Lots of people ask about having a teacher on one’s spiritual path. Well, what’s a spiritual teacher? What can this relationship look like? Would it be the best choice for you personally?
Many people have asked me my estimation on having a teacher on a spiritual path. Like everything else in life, you will find only points of view regarding whether this choice is the best one for you. All I can do is reflect our experience regarding having a teacher and what I feel the benefits and problems are of participating in this type of relationship.
First and foremost, a teacher is someone who has been down the exact same road that you’re traveling – albeit at the very least a few miles before you a course in miracles. They understand the pitfalls and the roadblocks, and can assist you in making your path easier and less painful. They can comfort you with the data that many people have walked this road before and survived, no matter how difficult the trail may appear to you in the moment.
Second, a teacher can reflect items to you that you’d never see in yourself – at the very least not without lots of self-honesty, that is difficult to find whenever we are first on our spiritual path. Denial is usually our companion and we avoid what we fear is painful, even when we’re carrying it out subconsciously. The idea is that the teacher has more awareness and can work through the mental and egoic strategies that people eagerly justify and defend.
Third, a teacher creates a secure and supportive environment to permit us to open our hearts and minds in, giving us the chance to explore aspects of ourselves we’d normally avoid. A good teacher won’t use anything we’ve shared against us or to hurt us, and most importantly won’t manipulate us with this information. This isn’t unlike the relationship we’ve with your doctor – what’s discussed in the procedure room stays in the procedure room.
The dangers of this type of relationship are observed each time a teacher has not totally cleaned their ego-mind and still has the tendency to want to use people and situations for his or her personal benefit. The flip side of this matter is that many times the student does not understand the teacher’s standpoint because they are able to 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 speak to other students who have been down the road before for clarity – one of the ways or another. The purpose of your spiritual path is to increase your individual power, self-love and self-worth, not to give it away to others.
Other dangers involve becoming attached with a teacher feeling that if they certainly were to make you that you’d never achieve enlightenment. This really is just another appearance of “I’m bad enough” manifesting itself in another guise. There’s a vintage Chinese proverb that says: Teachers open the door, but you have to enter by yourself. A teacher can be a mirror for you personally, they are able to reveal many hidden aspects of your mind, and they are able to explain many of one’s habit behaviors which are causing you pain in your life. But in the long run they can’t do anything for you. You have to get it done for yourself. Anyone who promises otherwise is really a danger to you.
For me personally, having a teacher has been an unbelievable blessing within my life. He taught me what unconditional love was through action – not through words. He reflected if you ask me the love and blessing that I’m, revealing the lies that I’m not. He gave me words of support when the trail was dark and encouraged me when I thought I would never make it. He was brutally honest with me, since there was benefit or investment in lying to me. He lent me his eyes to see the world through in order that I really could experience that life could 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.