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What makes a good spiritual teacher?
I ask because many of us go seeking spiritual teachers, usually when we go through rough times in our lives.
We want guidance. We want answers and solutions to our problems.
I believe this is because we have been so conditioned to forget how divinely powerful we truly are. We don’t believe in our own power (or we don’t remember it). We are so out of touch with our higher selves, to our natural states. Instead, our egos believe the answers lie outside. In other people, in other books, in other talks, in other healing modalities…the ego constantly craves more and more information.
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” ~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Here’s my personal belief: a good spiritual teacher is one who guides you right back to you. A good spiritual teacher is one who reminds us that everything we need is already within us. Everything. A good spiritual teacher will only help to remind us of this fact.
We are perfect exactly as we are. We just forget this because we have heaps of conditioning and limiting beliefs that keep us small and stuck and limited. In the end, I believe we all end up realising that the best spiritual teacher for ourselves is…us. We all have incredibly unique journeys and nobody knows us better than ourselves. Only we can guide ourselves back home. (Note: I am not saying to not reach out for help when it is needed).
Many of us turn to spirituality because we are in pain. We feel empty and we feel as though something is “missing” from our lives. We look to spirituality as a way to find an escape from that pain. What we often forget is that a part of spirituality means leaning into that pain. The only way out is in. Spirituality is not about emotional bypassing. It’s about learning to be okay with whatever emotion comes up.
Adyashanti is an American spiritual teacher. I came across his work in the midst of my own spiritual awakening (dark night of the soul). His words resonated with me and soothed my soul when I found it hard to see any form of light. Adyashanti studied Buddhism for many years and then began experiencing various spiritual awakenings of his own. His books and talks are a constant reminder that we are incredibly powerful beings. That we always have the power to find peace in the present moment.
I have chosen 12 of my favourite quotes of his. I hope they help you as much as they have helped me.
1. “The truth is that you already are what you are seeking.”
2. “All that is necessary to awaken to yourself as the radiant emptiness of spirit is to stop seeking something more or better or different, and to turn your attention inward to the awake silence that you are.”
3. “When someone tells you, ‘I love you,’ and then you feel, ‘Oh, I must be worthy after all,’ that’s an illusion. That’s not true. Or someone says, ‘I hate you,’ and you think, ‘Oh, God, I knew it; I’m not very worthy,’ that’s not true either. Neither one of these thoughts hold any intrinsic reality. They are an overlay. When someone says, ‘I love you,’ he is telling you about himself, not you. When someone says, ‘I hate you,’ she is telling you about herself, not you. World views are self views—literally.”
4. “As long as you are trying to become, trying to get somewhere, trying to attain something, you are quite literally moving away from the Truth itself.”
5. “Anything you avoid in life will come back, over and over again, until you’re willing to face it—to look deeply into its true nature.”
6. “When you get out of the driver’s seat, you find that life can drive itself, that actually life has always been driving itself. When you get out of the driver’s seat, it can drive itself so much easier—it can flow in ways you never imagined. Life becomes almost magical. The illusion of the ‘me’ is no longer in the way. Life begins to flow, and you never know where it will take you.”
7. “When we believe what we think, when we take our thinking to be reality, we will suffer.”
8. “Awareness isn’t something we own; awareness isn’t something we possess. Awareness is actually what we are.”
9. “Thoughts in your head are really no different than the sound of a bird outside. It is just that you decide that they are more or less relevant.”
10. “Whatever you want, be it. If you want connection, it’s because you are connection. Be what you want, and then it happens all around you. If you want love, be it. You’ll have more love than you know what to do with. Whatever you are inside, you receive a thousandfold on the outside.”
11. “You must want to know the truth more than you want to feel secure in order to fully awaken to the fact that you are nothing but awakeness itself.”
12. “By identifying with a particular name that belongs to a particular body and mind, the self begins the process of creating a separate identity. Add in a complex jumble of ideas, beliefs, and opinions, along with some selective and often painful memories with which to create a past to identify with, as well as the raw emotional energy to hold it all together, and before you know it, you’ve got a very convincing – though divided – self.”