What is a Spiritual Teacher?
What is the nature of a Spiritual Teacher and how can you spot one?
Some people think that a Spiritual Teacher has no ego and that he is devoid of self interest. I tell you, if someone had no ego and were devoid of self interest, they would not be a Spiritual Teacher, they would be dead!
A Spiritual Teacher has an ego and a very healthy one at that. But if you were to describe what their ego was like to another, you might be lost for words. Everyone has an ego, which is a person's sense of themselves, however most people have a rather fixed and predictable identity and therefore a somewhat rigid ego.
The thing that makes the ego of a Spiritual Teacher different is that the Teacher can play any part in the drama of life. I am reminded of the story of a distraught woman who went to see a Spiritual Teacher...
"Why have you come to see me?" the Teacher asked. "I am married to a judge," replied the woman. "And how is that a problem?" asked the Teacher, who could sense the woman's distress. "You see he is a judge in bed!" replied the woman.
Most people carry around this image of themselves and spend endless hours trying to live up to that image, and continually seek to reinforce this image by collecting complements and accolades for the person they are willing themselves to be.
In contrast a Spiritual Teacher is simply himself. He has long lost interest in who he is, or who he thinks he is. His sense of identity is rather vague and unformed as a result. Others sometimes consider him naive and innocent, but it is this that gives the Teacher his distinct advantage. Whereas most people, in the great play we call life, have a role and a part and a plan, the Spiritual Teacher can play any part and take up any role, without any predetermined plan.
If he is invited to meet the President of his country he may follow every custom and be the loyal obedient citizen. Or he may use the opportunity to create a stir and invite the press. There is no knowing what a Spiritual Teacher will do or how he will behave.
This is because long ago he ceased to be governed by the mores, customs and laws of his society. A Spiritual Teacher is not governed by any external authority. He is, though, not without governance. A Spiritual Teacher is obedient, but only to those signals which pour in a continuous stream from his heart, which determine his every move and to which he has surrendered his life.
That is why, to conventional authority, a Spiritual Teacher is dangerous. He is a true revolutionary. However his revolution does not use force of arms, or even argument, but the power inherent in knowing what the loving action is in every moment.
That is why when the situation requires, a Spiritual Teacher may be completely still and silent and at other times he may speak and act decisively with the power of a lion. Within him is a kind of active nothingness, the source of his inspiration. What comes from his empty inner world, even he sometimes cannot know.
He is a man (or woman) possessed. What has him possessed is a mystery, but like water it gives life to everyone he meets. His commitment is to the welfare of the whole of humanity. To fulfill this commitment he plays every role that will empower him to provide the life-giving love that pours through his heart to all and sundry.
That is how someone who is no one can come in any size!
And that is how you can spot a true Spiritual Teacher.