Lots of people ask about having a teacher on one’s spiritual path. Well, what’s a spiritual teacher? What would this relationship look like? Will it be your best option for you?
Many individuals have asked me my estimation on having a teacher on a spiritual path. Like the rest in life, you will find only points of view concerning whether this choice is the greatest one for you. All I can do is reflect our experience regarding having a teacher and what I’m the advantages and problems are of doing this kind of relationship.
First and foremost, a teacher is somebody who has been down the exact same road that you will be traveling – albeit at the very least a few miles before you best acim podcast. They understand the pitfalls and the roadblocks, and can assist you to make your path easier and less painful. They could comfort you with the data that many individuals have walked this road before and survived, no matter how difficult the path may appear to you in the moment.
Second, a teacher can reflect things to you that you’d never see in yourself – at the very least not without plenty of self-honesty, which can be difficult to get when we are first on our spiritual path. Denial is most often our companion and we avoid what we fear is painful, even if we’re doing it subconsciously. The point is that a teacher has more awareness and can see through the mental and egoic strategies that we eagerly justify and defend.
Third, a teacher creates a secure and supportive environment allowing us to open our hearts and minds in, giving us the opportunity to explore areas of ourselves we would normally avoid. An excellent teacher won’t use anything we’ve shared against us or to hurt us, and above all won’t manipulate us with that information. This is simply not unlike the connection we’ve with your doctor – what’s discussed in the treatment room stays in the treatment room.
The dangers of this type of relationship are located when a teacher has not totally cleaned their ego-mind and really has the tendency to want to make use of people and situations because of their personal benefit. The flip side of this problem is that many times the student doesn’t understand the teacher’s viewpoint because they can only see from their limited point of view. Then they judge the teacher, not totally understanding their intent or the larger picture. In these moments it helps to speak to other students who have been in the future before for clarity – one of the ways or another. The goal of your spiritual path is to improve your individual power, self-love and self-worth, not to give it away to others.
Other dangers involve becoming mounted on a teacher feeling that when they were to leave you that you’d never achieve enlightenment. That is merely another appearance of “I am negative enough” manifesting itself in another guise. There is a classic Chinese proverb that says: Teachers open the doorway, but you need to enter by yourself. A teacher could be a mirror for you, they can reveal many hidden areas of your mind, and they can mention many of your habit behaviors which can be causing you pain in your life. But in the long run they can not do anything for you. You have to do it for yourself. Anybody who promises otherwise is really a danger to you.
For me personally, having a teacher has been an incredible blessing in my own life. He taught me what unconditional love was through action – not through words. He reflected in my experience the love and blessing that I am, revealing the lies that I am not. He gave me words of support when the path was dark and encouraged me when I believed I would never make it. He was brutally honest with me, since there is benefit or investment in lying to me. He lent me his eyes to see the entire world through to ensure that I really could experience that life may be heaven on earth. And most importantly, he loved me just the way I was, with all my bad habits until I finally could express the light that I am.