitted to the ASI.
23. Addressing any personal issues, concerns, or challenges that might affect our professional competency or our organization’s mission promptly. This Honor Code will be continually reassessed and periodically revised. We also acknowledge that many of the guidelines touch upon highly complex and nuanced issues. Additional documents may also be created to reflect new insight and analysis. We welcome honest feedback, open discussion, diverse perspectives, and discerning analysis.
Guidelines for Students
1. Students are invited to understand that teachers and students alike are human and, therefore always subject to growth, both personally and professionally. Growth has no end; it is a characteristic of our humanity.
2. Students and teachers should have open channels of communication so that misunderstandings and miscommunication can be worked out. If and when ethical grievances arise between a student and teacher or within the community, great care should be taken to ensure open and clear communication, so that all parties learn, grow, heal and evolve in a mature manner.
3. If major ethical violations of abuse have occurred, boundaries must be set and the appropriate administrative or legal actions should be implemented so that such abuse does not continue. Ethical grievances are not taboo topics and can and should be openly discussed in a way which is appropriate and healing.
4. Everyone has blind spots in their personalities. Habits and patterns that once helped create the ego can remain even after years of spiritual work and create suffering. Whatever remains in our shadow must be seen, healed, and integrated. This can take time, even for the most advanced teachers. An openness to our humanity, to growth, to love and compassion is the correct attitude for students and teachers alike.
5. Spiritual teachers have professional limitations. Sometimes additional support systems are required to help students progress. Other support systems should be considered by all students to supplement their spiritual path, e.g., it is wise to learn the tools for healing trauma and integrating one's shadow.
6. Students should realize that spiritual development and psychological development are mutually supportive. Spiritual wisdom cannot be cultivated without psychological maturation.
7. Students acknowledge that they should not seek financial or relationship advice from spiritual teachers unless the teacher is trained in those areas.
8. Students will refrain from gossiping about teachers and belittling teachers or spiritual traditions.
9. Healthy student attitudes are humility, honesty, integrity, open-heartedness, kindness, compassion, sincerity, morality, and objectivity.
10. Students are encouraged to develop an awareness and responsibility for any projections, in particular projecting God or celebrity status onto their teacher. Students should also develop an awareness and responsibility to not project their personal pain onto a teacher, or friends, and family.
11. It is wise for the student to develop a healthy sense of individuality and autonomy along the path. If a student becomes infatuated with a teacher, it is also wise to let time pass, and allow the dynamic to normalize.
12. Students will not make sexual advances towards or flirt with a teacher.
13. Students will not use retreat time or spiritual groups as an opportunity to meet romantic partners. It is wiser and more mature to respect the sacred environment of spiritual meetings.
14. Students will not donate more than they can afford to their spiritual teacher. All donations must be given from the heart, with no expectation of favouritism or special treatment from the teacher. Otherwise it is advised not to donate at all.
15. Students will not neglect their children and/or dependents as a consequence of seeking enlightenment or spiritual experiences.
16. Students and teachers will keep confidential the processes and experience of other students shared during spiritual meetings. Teachers are obliged to make it known to students when meetings are audio and or video recorded.
17. Students have the right to know and understand the confidentiality policies of the teacher or the organization that their teacher works with.
18. Students are allowed to leave a retreat or group at any time. Students should not surrender their personal authority to cult-like rules or allegiances.
19. Students are encouraged to engage with the teachings that they receive in an active way and to discover the Truth of the teachings within themselves.
20. Students are encouraged to become more autonomous (not less) throughout their journey on the path.
21. It is wise for students to respect each other and to honour that no two paths are the same.
22. No one individual, teacher or Guru has the right to force their opinion on a student. No student should be coerced into acting against their own inner wisdom. Each must ultimately choose how to live one’s own life and must take full responsibility for their unique path.
23. Students will refrain from spiritual bypassing or using any teaching to avoid looking at one’s own shadow. It is unwise to make excuses for one’s own unethical or harmful behaviours; it invariably leads to suffering. Students choose to take full responsibility for their own path, behaviors and outward expression.
24. Using consciousness-altering substances (psychedelics) within a sacred and spiritual ceremony requires careful consideration. It is neither an entertaining nor subtle means for spiritual evolution. If you have an inner calling to use psychedelic (plant or chemically derived) medicine to assist your spiritual growth, it is imperative that you research the substance(s) offered so that you know what you are getting to. Permanent side effects can result in people who have a history with mental health issues. Find out about the substance offered at an event and find out if you can trust the ceremony leader who is responsible for your health and wellbeing while you journey to what can often be darker parts of your own psyche. If you are taking medication that is mood-altering or you have a history of mental health issues, psychedelics are not appropriate for you. If you are taking other medication you must research to find out what is compatible with the plant medicine you are considering. Always consider what supports that you might need to call on after a psychedelic journey, in order to process and integrate what comes up for you.