“A” is for Auditing and Auditor
The religious counseling of Scientology is called “auditing” and it is performed by an “auditor”. The word “audit” is usually associated with an examination of financial records, but it has an older meaning of “hearing”, or listening. (As a side note, the examination of financial accounts was at one time an oral examination, hence the “hearing” aspect.)
Just listening to what another person has to say can have remarkable restorative powers. A child will often love to tell you what happened to them at school and will be brighter when you simply listen to them say it. A friend or family member will feel better if you listen to the problems they are having. Most often you don’t even have to give advice – just “lend an ear”.
The opposite is true, too. How did you feel the last time a store clerk didn’t listen to you? Interrupting an angry person when they’re yelling at you is a sure fire way to escalate the argument. Or if you don’t listen to the child tell you about their school day they will no doubt leave the room dejected and sad-faced.
Auditing in Scientology, as practiced by a minister of the Church, an auditor, is taken to an even higher level. By asking specific questions of a parishioner the auditor is able to assist them to find traumatic incidents of the past that are unknowingly and adversely affecting them in the present. Once the parishioner fully views the past incident, and communicates it to the auditor (who is listening!), he or she will feel great relief.
The minister is bound by the Auditor’s Code, rules of conduct that will led to the greatest gains in the parishioner’s life. Paramount in this code are two rules:
- Don’t evaluate for the parishioner.
- Don’t invalidate the parishioner’s viewpoint or gains.
Counselors of any kind can fail on just those two points. “The reason you’re having problems is because your father stood on his head when you were an infant” is an evaluation by the counselor that is unlikely to help anybody. “You’re an idiot!” or “that’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done” are invalidating declarations that most assuredly won’t help anybody feel enlightened. The person you are communicating with must come to their own understanding of a problem and its solutions in order to get better.
Listening, not evaluation and not invalidating don’t just apply to Scientology auditing – they apply to all of life.