Nowadays, it seems as if the world is full of “spiritual masters”. Anywhere you turn, you can find a teacher, a spiritual coach, a healer. I have no doubt that some of them are what they claim to be. I also have no doubt that some are not. These roles require a stable, well-developed consciousness, not to mention detachment from personal gain, power and approval.
What we often find nowadays is what I would call “New Age Insanity“. These are unstable psyches decorated with crystals, talismans, spells and Doreen Virtue cards. These tools are great as toys to keep children occupied and distracted, but are ultimately useless in real life.
Challenge Builds the Spiritual Core
Every tradition defines spiritual maturity slightly differently. Some rely on personal growth through practice, gradually achieving wisdom. Others value individuals who have had an illuminating experience that permits them to tune into a channel of uncorrupted Truth.
But what really leads up to this point? What makes someone balanced in their spirituality? Clearly one can have an enlightening experience and still be quite immature on many levels. After observing others’ energy fields and researching spiritual texts, I have made some conclusions.
We all go through an individual spiritual evolution of consciousness, which takes lifetimes. Most of the time it takes courage and willpower to stand up to the pressure of societal norms, egoic desires and endless pitfalls of wanting to stay in a safe comfort zone.
Esoteric schools of the past typically put disciples through challenges. These may have been physical or metaphysical and often involved considerable discomfort. This was done to either prove that they are worthy of the knowledge, or to train their will and energy body to be steady enough to prepare for more advanced practices.
An untrained and undisciplined consciousness has an unstable assemblage point. This perception-defining center moves uncontrollably throughout their energy field in response to their environment. People in this condition are easily swayed and controlled by outside pressure.
Their inner center, their willpower and basic inner strength are not developed enough to withstand fear-based tactics or anything they might call “negativity” or “darkness”, so they usually avoid it. Sometimes they surround themselves with New Age paraphernalia in order to feel safe. This is expected, as they still have not mastered their own fears at the basic survival level. They are more likely to be manipulated by a force that is stronger than them because they don’t have access to their own power.
A person in this condition takes a big risk if they choose to teach or heal. They are very likely to succumb to the lure of ego gratification, including fame, power and other forms of external validation. History is full of such examples.
Now that we’ve drawn a picture of unbalanced spirituality, let’s look at a healthy, well-developed individual. First and foremost this person is able to go within to find answers and recharge, they are fully self-reliant and responsible for what happens within, regardless of circumstances. They possess excellent concentration skills. Concentration is a basic prerequisite for working with the Spirit realm or for moving energy on any level.
Many people go to yoga, qigong, reiki or other metaphysical classes, but they don’t get a formative experience that creates the necessary foundation. They may get knowledge, but meaningful growth requires self-directedness. This quality often originates from prior lifetimes. A self-directed person, first and foremost, is able to (and wants to) see their own blind spots, and actively works with them. Positive affirmations and other techniques can calm the mind, but if you continue to escape from your own demons, you won’t get far, but you may get more and more confused as time goes on.
Not everyone has the necessary past-life experience. In the absence of self-directedness, we need a teacher. This teacher can’t be your friend, they can’t please your ego, this would be incredibly counterproductive. Many modern teachers overwhelm you with multiple practices per week, making it fun and entertaining, but this is not spiritual training. If your teacher is trying to please and accommodate you, there is an agenda, be that financial gain or simply a lack of strength in his connection to Spirit. He may be guiding you from a place of fear of loss. This may be a financial loss, a loss of approval, status or power.
A legitimate spiritual teacher helps you grow and is there to make sure that you don’t end up in a trap of your egoic patterns. They can see your progress and know what needs to be adjusted. They also know when to let you go, when you no longer require their involvement, just as a bird pushes her chicks out of the nest to teach them to fly on their own.
Once you have gone through all this and are indeed able to stand steadily on your two legs, where your inner weather is your compass, then you can say that you finally began walking the Path, which is indeed an infinite journey of self-discovery.