Following a Spiritual Guide

The moment you follow someone, you cease to follow Truth.
— Krishnamurti

Quite right — but with reservations.

Krishnamurti’s is a (privileged) statement made by someone already free.

How It Really IsIf you follow only yourself — who is NOT yet free — you will probably remain in bondage because — being unfree — you will take things as “freedom” which are not and fail to see the portals to real freedom when they open.

Get real: If you can’t trust your intuition to steer you away from an unsuitable teacher, you surely cannot trust your intuition to guide yourself on the spiritual path — which has many pitfalls and dead ends which will cost you valuable time and can even harm you.

“Discipleship” is almost a dirty word in our post-postmodern ethos. No doubt, there are abuses of it in both the East and the West, by teachers and students alike. But becoming an authentic student is perhaps even more important than finding an authentic teacher.

What’s missing in our time is an appreciation of the all-of-a-piece dynamic relationship of what the Sufis term “the teacher, the Teaching, and the taught,” and that the actual Teaching is a living movement of Consciousness Itself, with which the student must establish a certain relationship in order to receive what’s transmitting there.

In the West, we approach everything piecemeal, no doubt because of our own inner fragmentation and hyper-individuation, and we simply have no context for understanding how receiving a spiritual teaching is not paint-by-number.

You will find the teacher you merit, in accordance with the degree of your sincerity. “Sincerity” on the spiritual path is not the strength of your opinions, it is a condition of the heart and discrimination.

If you want a lightshow or are secretly looking for personal validation, you’ll find someone who offers those things and they will become the places where your progress stalls. The question is not whether so-and-so is a “false teacher” — are you an authentic student?? If you travel the path for the pure love of Truth, you’ll find the teacher who mirrors the nascent truth of your own being back to you in a way you can recognize and which draws you evermore-deeply into wholeness and supports you through the brutally-hard parts of the stages of purification which must come before the stages of flowering.

The authentic teacher wants nothing from you except your freedom, and by apprenticing yourself to such a teacher, his/her freedom CAN rub off on you. (See What the Teacher Does.)

The ‘path’ of freedom leads only to captivity. It is the path of discipline that leads to liberty. —Hazrat Inayat Khan


Every path and every master works backward to what seems to be the salient thing about their own Awakening, because a teacher can only teach what s/he knows. Byron Katie is about dropping the Story. Eckhart Tolle is about being Present. Gautama Buddha is about being Present and inwardly silent. The Sufis are about losing oneself in the inner Divine Beloved … and they have developed methods of inducing those experiences in others in hopes that seekers will make that leap from spiritual experience to spiritual knowledge.

All these methods and the experiences they induce are based in Truth but aren’t Truth; all work for some people and none work for everyone.  Many become very adept at certain states and can be very fine teachers of attunement but don’t actually Awaken. The Masters understand a certain futility in it all, because Awakening is un-caused and only comes through Grace, but they are moved by a deep love & compassion to teach these methods anyway.