Spiritual teacher is a guide on the path of self-knowledge.
And the question of finding a teacher in many traditions is extremely important. Is the question of finding a guru relevant in the modern world? Is it possible to develop independently, without a spiritual teacher? What criteria should be used to assess his competence? What difficulties can arise in the search for a spiritual teacher? And how, in fact, to find it?
When making a decision, be guided by three principles of sanity — personal experience, information and the opinion of a competent person. Become your own teacher. Interact with like-minded people.
Five types of spiritual teachers
From the point of view of yoga, there are five types of gurus.
The first is our own mind.
The mind is the only thing that distinguishes a person from an animal. It is our mind that allows us not to act under the influence of instincts, but to make decisions based on a rational view of things.
Our second spiritual teacher is conscience.
You can often hear the expression “live according to your conscience”.
The third teacher can be called our inner voice.
What should be understood by this concept? According to the ancient scriptures, there is a particle of universal intelligence in the heart of every living being. It is not so easy to hear this inner voice, and sometimes this opportunity is found only after years of moving along the path of spiritual development. But it is important to understand that all the knowledge and all the best and purest qualities are already inside us.
Our fourth teacher is all the people around us.
Everyone who surrounds us is somehow our teachers. And even if we are surrounded by people who are far from perfect, this does not mean that they cannot be our teachers. A person does not need to accumulate all the experience in order to understand which paths are false and which are true.
Sometimes we can see how anger, jealousy, envy, greed, and so on push people to crazy actions, the consequences of which can be very deplorable. And this is what allows us to understand that such behavior is destructive.
The fifth kind of guru is a teacher in the direct sense of the word.
That is, a person who takes responsibility for his student, who shares the knowledge and experience.
The principle of sanity
Despite the difficulties in finding a teacher, progress on the path of spiritual development is hardly possible without interaction with more competent people in this matter. Especially at the beginning of the journey, a person will most likely need to take an example from someone. And how not to make a mistake in this choice?
First of all, you should look at the fact that the words of this or that person, who can be an example for others, do not diverge from the actions.
In general, there are three principles of sanity. When we come across an idea or concept, we should check it: how much it is in tune with our personal experience, with what is written in books, and with the opinion of a competent person.
And only if all three principles coincide, such a concept can be considered adequate.
Buddha Shakyamuni urged his disciples not to blindly believe even him. He said: “Do not accept my teaching just out of respect for me, check everything on personal experience.” To the questions of his students about finding a teacher, he said: “Be your own guide.”