Spiritual Learners Guide ― Tips for Finding a Good Spiritual Teacher

Spiritual Learners Guide ― Tips for Finding a Good Spiritual Teacher

When you hear the call of the spiritual journey, it’s only natural to seek guidance.  We’ve put together some helpful tips, a learner’s guide, to help you find the right spiritual teacher.

The right teacher can help you open the doors to higher states of consciousness.  But this arena is also full of counterfeits.  So, finding the right spiritual teacher is important.

Tips for Finding a Good Spiritual Teacher

You can learn a lot at conferences.  Books and electronic media are also good learning tools.  But, nothing compares to personal instruction. This is essential for techniques that involve mantras, sutras, mudras, and similar sound-based tools.
 
Also, you need real-time feedback when learning moving meditation technologies like tai chi, qigong.  This is also true for healing modalities like Reiki. Post learning checks help to ensure learning. Post learning discussions are a part of most ancient traditions.

Almost every learning experience benefits from personal, one-on-one instruction. As such, a good qualified teacher or guru is irreplaceable in spiritual exploration.  We take this limitation into account with our virtual learning sessions.  It’s always important to follow up with personal feedback.  This is why we have compiled some best practices, tips for finding a good spiritual teacher.  Think this “learners guide” as a spiritual seekers checklist.

Attributes of a Good Spiritual Teacher

Like a boat, a good teacher or guru will take you to a different place.  They will open doors.  Sometimes they push you through them.  They do what is necessary to give you the tools to forge your path.

Guru is not the goal. Anyone who establishes himself as a guru to be worshipped is not a guru.  Guru is like a boat for crossing the river. It is important to have a good boat and it is very dangerous to have a boat that is leaking. The boat brings you across the river.  When the river is crossed, the boat is no longer necessary. You don’t hang onto the boat after completing the journey, and you certainly don’t worship the boat.
— Swami Rama of the Himalayas

This is a very good summation of what to look for in a teacher.  Take notice of those who are seeking to become a celebrity.  Make sure you find a teacher or guru that is only interested in teaching you tools. You don’t want a teacher that wants to make disciples.

One of my best teachers did his best to keep from being well known or treated like a celebrity.  He wanted to pass along his knowledge.  Then he would send you out.

However, his teaching was so effective people kept pushing him into the spotlight.  He resisted this and made the technique the focus.  I’m talking about Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.  He taught teachers and sent them out into the world.  He also openly promoted other teachers and other methods.

Good teachers work One-On-One

You will find a great number and variety of teachers in the arena of spiritual development. One of the qualities of a good teacher is someone who can spend significant time with you.  This requires a significant investment in time on their part.

They may not necessarily be likable, charming, or socially acceptable. However, a good teacher will challenge you, see through your personal BS and boundaries.  You can’t get this type of instruction in a large group.

Use Any Means Reasonable and Necessary

An effective teacher will use any means reasonable and necessary to take you to the next level.  They will teach you what you need, not necessarily what you want.  Sometimes this means learning mantras.  Other times, they may use methods to shake you into eureka moments of growth.

Sometimes these methods are not pleasant, but then spiritual growth is about the destruction of boundaries. A good example is Don Juan.  He is a permanent character in the books of Carlos Castaneda.  He reminds me of my teacher Guru Tua.

This differs from a person who has or seeks celebrity status.  People who base their credibility on popularity and showmanship are salesmen, not teachers. These latter qualities are those of a salesman, not a teacher.  Above all, don’t follow a salesman. Focus on finding a spiritual teacher who can challenge and impart techniques that enable you to change.  Stay away from those who cater to the masses.

This is one tip in the “learners guide” that sometimes can lead to abuse.  Reasonable and necessary does not include emotional, physical, or sexual abuse.

What To Avoid

One of the most important tips for finding a good spiritual teacher is knowing who and what to avoid.  Above all, don’t get sidetracked.  Don’t fall into the trap of confusing spiritual investigation with religion. Many people don’t understand that spiritual exploration is at the opposite end of the spectrum of religion.  Don’t become a follower of a person or ideology.

Religion is doctrine based on mythology with three typical concerns. These are who might have created the universe. What happens to you, if anything, after you die. And, rules governing behavior. They cloak this doctrine in fear of eternal punishment for those that disagree and an eternal paradise for those who do “believe.” They use language to make themselves sound spiritual.

Whereas, Spiritual exploration has nothing to do with doctrine or dogma. It involves the use of spiritual tools/technologies to expand awareness and open the doors of consciousness.

Learners Guide to Spiritual Technologies

If you are looking for a teacher or guru find one with experience teaching one or more of the following spiritual technologies.

Spiritual technologies are tools for exploring consciousness.  They result from generations of research by cultures around the world. These processes stand up to the test of science. They are repeatable and measurable.  Everyone who can follow a process can use these tools. We call the practice of these processes spiritual exploration.
You can list these tools in several ways. Some fall into more than one group.   We like this simple method of grouping.

Critical Thinking

The first group is several analytical tools to enhance critical thinking. The Enneagram Personality Profile is the first tool of our blended learning process. This tool provides insight into the mechanisms of ego, personality, and instinct. Logical reasoning, spotting logical fallacies, and logical axioms. These are the three major tools of logical reasoning. This helps you to avoid common mistakes in assessing information.
 
Next, a research tool we call Comparative analysis.  This is a process to which to assist in exploring and comparing belief systems.  This process is a scientific process form of comparative religious studies. Together these analytical tools give a solid foundation of common sense thinking. They sharpen your ability to discern facts from fiction.

Seated Meditation

Seated meditation is the heart of most spiritual practices. This includes a wide range of meditation techniques. It starts with Beginning Meditation and Mindfulness Meditation. It progresses to more advanced forms like Japa Meditation the Siddhis of Patanjali.  

Moving Meditation

This is another foundational element that strengthens the mind-body connection. Moving meditation is also to our health and wellness.  This progression includes several methods of energy collection. Here we teach Forest Bathing, Qigong, and Tai Chi.

Awareness Expansion

Pathways for expanding awareness include a variety of tools. This group includes practical tools like the spiritual journal and automatic writing. Here we introduce lucid dreaming, the Shamanic Journey, or Guided Meditation. There are also techniques for third-eye awakening and soul memory awareness.

Healing Practices

Healing practices are the final group.  This branch includes Pe Jet, Reiki, and Shiatsu.  Self-care is an important element of this group. It is vital for normalizing our inner work and maintaining our health and wellness.

The practice of spiritual exploration does not require belief in any set or form of dogma. The goal of this path is to explore other realms of perception and consciousness.

In Conclusion

The right teacher can propel your spiritual practice.  So, it’s important to find one that gives you tools.  It’s equally important to avoid the rabbit hole of Western organized religion. We hope these tips for finding a good spiritual teacher will help you in your quest.  If you find this “learners guide” helpful, pass it along.

If this article resonates, there are more on our blog. To find out more about our organization, see our page FAQ.

Interested in spiritual exploration?  Check out the blended learning process at the core of our teaching process. It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey.  Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions.  Please consider donating and supporting our mission. This helps others learn the knowledge for developing their path.

References

Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia

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