Seeking A Spiritual Teacher

By | Category: Words of Wisdom

“The teacher points the way, but the student must make the journey.”

When we went to school, teachers were there to instruct us.  When we go to seminars, night classes, work-related training or take anything to increase our knowledge, there is always someone there to teach us, instruct us, guide us.

It is no different for a system of meditation, taking on a spiritual path, or learning personal growth development, even though such a relationship could be more substantial in your life.  We need teachers to teach us how to drink this nectar of life.  Teach us to crawl, walk, run and fly.  We do it, but they coach.  Yes, we need someone to teach us how to fly.  Yes, teachers are needed, but …

Just remember …  Life and the path is not about the teacher.  It is not about the world.  It is about you…always.  It has always been so and always will be.  If you cannot make it about you, then you will fail, over and over again.  That may sound selfish, egotistical and quite simplistic, but search that more closely inside yourself.  How much control of things do we have in the world?  Very little, so it seems.  But we can start with the positive betterment of ourselves, for it is obviously the easiest and most accessible thing to begin with.  And if we do, and we work hard and diligently at it, the world will be a better place for it.  And if more and more people took that responsibility onto their shoulders, the world would continue to profit.

Instead of each one of us either trying to save the world single-handedly, or the opposite of not taking on any kind of responsibility in the society in which we live, it starts with each one of us…one at a time.  We are an army of one, each of us, an evolving, creating being, growing, expanding in this wondrous universe.  And paradoxically, a universe exists inside each of us, awaiting the awakening of that noble explorer, that adventurous spirit who needs to rise up, fight for and take hold of its divine heritage, then spark it into the greater reality … that magnificent being who is you.

But how do you get there from here, you ask?  If you are looking for a teacher or system, it begins with you, in you.  Periodically put the word out to the universe, then let it go and eventually a teacher (and a system) will come, but …

When searching out a system of meditation, or actually any type of self-improvement method, always look at the fine print.  Buyer beware.  Again, it should always be about you, the student, the aspirant, the seeker.  If it is about the teacher, it is another path to oblivion, it is the dog chasing its tail, it is the koan with no real answer, it is never getting off the roller coaster and it is never about you.  It must be about you, or it has no true reality for you.  For in the end, it is always more important how the actual teachings make you feel about yourself, not how you feel about the teacher.

Here are some guidelines to go by when searching out that system or teacher:

1) SENSE OF HUMOR: Make sure the teacher can see the humor in what you are doing.  Laughing at sacred cows is good for your health.  Watch out if irreverence is not allowed.

2) HUMILITY: The teacher should be honest about his own growth progressions, and not holding himself up as an expert of perfection.

3) GROUPTHINK: Be careful of a party line which overrides how people actually feel or think about what they are doing.  Be an individual.  Think for yourself.

4) SECRETS & TABOO SUBJECTS: Not a good sign if certain questions can’t be asked or shared, or problems voiced.  The suppression of information, guarded by an inner circle, is not healthy.

5) GENUINE ACCESS: Can you sit down and have a regular conversation with your teacher?  A good teacher will help debunk the guru myth.

6) SPIRITUAL CLONES: In its worst form of psychological stereotyping, a group of people manifest a narrow range of feeling in almost all situations, such as always happy or pious, or reduce everything to a single explanation.  This relates to groupthink.  Handle it the same way.

7) LOYALTY & DUPLICITY: Watch out for this. If you’re asked to prove loyalty to a teacher or system by doing something that violates your personal ethics, back off.  A group like this usually has a hidden agenda whose public face misrepresents its unhealthy true nature.

8) ASSEMBLY LINES: If you’re not treated as an individual, but are part of an assembly line system where everyone is treated the same, no matter what their differences… question the teacher.  Ask for the attention you deserve.

9) UNIFOCAL UNDERSTANDING: This is when a single worldview is used to explain just about everything.  If other explanations are not even looked at or considered, then consider another teacher or system.

10) GROWTH APPLICATION: Your teacher should be using the wisdom and knowledge they are acquiring from their own system to grow and meet the challenges of their own life.  If they’re not even doing and growing from the system they teach, then why should you be doing it?

Our leaders, our teachers, our gurus, our friends, are all not infallible.  Sometimes in our choices for spiritual teachers we suspend our disbelief too much, and arise them onto flimsy pedestals.  Rude awakenings await down the path, which on one extreme we may ignore to self-hypnosis and on the other we may throw the bums out.  And neither is usually the solution, for we were part of the problem from the beginning, because we went into the relationship with rose-colored glasses.  Try to follow the above guidelines to help guide you through this process.

But again, just remember – it is always more important how the actual teachings make you feel about yourself, not how you feel about the teacher.  It is about YOU.

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One Comment to “Seeking A Spiritual Teacher”

  1. Lee says:

    What great advice! Learn – Love – Laugh – Live! x