When you hear the call of the spiritual journey, it’s only natural to also seek guidance, a 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.
Finding The Right Spiritual Teacher
You can learn from conference speakers, books and electronic media. However, nothing compares to personal instruction when learning spiritual technologies. This especially true for those with mantras, sutras, mudras, and similar sound-based sutras. Also, you need real-time feedback when learning moving technologies like tai chi, qigong. This is also true for healing modalities like Reiki, etc.
Almost every learning experience benefits from personal, one on one instruction. As such, 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.
Attributes of a Good Spiritual Teacher
Like a boat, They take you to a different place
“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. Notice they are seeking to be a celebrity. Make sure you find someone who wants to give you tools. I can think of one of my teachers who did his best to keep from being treated like a celebrity. However, his teaching was so effective people kept pushing him into the spotlight. He resisted this and constantly made the meditation 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.
They spend one-on-one time
If your path leads you to seek spiritual growth through someone out a teacher, remember the qualities of a good teacher are someone that can spend significant time with you one on one. This requires a significant investment in time. They may not necessarily be likable, charming or socially acceptable. However, a good teacher will challenge you, see through your personal BS and boundaries.
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 of this kind of teacher is found the works of Carlos Castaneda and the character Don Juan. It also reminds of my teacher Guru Tua.
This is different from a person who has or seeks celebrity status, is socially astute, emotionally intelligent and above all popular and beautiful. These latter qualities are those of a salesman, not a teacher. Above all, don’t follow after 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.
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.
Religion is dogma concerned with who might have created the universe, what may happen after you die and rules of integrity for governing behavior. This doctrine is cloaked in fear of eternal punishment for those that disagree, and an eternal paradise for those who do “believe.”
Whereas, Spiritual exploration has nothing to do with doctrine or dogma. It involves the application of spiritual tools/technologies to expand awareness and open the doors of consciousness. These spiritual technologies stand up to the test of science as having repeatable common experiential phenomena. This is the arena of spiritual exploration.
Spiritual Exploration is the application of processes. That’s it. These processes involve the expansion of awareness. And, some involve the investigation of higher states of consciousness. There are many ways to list these processes. We like this simplified method. Some of these technologies could be in more than one category:
- Logical reasoning is one of the first tools we study. This includes the companion tools, spotting logical fallacies and logical axioms. Above all, these are essential tools for any spiritual explorer. They are able to sharpen your ability to discern fact from fiction.
- Another important basic toolset is the “inner work” methods like The Enneagram Personality Profile. These help us to understand the mechanisms of Ego, personality, and instincts. They also provide a doorway to understanding the virtues and gifts of the spirit.
- Progressions of seated meditation are the heart of the practice. This includes a range from Basic Mindfulness Meditation through Japa Meditation and the Siddhis of Patanjali.
- Next, progressions of moving meditation. For instance, several methods of energy collection, like Forest Bathing, Qigong, and Tai Chi.
- Awareness and consciousness expansion pathways such as Lucid Dreaming and the Shamanic Journey or Guided Meditation.
- And last but not least, several healing modalities, such as Reiki, and Shiatsu.
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.
If this article resonates, there are more on our blog. Also, you may be interested in learning about our blended learning process. This is our curriculum which we use to teach several mind-expanding tools. It also aligns the Hero’s Journey. This is the term Joseph Campbell gave the pattern of consciousness development. Our learning process is available in two forms. You can take part in the virtual learning module or in our workshops.
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