Blog: One
by Lapis

Inner Teacher

"Once we've developed a relationship with our own inner teacher and guide, we have access to an unerring source of clarity, wisdom, and direction, right inside us at all times!"

Date:   1/16/2006 11:12:20 PM   ( 12 y ) ... viewed 4400 times

Finding your Inner Teacher
by Shakti Gawain

Once we've developed a relationship with our own inner teacher and
guide, we have access to an unerring source of clarity, wisdom, and
direction, right inside us at all times!

How do we follow the path of transformation? One of the first steps is
to establish a personal connection with the universal intelligence, or
higher power. This higher power exists within everything and everyone.
It's the infinitely wise aspect of our being that simply "knows"
everything that we need to be aware of at any given time, providing us with
guidance from moment to moment, step by step throughout our lives.

There is nothing complicated or mysterious about this higher power.
It's a very natural part of our existence. It comes to us through our
intuitive sense, our gut feelings. We are all born into this world with
this intuitive guidance system. And if we had all been raised in a more
enlightened way, we would have learned to follow this inner guidance
throughout our lives. Instead, most of us did not receive much support or
encouragement in trusting our own deepest feelings. In fact, many of us
were actively taught not to trust ourselves but instead to follow an
external authority. Or we were encouraged to be rational -- to the
exclusion of our intuitive faculties.

As adults we can take responsibility for rediscovering and reconnecting
with our natural intuitive sense. As we learn to listen to and follow
our intuition, we develop an increasingly trusting and powerful
relationship with our own inner guidance.

On the path of transformation, it is essential to develop this
relationship with our inner guidance because on this path there are no final
outside authorities. There are no holy texts or priests, or ministers, or
gurus who represent the absolute word of God. There is no dogma to
follow. Instead, our primary guidance must come from our inner source.

In the Eastern transcendent traditions, and in many of the New Age
groups that are modeled after them, there is a belief that one must
surrender to an enlightened teacher in order to progress on one's spiritual
journey. However, from the perspective of the transformational path,
there are no fully enlightened teachers. The traditional masters and gurus
are only enlightened in the transcendent sense. They may be able to
teach us a great deal about our spiritual development, but they can't show
us how to integrate that fully into our human lives on earth, since
they have not yet learned to do that themselves.

We are not alone on this new path. There are teachers who can help us
with certain aspects of the journey. However, there is no one who has
already absolutely "made it" on this journey, because we are all still
learning. We are all moving along the path, more or less together. In a
very real way we are each other's teachers and mirrors, reflecting the
other's process. Some people are more developed in certain ways and can
teach the rest of us what they have learned. Each person's journey is
unique, however, so ultimately no one but you knows what you need to do.

Do We Need Teachers?
Do we, then, need teachers on the path of transformation? And if so,
what is their appropriate role in our lives? How can we relate to them in
a way that is healthy and most supportive to our growth?

Yes, I believe that most of us absolutely need teachers on this path.
Of course teachers come in many forms, not all of them human. For
example, nature is one of our greatest teachers.

Most of us also have human teachers, healers, and guides who come in
many different forms and often play crucial roles at certain times in our
journey. Someone in our lives, for instance, may be the initial
catalyst or inspiration that helps us get on a consciousness path. In the
earlier states of our process, almost all of us need information, feedback,
support, and guidance of some sort. In a sense, we are all in the
childhood stage of the consciousness journey and may need a wise parental
figure to show us the way. As we gain more knowledge and experience, we
gradually develop more trust in ourselves, but we still may need wiser
and more experienced people as resources, much as we do when we are
adolescents and young adults learning to take our place in the community.

Inner or Outer Guidance?
Eventually, once we are mature in our consciousness process, we
primarily follow our own inner direction. Yet the nature of life is constant
growth, so at times of stress or crisis, or whenever we are going
through a major change, or a deepening or expansion of consciousness, we may
once again need some outer guidance.

