The journey of our Soul back to its roots, back to self knowledge is the rarest and most precious journeys of all. If the pull has awakened in your heart, you are truly a chosen one. Because this path is very subtle and nuanced, almost all of us will need a qualified spiritual teacher to guide us and support our spiritual awakening process. In this blog post I want to talk about this very important subject of the relationship with a spiritual teacher – the easy sides, the difficult sides, the imbalances on the teacher’s and student’s part. Hopefully this will support you in growing into a mature relationship with your spiritual teacher.
The Role of The Spiritual Teacher
Simply put, the role of the spiritual teacher is to help you awaken and see your own true nature. It is also about helping you mature as a human being that lives consciously. S/he is there to nurture you, give you confidence in your deeper knowing, cultivate your spiritual wisdom and support with heightening your energy field vibration. In many ways the teacher fills a role that in an ideal world would have been our education from childhood. This is why many of us look up to our spiritual teachers as fathers and mothers – a sometimes problematic tendency. I’ll talk about that later.
It is important to understand that the teacher is not perfect. But they know themselves much deeper than most people. This is what gives them the authority to take others deep into their being. The authentic teacher know themselves beyond the psychological self. They don’t get confused by the noisy collective mind of humanity. And this gives them tremendous strength and stability. While most people are caught in the web of their mind, the teacher is free.
Connecting With The Teacher
It is of utmost importance to be clear with your intention. When you connect with a spiritual teacher you should not search for a parent. In fact the only thing that should motivate you to connect is Love Of Truth. The teacher, just like you, is a human being and can’t give you everything. Many people fall into this trap. They have many disappointments from life and hope to find a perfect figure that will heal everything in them. This figure doesn’t exist. The more pure your intention is with connecting, the easier it’ll be for you to receive the teacher’s gifts. The more you search for perfection, the bigger your disappointment will be. Always remember: the teacher is human just like anybody else. S/he isn’t a Buddha statue.
Another important point is that to truly receive the gifts of the spiritual teacher you can’t just use them like a product you then later throw to the garbage. For this transmission to succeed it has to be a love relationship. It has to be rooted in the heart. Many do the mistake of thinking they can just be constant takers. Today they take from this teacher and tomorrow from that teacher. The problem with this approach is that without you noticing, you never actually allow the gift of the teacher to reach your soul.
Complexities with The Spiritual Teacher
Every deep relationship has its complexities. But with the spiritual teacher it is quite unique. The teacher’s job is to open you to your true self. To do that it is imperative to touch those places within you, you really don’t want to see. When that happens you’ll very often doubt the teacher. Your feelings will move from love to hate towards them. Your teacher will present degrees of honesty and transparency you’ve never met before. It can feel challenging. Despite the fact you’re deeply attracted to the teacher’s presence, when it penetrates you and meets your limitations, it can be hard. You should remember that this is a natural part of the process.
The student very often projects lots of great expectations of the teacher. And funnily this puts the teacher in a difficult zone. Because on the one hand they want to support your freedom, but on the other they can’t just ignore ALL your projections. There is a compassion towards the student’s projections. We all have them. The spiritual teacher had them too. So there should be a softness in allowing the student to slowly mature from their projections. This is a slow and gradual process. So the teacher has to play along with some of the projections of their students. Sometimes they’ll need to play a bit the parent. At others to play a bit the “perfect one”. In other occasions to be the friend etc.
The Teacher is Always Human
In many ancient spiritual traditions and scriptures, the spiritual teacher is depicted as the perfect one. These scriptures are old and perhaps for those times this image worked. But in our times we have to see the multi-dimentionality of it all. We can’t work only with mythological models. The teacher is a human being as well as a realized pure consciousness. In fact all of us are both of these. No matter how liberated the teacher is, they exist in a human body with human emotions. This makes them always vulnerable and definitely not perfect. Some teachers however, due to either cultural upbringing or the simple wish for power, fall prey to pretending to be perfect. This is unfortunate as it is bound to fail.
You as a student should remember that if the teacher can’t show a healthy degree of vulnerability, humbleness and approachability – you’d better find another, more qualified teacher. No teacher is too divine to be friendly, to be personal and approachable. No teacher is too divine to make mistakes. If a teacher puts too much emphasis on being above you, hierarchy and obedience, it might be that you are stuck with a dictator personality. If a teacher cannot admit a mistake and apologize sincerely – you may be dealing with a power addict. Humanness and simplicity are always signs of a good and honest spiritual teacher.
The Subtle Dimension of The Relationship
Now that we’ve cleared up some of the complicated areas of the relationship, let’s take a look at the subtle sides. The teacher has pierced through much of the illusion of the human collective mind. Their energy field is vibrating on a higher frequency. They live in deep silence and are highly immovable within. This is not just an inner state but actually radiates from their energy field to everybody they meet. However the conscious student can receive the most of this natural transmission. This is one of the best ways to learn. Transmission combined with wise words is one the best ways for spiritual advancement. To receive this subtle energetic component the student has to develop deep silence.
Silence is key in the entire spiritual path. In many ways it is the center of everything. When you are silent, you open up and become available. This is how your energy field can commune with that of the spiritual teacher. And that’s a fantastic acceleration that isn’t available in other ways.
The relationship with a spiritual teacher is very precious and frankly speaking – irreplaceable. That being said, make sure you come from a pure intention to know the Truth. Also make sure your teacher has the same intention. Study your teacher. Check their motivations as well as yours. If you are too needy and tend to project, take responsibility. If your teacher is too power ridden, search for a better, purer teacher. Don’t let charisma and strong energies or eloquence in speech confuse you. A pure heart is the most powerful thing. Search that in yourself and in your teacher and you won’t be disappointed.