“Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.” – Rumi
Finding a true spiritual guide for this life is one of the most amazing gifts that can be given to you. Knowing when you are complete, when to move on, or just when it is time to graduate and live the teachings, is the greatest gift you can give yourself. It takes a great deal of discernment for either to occur.
It is said that there is nothing greater than being in the presence of a true spiritual master or “sadguru”; that lifetimes of karma can be dissolved. That the rare and extraordinary gifts of higher consciousness and supreme awareness and bliss can be transmitted from such a One to a devotee. I have certainly experienced this a hundredfold and am forever grateful.
Yet we must have a great deal of discernment in finding this “sadguru”. Just as parental love and protection should not enslave – but empower – a child; in the same way, a spiritual teacher’s love and blessings, in my belief, should do the same or for that matter, any relationship. Rather than employing guilt, shame, blame, manipulative behaviors, and outright lying to coerce compliance with the party line, I believe a true teacher should demonstrate the qualities of loving kindness, gratitude, compassion, wisdom, joy, patience, and detachment, for the most part.
That means the goal of the loving guidance and protection are to let a child/student to mature and become independent enough to be a responsible person from a moral point of view, and from a spiritual perspective, to ultimately learn to trust their own inner guru.
Supporting versus supplanting empowerment
When I decided to leave my spiritual community, I had a day of total panic – if I no longer had my teacher to intercede on my behalf, would I lose my connection to God/Goddess? Then I dug into the underlying beliefs and fears, and I realized that it was I who recognized my teacher, and chose that path, and trusted myself when to move into the community. I still had that within…the knowing was first and foremost mine. The outer teachings also supported this throughout … that the teacher’s job is to awaken the inner guru. That we are all One, and that God dwells within each of us.
However some of the ancient teachings and present day messaging was quite contrary, as there was so much focus on destruction of the ego, or that the guru was always right, or that one wrong choice could send you back on the karmic wheel for many more lifetimes, and on and on, that it set up an inherent distrust of self.
There comes a point where you have to know beyond a shadow of a doubt — we all have to choose to be responsible for cultivating our connection to our own inner knowing and our Source. No one else can ultimately do this for you, though they can lead you there more quickly, or lead you away more surreptitiously. This is true for any relationship, spiritual path or teacher, minister, spouse, or parent.
This means we have to seriously look at those parts of self that feels not ready or not reliable; and is trading safety, security, wisdom, money, or need for authority from an outer source.
No one can give you empowerment. No one can make you take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings and actions. It is a choice only you can make, in any and every situation.
Of course someone in a mentoring role can either be supportive of your empowerment, or they can attempt to supplant it. That is the trick to sort out. Are you surrounding yourself with people who genuinely want nothing more from you than for you to excel, be happy, and fully respons-able for your life, your thoughts and choices and the consequent outcomes?
Or do you tend to blame everyone else for your circumstances: the bad economy, the unloving parent, the competitive sibling, the unappreciative boss, the angry spouse.
Take a serious inventory of your world. Are you really wanting empowerment? Or are you playing victim to others abusive or unkind behaviors? This is a form of dis-empowerment and it comes first from your perspective of the situation, and your choice of how you respond.
Do you truly want to free yourself from limitations and pain? When you go to the doctor, do you just want a pill, or do you want to learn to meditate to relieve stress, or change your diet? Dig deep here, because I am here to tell you that sometimes parts of you are very embedded in the old painful stories, as continuing them means YOU don’t have to change.
“If we dive deeply into our body, we will find nothing but energy, light, and consciousness dancing within vast expanses of space. Our body is a shimmering web of vibrating energy. Mystics have long known this, and Western science is catching on fast.” ~Jalaja Bonheim, Embracing Aphrodite
Empowerment has little to do with outer realities. Do the inner work that gently takes you home to yourself as you learn to consciously create. Most of the things we need to surrender are creations of our own minds—our own perceptions and resistance that make our life miserable.
When you realize the truth of who you are, an unlimited being, in an infinite field of unfolding possibilities, you will no longer surrender anything other than your own limited beliefs and disempowering feelings.
As my favorite mystic poet Rumi writes: “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean, in a drop.”