Do you really need The Spiritual Teacher?
Many individuals ask about having a teacher on one’s spiritual path. Well, what’s a spiritual teacher? What would this relationship seem like? Would it not be the best option for you personally?
Many people have asked me my opinion on having a teacher on a spiritual path. Like anything else in life, you will find only points of view regarding whether this choice is the better one for you. All I can perform is reflect our experience regarding having a teacher and what I’m the benefits and problems are of engaging in this type of relationship.
First and foremost, a teacher is someone who has been down the exact same road that you are traveling – albeit at the very least several miles ahead of you. 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 lots of people have walked this road before and survived, irrespective of how difficult the path may appear for your requirements in the moment.
Second, a teacher can reflect what to you that you would never see in yourself – at the very least not without a lot of self-honesty, that is difficult to get when we are first on our spiritual path acim. Denial is usually our companion and we avoid what we fear is painful, even if we are carrying it out subconsciously. The point is a teacher has more awareness and can look out of the mental and egoic strategies that people eagerly justify and defend.
Third, a teacher creates a safe and supportive environment allowing us to open our hearts and minds in, giving us the chance to explore aspects of ourselves we’d normally avoid. A good teacher will not use anything we’ve shared against us or to hurt us, and above all will not manipulate us with that information. This is not unlike the partnership we’ve with our doctor – what’s discussed in the treatment room stays in the treatment room.
The dangers of this kind of relationship are found whenever a teacher has not totally cleaned their ego-mind and really has the tendency to want to utilize people and situations due to their personal benefit. The flip side of this issue is that lots of times the student does not understand the teacher’s perspective because they could only see from their limited point of view. They then judge the teacher, not totally understanding their intent or the larger picture. In these moments it really helps to talk with other students who’ve been down the road before for clarity – one of the ways or another. The purpose of your spiritual path is to increase your personal power, self-love and self-worth, not to provide it away to others.
Other dangers involve becoming attached with a teacher feeling that if these were to leave you that you would never achieve enlightenment. This really is merely another appearance of “I am bad enough” manifesting itself in another guise. There’s a classic Chinese proverb that says: Teachers open the door, but you need to enter by yourself. A teacher can be a mirror for you personally, they could reveal many hidden aspects of your mind, and they could mention many of your habit behaviors which can be causing you pain in your life. But ultimately they can not do anything for you. You must do it for yourself. Anyone who promises otherwise is just a danger to you.
For me personally, having a teacher has been an unbelievable 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 not make it. He was brutally honest with me, since there clearly was benefit or investment in lying to me. He lent me his eyes to see the planet through so that I possibly could experience that life may be heaven on earth. And most importantly, he loved me just the way in which I was, with all my bad habits until I finally could express the light that I am.