It’s a rather Western notion — stemming no doubt from our socially-conditioned and totally-unexamined hyper-individuation and a certain “compensatory autonomy” — that we can guide ourselves DIY on the spiritual path.
The reality is, that without a teacher, we will always approach the spiritual path through the same ego mechanisms that already imprison us — and dig ourselves in deeper as the Teachings get recruited into our existing ego structure.
Someone who would never dream of climbing untutored into a small aircraft and expect to survive their first flight will nevertheless pick a technique from a book and practice it — and then wonder why they become ill or their life falls apart in a not-useful way.
One often hears, “Life is my teacher.” Life can be your teacher if you have an awakened human teacher to reflect life to you in an awakened way.
So we need a living guide who has been the route ahead of us to provide direction that is not just the more-of-the-same, and to mentor us in the techniques & practices which, done properly, will catalyzed the necessary openings into new inner territory.