In The Beginning
When we first start out on our spiritual path, everything that occurs in our consciousness seems new and exciting. Many of us feel the urge to share this excitement, and we may do so by teaching those around us. Perhaps we even go as far as preaching, convinced that everyone needs our truth. This is simply human nature, and, as annoying as it is to others, this “minor” spiritual ego usually goes away after some time.
Eventually, we arrive at some variation of this golden rule.
Help must be requested, permission must be granted.
In a later phase of our spiritual evolution, we begin to notice our “accomplishments”. Naturally, it is the ego that notices, and it is the ego that then assigns itself status. This status is always defined in comparison with someone else, a level in some hierarchy. This form of Spiritual Ego is isually more peristent.
Having status grants us permission to teach more formally, to spread our “wisdom”, for better or for worse. What will matter at this point is how open we are to continuing to change, to growth, to re-evaluating our beliefs. If we are closed to new information, if our opinions of others are fixed, if we feel that our way is the best and our traditions are superior, then we’ve arrived at what I call “Rigidity of the Mind“. This is a nearly incurable disease that is much more common than we may want to believe.
Eventually, and, possibly, after much suffering, we arrive at yet another rule.
If I feel that I’ve achieved, then I’ve stopped evolving.
Following The Path
The more you walk your path, the more open and liberating your experience should be. The whole point of spirituality and religion is to set you free, not to limit your consciousness.
This is a process, and we all go through our ups and downs. As long as we are in a physical body, we will experience negative emotions, stuckness, anger, sadness, the whole gamut. But our practice can help us become aware and bring ourselves back to center.
Even that which we call “presence” of a teacher is no proof of their progress or accomplishments. Plenty of people have natural magnetism and charisma, and know that they can use it to their advantage. This happens quite often in Spiritual communities. We all have seen male teachers surrounded by female disciples, feeding off the attention they receive.
How To Tell
One sure sign of an Evolved person is their ability to follow the Will of God (or Spirit, or whatever you prefer to call it). They will do so even if it means that they cannot charge for their teachings, or if they have to abstain from teaching in the first place, in order to move along their own path. It doesn’t matter what realms you have been able to reach, or what beings communicated with you. If you begin to feel special as a result, you are in a downward spiral and you can very quickly slide back down.
If you chose to practice to impress others, to gain Siddhis, to escape from reality, this is never going to bring you closer to your Soul or to God. You can find warnings about this in scriptures from nearly any tradition.
It is better to start over again than to continue in the wrong direction. The Universe is ever-present to guide us and assist us in all our endeavors, as long as we are sincere and are willing to know ourselves, as long as we have the yearning to Know the Source of all.
The Buddha, Christ, Dalai Lama and many other well-known practitioners have something in common. They have brought change through their Presence or their teachings, but they are Servants of the Divine first and foremost. They do not expect to get paid, to receive compliments, or even to be acknowledged for their teachings. Most of them have the Compassion to feel the suffering of others, despite how difficult it can be and still continue on serving. They can move their own persona aside for the sake of the bigger picture or purpose.