In my recent post on “the teacher“, Kirk asked about the teachers out there as there are so many. Its true. What comes to mind is a videotape of a story I heard Maharishi Mahesh Yogi tell about his teacher “Guru Dev“. The Swami left home at the age of 9 to find a spiritual teacher and spent about 4 years looking, in a land brimming with gurus. Of course, his standards were extremely high, even at that young age. Fully enlightened, well versed in the scriptures, and a lifetime celibate. The Swami had a lofty vision. Most of us don’t need quite that standard.
Indeed, for most of us what we need varies by our state of consciousness. You may have noticed that when you come back to some teaching you read many years ago that you come to it with a whole new understanding. You discover new values in what was already there, see it in a new light. This is because of the principle that “Knowledge is Structured in Consciousness.” As our awareness expands, so too does the “container”. With a broader awareness, there is greater capacity and depth of vision.
What I’ve found is that if I pay attention, what I need to learn or the “teacher” is always at hand. As Joan Osbourne sings “What if God was one of us, just a stranger on the bus…”. The teacher may come as a person, an event, a book, or an idea. Our whole existence is fundamentally a conversation of the Self with Itself, so what needs to be said is present in the very fabric of everything we experience.
There is an old saying – “When the student is ready, the teacher will come.” While I have sometimes been impatient, I have certainly found that when the time is ripe, the teacher shows up. Awareness draws the vehicle to the need. There are awake people all over. I know a bus driver, a grandmother, a salesman, and many others who are awake. And a few who are very awake, one with all That.
In the meantime, there are many with a message that you will find some value in. Even the person living on the street has something to offer if we can hear. Every experience we have contributes to our expression of the dream, the intimate desire of being to know Itself. Just pay attention to where the message is coming from to avoid being trapped in any side roads. Just because someone seems to be or even is awake, does not make them your teacher necessarily.
I cannot recommend a specific teacher or set of teachings because what has value for me may be irrelevant for you. Simply understand that there is no single lesson or single teacher but rather all of life and all experiences have something to bring us. Listen with your heart and you will find what you need to know or experience at any given moment on your journey home to who we are. That is where you will find the only true teacher, your Self.
[this became part 1 of a series of 3. Part 2]
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