Yoga. Sound Healing. Angelic Reiki®. Well-being.
This week, synchronicity has been showing itself through many conversations I’ve been having with pupils of different disciplines. The common thread these people have all been discussing is teachers- essentially, what makes a ‘good one’ and what makes a ‘bad one’.
I’ve been to a lot of energy workers/healers (acupuncturists, reiki practitioners, osteopaths, sound healers etc.) over the past ten years. The one thing the ‘good’ ones- i.e. the ones that have had the most impact on my journey- all have in common, is that they are not dogmatic. They don’t say their way is the best way- and certainly don’t say it’s the only way.
I’ve also been blessed getting to work with and learn from many yoga teachers and spiritual teachers in the last few years from all the retreats and workshops I’ve been to.
Again, the best ones for me are the ones that don’t preach about their methodology, type, school etc. They instead show how their way has worked for and helped them, and can impart or guide the student to more information if they ask for it.
They show the students or clients how they see the world around them, and make it clear that what they are saying is truth for them. They state that their way is beneficial for them but everyone has to find the right tools for themselves. It’s never a ‘one size fits all’ situation.
Whether it is the truth for you, the student, is up to you to decide. And it is also for you to discover, not to be told.
I’ve been in the position of student and teacher in many situations and practices in my life, and I see time and again that students put their teacher on a pedestal. Put them above them. See themselves as a bit ‘less than’.
To be a teacher that can inspire and truly teach, it seems to me, you need to be aware of this common human pattern and be sure not exploit it. To make sure that you speak not in absolutes as if you know the universal truth for all. Because no matter where you are in your evolution, we are all still learning.
A good teacher, to me, is one who acknowledges this. One that gives their student the permission and the space to discover their truth. That they use their teachings as a tool, not an answer.
“It is important not to demand answers, while it is all right to pose questions.”
As I say, I’ve been on a lot of retreats and workshops. I’m someone who loves to read and learn, so have had many teachers over the years and have studied hard in a few disciplines. I have also been a teacher, lecturer and practitioner in different subjects and disciplines for many years.
The only thing I believe any of us can say for sure is, in this reality here and now, none of us truly know anything. I firmly believe ALL the knowing is inside each one of us and we only need work to recover and remember this knowing- the truth of our power, our divinity, the universal truth. But while we are here, in these bodies, in this 3D world where the idea of suffering exists, and we are still interacting in this world: no matter how far along our evolution we are, we are STILL HERE! And so, we still have much to learn.
If you can’t allow your ego to let go of the idea of being a Teacher or Healer with a capital ‘T’ or ‘H’, then I am not sure how great a teacher or healer you can be….
One thing most people- no matter the philosophy, religion or creed- agree on, is that it is not through ego we will be able to learn how to move forward on our paths. So, doesn’t it follow that we need to recognise and be aware when someone is guiding us from their ego?
Many times there are very vulnerable people on retreats, workshops or going to energy workers. The very nature of a student-teacher or client-practitioner relationship puts the student or client in a vulnerable position. They have to come open to trusting the person can help. Can guide where they have become stuck. That in the area they need guidance with, that the other person is further along that part of the path.
There are a lot of people working in these areas who have allowed ego gain control. Perhaps they have helped others profoundly and slowly, over time, have allowed the gratitude students have felt towards them build into narcissism. They come from a place of ‘holier than thou’ and ‘I know’. I don’t say this out of judgment, it is merely an observation from my experience. And I feel it’s something we all need to be aware exists.
We all get exactly what we need when we need it. So those attracted to this kind of teacher will perhaps be looking for and needing it in the moment- maybe because they are at the stage where they need someone to be telling them absolutes so they can feel a sense of safety, or maybe to learn to see the pattern, to learn not to put a teacher on a pedestal. There are many reasons why people come into our lives, the lessons relevant for us are there to find.
If we see a fellow student struggling though, we can reach out in support and remind them that a teacher isn’t the “all-knower”. That we all have a responsibility to question everything we are told so that we can discover more.
“When investigating the mind, it is helpful to have healthy doubt- a questioning for the sake of knowing more.”
I do not mean teachers don’t deserve respect. I hold my spiritual guides, my yoga teacher, the authors of the books I read, in the highest esteem and respect all they are gracious enough to impart to me. But we all need to remember that if something doesn’t resonate within us, it’s ok to decide it’s not for you. Perhaps that will change in time and it will resonate in the future when you have done more learning- and perhaps it won’t.
“Study can stimulate thinking, but does not necessarily further your knowledge because it is not yet your own experience. You have to use your mind to make contact with your own inner source.”
The greatest learning I have done is from people who have given over to spirit in that moment of teaching. And I am not just talking about people in position of teacher- you can find a teacher in any person you meet. I suggest that everyone you relate to has something to impart to you. That’s why you are interacting with them!
In that moment of revelation, it is spirit/a higher power (or whatever word you feel comfortable using for it), not the person, that is speaking the truths. The truths that we find are OUR interpretation of truth.
“Reason and logic try to make situations predictable, but many situations in life are unpredictable. The incredible power of the imagination is also unpredictable. If several people hear the same word, the image created in each person’s mind in response to that word will be different. If everyone is given the same instructions, their responses will also be different.”
They are our way in to seeing the bigger picture. It is our own brains, imagination, creativity, interpreting these ideas. So there is no possible way that the answer for me COULD be the very same answer for you. Yes, there is universal truth but the way to see this and reach this is up to every individual.
Which way to Truth?
Truth is one,
approaches are different.
Awareness is Divine Light shining.
So remember that when you are choosing a course, practitioner or teacher. Remember that whatever anyone tells you can only be told through their filter of living. Some may be further on the path than you, at a higher vibration than others- this does not mean better. And it definitely doesn’t mean to listen more to that person than to yourself.
“Even enlightened persons may be quite different from each other because the human mind will always taint what it perceives based on its previous experiences. The need for interpreting what we experience is very powerful.”
Instead listen to that true part of you.
“When we enter the heart, we do know and need no feedback.”
The part that knows better than to see separation. The part that allows that we have a deep knowledge ready to be uncovered. The part that knows you need to feel a teaching resonate within you before you can explore it more. The part that will be open but question everything.
That is the part of you that holds wisdom. That is the part of you that knows how to have faith. That just knows something is true and real without needing to fully understand why you know it’s true.
Have faith in your true Self, your divinity. That’s your greatest teacher.
“Our consciousness is like a drop of Cosmic Consciousness. As human beings, we have a desire to return to the source, to the ocean of Light. Each of us travels by different means. The vehicle is of our own making, fired by desire, fired by illusions, fired by a powerful determination to find out, to know, to get there.”
With love and light,
The quotes throughout this post are all taken from the amazing book, Light and Vibration, by Swami Sivananda Radha. I really recommend it- an absolutely incredible, inspiring and illuminating read.