Summary: On the path to spiritual enlightenment what can another person do to assist you? Is there anything of value that they can provide to help you attain enlightenment? This article goes into these important questions regarding the role of teachers and gurus in your spiritual evolution.
In general you will seldom find recommendations on Mastery of Meditation to go seek out Gurus or Teachers to help you on your spiritual journey. This is primarily for the following two reasons. First, the path to Enlightenment requires you to walk alone, if not for most of the journey, then certainly for the last few miles for sure. Second, the True Guru is within and if you tune in to this higher aspect of yourself you will get all the guidance you need. The article How to Find Your True Guru goes into this idea in some more detail.
So what can another do for you? Is there any value to a good external teacher or guide? Let’s go into these questions below.
In Kundalini Yoga and other schools of Kundalini Tantra there is the concept of Shaktipat. Shaktipat is the act of elevating another’s level of consciousness by the use of one’s own awakened Kundalini. The enlightened Guru, pleased with the devotion of his disciple raises his disciple’s Kundalini and thus awakens him to the True Nature of the One Reality. This though is just a glimpse, a temporary shift in awareness, and personally, I am an advocate of teaching a man to fish rather than tossing some salmon his way. Shaktipat can be a useful instrument for introducing another to the magnificence of samadhi (enlightened state), but beyond that, in my view, it is not worth roaming the spiritual landscape for.
The three valuable blessings though, that I do feel a teacher can provide are the following: Inspiration, Protection and Guidance. These are exactly the three items that we pray for at the start of any Kundalini Yoga class. We request these three blessings from our inner Guru, but these can also come in some form, from the grace of an outer Guru. Let’s discuss each of them in some detail…
For Spiritual Enlightenment 3 Things Another Can Do for You:
Inspiration: An external guru or teacher can certainly inspire you to go further on the path to spiritual enlightenment. They can inspire you to deepen your practice and raise the level of you devotion and dedication. This is one of the more common comments I receive, where others feel inspired from visiting Mastery of Mediation and thus boost their daily sadhana (spiritual practice). This inspiration can come in the form of books, pictures, movies, talks and now of course blogs as well :-).
Guidance: A wise man once said that all good art is that which points to infinity. That is perhaps also the sign of a good teacher. He is one that is constantly pointing you towards infinity. Not allowing you to wander too far off the path and reminding you, when necessary, of the right direction to go in. The walking you have to do yourself, but the navigation, a good teacher can certainly help with.
- Protection: Finally a good teacher can prevent you from the pitfalls of spiritual practice. Some spiritual paths are shorter, but a little more dangerous. Especially for such paths, a teacher can be a valuable guide to point out the danger zones and help you recover if you do happen to fall into one. Practices like Kundalini Yoga, advanced Chakra Yoga or Kriya Yoga are examples where a teacher can be a most useful shield against premature Kundalini awakenings and other spiritual complications.
Ask and Ye Shall Receive:
As I mentioned, before every class we pray with a focused mind for the three blessings just described above. We ask for protection, guidance and inspiration from our inner Guru and then we begin our Yoga and Meditation practice. These starting prayers help ensure that the process of enlightenment, whether it be described as Kundalini Rising or as the annihilation of the ego, goes smoothly.
One last important point I would like to re-enforce. At the end of class we always bow and I always remind the students that they are never bowing to me, but are in fact bowing to their inner master, inner guru. That is the True Teacher you need to build your connection with, as he knows best how to inspire, guide and protect you.