Find yourself a teacher!

Every Thursday night, I go to my teacher’s satsang (gathering), with other local members of our sangha. (Most of Kitabu Roshi’s students are scattered around the world.) In recent meetings, I find the connection between him and myself growing stronger, communication clearer, and the “presence” increasing. To put it simply, being with him is probably what being with Jesus was like for the disciples.

A spiritual master, an enlightenment teacher, is a very different kind of instructor than any other. They are not self-help coaches, psychologists, or “spiritual directors.” They’re not interested in your subconscious or your dreams. They are there not to teach you things to “believe in,” to affirm your beliefs, or even to affirm “you.” Rather, they reveal the true You to you, and that means helping you to get your f%$@-ing self out of the way. It takes commitment, courage, perseverance, and humility from the student. Teachers are not always easy to understand, especially at first, and the teacher must stretch you and help you change your mind, to see beyond the appearances of things. And this kind of change is very threatening to the ego, which will resist it, as surely as the sun rises in the morning.

But a true teacher loves you like no one else does… because he or she knows what you really are. A teacher is committed to helping you overcome the barriers. When we saw that the martial approach wasn’t working well for me, Kitabu Roshi encouraged me to come to satsangs, which was exactly what I needed. What is a satsang like? Kitabu’s satsangs have a lot of teaching, then some time for either questions or meditation, followed by socializing and fellowship with delicious food.

There’s a saying in wisdom traditions around the world, that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. This is true. But more people need to become students and get ready. The world needs more people to see past appearances. Now is the time.

5 thoughts on “Find yourself a teacher!

  1. Learning how to get the f%$@- out of my way! The time off from writing has been spend writing music and reading all of my friend’s writings. I still don’t get to comment as much as I would like…but it’s wonderful to take the time to read and absorb each post. Each of my friends here in digital Nirvana is a teacher to me. I’m happy to be a beginning learner!

  2. interesting. i suppose it is true, though i can’t say i’ve always found it to be the case. maybe that just means i haven’t humbled myself enough in those cases to see the need for a teacher.

  3. Interesting you should bring this up now, for me anyway, as I’ve been feeling a kind of pull lately toward seeking what I guess I’d have called “spiritual direction,” but at the same time having some doubts along the lines of what you bring up: I would want to find someone who sees it as his or her role to be “helping you to get your f%$@-ing self out of the way”–and I’m not entirely confident about my ability to find such where I live. The gentle affirmation school seems much more prevalent! Ah well…. I suppose we’ll see what happens.

  4. Funny you should mention that, Jon.

    I, like Andrew, am kinda feeling a void where some company on this journey… “would somebody just keep an eye on me please?” … would be deeply appreciated.

    Except I’m torn between my very-former-pride at always going it alone, and a real love of fellowship, and the question of isn’t God supposed to be enough? So am I resisting pride, being the social creature God intended, or am I being wimpy about depending on God? Or, who knows, maybe I’m just overthinking. 😉 (Does it matter?)

    Well, we’ll see.

  5. Well, maybe it sounds corny, Julie, but in a sense even in this informal way of checking in on each other’s blogs, we’re providing company on the journey… still, yeah, I know what you mean in the longing for something deeper. (Could we be better or more effective at keeping an eye on each other? Maybe…)

    I don’t think that longing is “being wimpy about depending on God,” incidentally–I mean, until we see God face to face, in others is one of the primary ways in which we do see God, right?


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