The pitfall in relating to teachers or healers of any kind is the
tendency we have to give too much of our power away to them. When we haven't
yet fully recognized and owned our inner wisdom, goodness, creativity,
and power, we tend to project these qualities onto our mentors and
teachers. This is perfectly natural. As we grow, we become aware that these
qualities reside in us, and we begin to claim them more and more as our
own. A clear and wise teacher helps and supports us in the process of
owning our own power. Such a teacher encourages us to take independent
steps as soon as we feel we are ready.

Unfortunately, there are many teachers, therapists, and healers who are
unclear in this regard. They are overly attached to being in a power
position with their students or clients, or to having them remain
dependent for too long. This takes care of certain emotional -- and often
financial -- needs on the part of the leader, but it inhibits or severely
impairs the growth and empowerment process of the client or student.

I know many people who have suffered greatly from this type of
over-attachment to a leader or teacher. In fact, one close friend of mine spent
years healing herself -- both emotionally and physically -- after
finally breaking away from a teacher who had many fine qualities but
unconsciously entrapped her students in dependent relationships with her.

So I must warn readers to beware of teachers, workshop leaders,
therapists, healers, or any others who claim to have all the answers (or more
than anyone else), who regard themselves as more enlightened or farther
along the path than anyone else, or who generally seem to have an
inflated sense of themselves. They may be very developed in certain areas,
and have much to share, but we need to be cautious and maintain healthy
skepticism in our relationships with them. Proceed with caution,
especially if you notice that there seems to be a circle of very dependent
devotees who seldom become more empowered in their own lives or move on
to other involvements, and who never move into a relationship of more
equality and balance with the leader. It may also be a danger signal if
you feel consistently one-down or inferior to a teacher and he or she
seems to cultivate that kind of relationship.

The key to relating to a teacher or healer in a healthy, empowering way
is to recognize that person as a mirror of your own inner qualities. If
you admire someone for his or her wisdom, love, power, or whatever,
recognize that you have those exact qualities within you and that you are
drawn to this person as a reflection of the parts of yourself that you
need and want to develop. Allow your teacher or therapist to inspire
you and show you the way to develop yourself. Afford your teacher
respect, admiration, and appreciation, but remind yourself that you are with
him or her to learn to love, respect, and honor yourself as much! Our
teachers are in our lives essentially to help us develop, strengthen, and
deepen our relationship to our own inner teacher.

I have had many wonderful teachers, therapists, and guides over the
years, and each one has helped me in a special way. Like most people, I
put them on pedestals at first and gave my power away to them. Once or
twice I became involved in a very dependent role for a while. However,
each of these experiences was extremely valuable ultimately in helping me
to develop my trust in my own inner teacher. Now I have certain people
in my life who are teachers and mentors for me. I can turn to them when
I need help, support, and guidance, and we have a relationship of
mutual trust, honor, and love.

Where Do We Start?
Because so many of us have been thoroughly conditioned against trusting
our inner sources, we simply may not know where to begin the process of
developing our relationship with our inner teacher. There are teachers
and therapists available in most communities who can help us get on a
path of trusting our own inner processes more fully. We recognize these
teachers, not because they claim to know all the answers, but because
they are offering skills to help us find those answers ourselves. Even
with the best of teachers, however, there comes a time when we may need
to let them go, having developed in ourselves the skills we need to
trust our own inner guidance.

Once we've developed a relationship with our own inner teacher and
guide, we have access to an unerring source of clarity, wisdom, and
direction, right inside us at all times! Needless to say, this can be quite
comforting, especially in moments of fear and confusion. It gives us the
basic sense of trust that we need to have the courage to make this
journey. From it we gain the confidence that we are not alone, that there
is a higher power guiding our way and helping us along.

Excerpted from the book "The Path of Transformation" by Shakti Gawain,
©2000. Reprinted with permission from New World Library, Novato, CA,
USA 94949.

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