Spiritual Teachers

Teachers

Almost everything I have ever read on the subject has advocated the need for a teacher. In the most obvious sense, a spiritual teacher is a guide to keep you 'on track'. They are someone you can turn to for advice or reflection - someone who recognises the value you see in spiritual practice and acts with your interests at heart. No doubt, if you are seeking, a teacher can feel like a godsend!

They may also be quick to point out when you have gone 'awry': fallen victim to spiritual bypass, critical misunderstanding, nihilism, 'awakened person complex' or an egoic God complex.

There are many possible definitions of spiritual teacher:

  • Realised guide.
    Someone who has had significant realisation.
  • Close friend.
    Someone who is 'walking the path' with you.
  • Life itself.
    The most under-appreciated: your life. Every moment can be seen to be pointing you at realisation. The highs and lows, the futility and despair, the ecstacy, the repeating patterns (that which you don't understand) and even the appearance of books, songs or movies. Learn to reflect.

Finding a Teacher

Should you decide to find a teacher in the customary sense, the Internet certainly makes it easier than ever.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Don't jump. Take your time and ask questions - be discerning. Get to know the person. Trust takes time to develop, and you will need trust because sometimes this person is probably going to tell you things you don't want to hear.
  • Students. If they have a community, talk to some of their other students. If it feels like a cult, make sure it's a 'nice cult' as Francis Lucille once said!
  • Snake oil. Does it feel like they're trying to sell you something? Spirituality is not immune from the depravity of human nature.

Non-Duality Teachers

Doing an Internet search for 'non-duality', or 'advaita vedanta' is likely to turn up a variety of resources and teachers on the subject. Just remember to do your homework.

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