Friday, April 29, 2011

Reliable Teachers for Our Day

It's sometimes hard as we search for spiritual answers to find sources we feel confident in hearing. I owe it to my friends who are in a spiritual path to point my finger to some of the keys I've noticed in looking for the ones who are pointing their fingers most steadily toward the Way of Life. May abundance of life be yours as you find your spiritual teachers.

  • Constancy of spirit. While no human being is or ever has been perfect, the most masterful teachers are highly consistent in their manifestation of the traits listed below. It's natural for lives and times to ebb and flow. And if a teacher's sayings can be identified to have arisen from a particularly harmonious time in the teacher's life, that is significant and good enough. Likewise, teachings that arise from a disturbed time are likely to be themselves disturbed. It's safest to listen to teachers who are most constant.
  • Freedom. The most masterful teachers are largely free from dependencies on things like emotional strokes, chemicals, and other addictions. At the same time, they are incredibly aware of the moment including its needs. In this way, they are the most powerful and whole of beings.
  • Peace. Masterful teachers are at peace with the present moment, and this peace is visible in their pleasant and easy manner that is free from underlying irritation, fear, and anxiety.
  • Sweetness. "He's the sweetest man." "She's the sweetest women." The intangible trait of sweetness is ethereal and fleeting. If I can open my mouth, visit my parents, spouse, children, and boss, and remain sweet amid it all, something powerful is dwelling in me.
  • Compassion. Masterful teachers see clearly enough to understand the deep impact of their words and actions. As a result, they act with compassion, often pausing introspectively before they speak.
  • Timeless and universal agreement. The words of masterful teachers agree with other masterful teachers through all time and space.
  • Fresh and relevant application. The words of masterful teachers are always new, fresh, immediate, local, and somehow non-transferrable, because masterful teachers speak from direct and immediate knowledge, or vision, combined with personal understanding of reality. When you see a flower in the mountains and take it home to your mother, you are not taking your love home in your hand. It is only a token. And masterful teachings cannot be bottled up much better than mountain flowers.
Seek gentleness, sweetness, compassion, deliberation, shocking honesty, astonishing transparency, good humor, and mirth mixed with sobriety, earnestness, and swollen eyes. Be cautious of the temptations of grand projects, works, institutions, traditions, and constituencies. And run from mockery, flippancy, haughtiness, quickness to answer, rudeness, anger, and elitism.
There are many good spiritual teachers all around. The biggest key is to open my own eyes, ears, heart, and mind, and to see my own fear, anger, love, and nobility.

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