You are your own spiritual teacher

Posted on December 2, 2009
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I ‘m reading a book called Eyes Wide Open by Mariana Caplan, which is a book about cultivating discernment on the spiritual path. A lot of what she focuses on is  cultivating that discernment with spiritual teachers. My own response to that has been the realization that I’ve mostly been my own spiritual teacher. I was blessed early on with getting a mentor who showed me the fundamental problem with spiritual teaches: They can never live up to the hype they put out about themselves.

So I tend to think of myself as my own spiritual teacher, and I know I have a lot of flaws, so I don’t put myself on a pedestal, because I’d fall off pretty quickly. Then again, I’m not really interested in enlightenment either. What I’m really interested in is cultivating a genuine relationship with the universe and the people I’m connected to and myself. And I don’t know how enlightened that is, or how enlightened it needs to be. What I do know is that while spirituality is, in some ways, becoming even more of a prevalent issue in peoples lives, it’s important to recognize how much each of us has to own our spiritual integrity and experience, instead of relying on the vision of someone else.

In fact, it’s why I’m skeptical of religion, but also the popularity of any given author who claims to channel some vision of a spirituality reality. I don’t doubt the veracity of that vision as it applies to that person, but I do have doubts when other people eat it up without really applying anything in the way of critical thought or awareness. Asking, for instance, What in this spiritual message speaks to me and what doesn’t is a good start.

I am my own guru, with all of his mistakes and flaws, spiritual insights and compassion. I don’t want to be anyone else’s, because when a person tries to give me that kind of mantle s/he is really trying to abdicate responsibility for his/her own spiritual integrity and journey. And while I am honored if you find some value in my words and ideas, I think its even better when you have some of your own. Find your own spiritual identity. Meditate, pray, etc., but most importantly think for yourself and question always the beliefs you have, if only to give yourself a chance to critically explore them.

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