Using spiritual teachings to support ego – oh, let me count the ways! This is especially attractive to teachers. My personal golden rule: Teach only what I have actually realized through practice.
It’s easy to mouth the teachings of others. It’s easy to fool people who are sincerely longing for support and spiritual friendship. It’s easier to fool ourselves while soaking up attention and praise. Even sincere teachers, especially when they are highly intelligent and learned, find it difficult to discern the difference between intellectual understanding and real embodiment. But it is very simple.
For instance, the teacher says, “Everyone is God.” People love to hear this. Perhaps the teacher has some inkling about this, but mostly it is just an idea. In reality, the teacher is in a very ordinary condition of feeling separate and defensive, constantly worrying what others think, getting angry at imagined slights, manipulating others, and competing for praise and attention.
If you are guiding students’ practice, of whatever sort, teaching what you have actually realized expresses real compassion to yourself and others. It is merciful. And as Anandamayi Ma said: “Have mercy on yourself.”
We all want to realize our nature. Tune into the true longing and self-doubt that drives us to seek the momentary relief of false recognition. Understand that the moment you are basking in unearned attention and praise is a lost moment – you are not realizing. Don’t cheat yourself. Let your heart open to your students and the sincere desire to be of benefit.
In Ma’s love,