Relationship: How to Work with a Spiritual Teacher and Guide
by R. LaRue
So many people give themselves away in their misguided attempts to “get it” from a spiritual teacher or guru or religion. The induction into a remembering “Who you really are” through relationship to a teacher or a teaching or a religion requires a very fundamental honesty and intimacy within yourself. It all starts there -and from there, the miracle of a teacher is boundless…
All my life, when it came to teachers, gurus, and group processes, “I had a tude” as they say, I was all against it. These things were antithetical to my belief that all there is to know is within. I still believe this. But I’ve found there is a role and a reason for a teacher. It has to do with surrender (not of one’s self to the teacher) but of one’s self to the One Self. It has to do with setting in motion the seed of your Souls’ calling. It is a form of prayer and a form of worship really. But again, it is not worship of the guru (as is often mistaken). It is worship and communion in the dynamic revelation of the relationship between self to God (or of the Lover to the Beloved, to put it another way).
While I’ve read a few devotional books by devotee’s toward various teachers – and always felt a little (well, worse than) sad at their projecting onto another what can only truly be known within one Self — I’ve had a change of heart. I’ve come to see that there are times in one’s journey that it is crucial to have spiritual support. And there is a relationship to these times that requires both devotional respect as well as every shred of inner wisdom and maturity one can bring to bear. I’ve come to see that there is not a giving over of me to a teacher – or even that I need necessarily agree with or approve of some behaviors or imbalances I will surely see in the other if he allows himself to be honestly seen. There is a deeper current in this mentoring relationship – it requires a foundation of human honesty and deep personal faith in, and devotion to, the mystery of spiritual intention invoked through relationship.
It is very hard to put accurately into words this kind of relationship. But it is important. So many people give themselves away in their misguided attempts to get it from a teacher or guru or religion. If one’s sense of Soul is fairly well grounded already, a relationship to a mentor/teacher can accelerate the prayerful intent of Soul. If one does not have that grounding and/or if the teacher is not yet fairly well stabilized in his or her Soul, well then, all sorts of havoc can (and most usually does) arise. Both Souls can become lost in diversions of power and ego and false gods for a long long time.
The induction into a remembering of Who you really are through relationship to a teacher or a teaching or a religion requires a very fundamental honesty and intimacy within yourself. It all starts there. There, and by Grace and the integrity of intention, do miracles of awakening take place.
The best way I can liken it is to what I consider the proper use of books and religious texts as a teaching or guide. The way I approach a book is to listen in to how it stirs my own discovery of remembrance – I note places where it resonates something inside me (could be recognition, could be a question). And where it does stir something, I let it percolate within my own contemplation until the bud becomes my own flowering of insight and understanding.
This is how I’ve come to understand relationship to any form of spiritual guidance (be it a religion, a guru, a husband, a child, a book, or answer to a prayer). Everything in life, to the honest and receptive heart, has the potential to reveal true spiritual awakening. To see this — to start to allow the world (and each encounter in it) to be a teaching — is to cast the seed of Life on fertile soil. It sends a prayer of intention for the mystic out into the vast universe where all prayers reverberate and hasten to reflect. To seek in this way is to say: I’m here and I’m ready to listen. And to listen in this way requires the utmost personal awareness and responsibility for bringing forward one’s own inner wisdom in relationship to Life. It quickens the Soul because it is a living prayer. And true living prayer, is always heard.
copyright ronda larue, 2005