By Wes Annac, The Culture of Awareness
It’s always emphasized in the conscious community that we have to find our own way, and we can’t rely solely on what other people say if we want to spiritually grow.
There are a lot of gurus available to help show the way, and while there’s nothing wrong with relying on them to a healthy extent, we also have to be willing to interpret spirit in our own way.
If we don’t, we might end up with perspectives or philosophies we don’t resonate with, in which case we’ll know we need to stop wholly investing ourselves in the guru of our choice and look deep within to find our own perspective on life and spirituality.
Spiritual evolution is arguably the most difficult thing we’ll ever do, but it’s easier when we rely on someone like a guru. It can give us the sense that we have less of a responsibility for our evolution, and if we’re ever stumped about something, we can call on our teacher or crack open the spiritual texts.
This might work for some of us for a while, but unless we’re so devoted to our teacher’s perspective that we’re willing to throw our previous beliefs out the window and follow their every word without question, chances are that they (or the scriptures) will eventually say something we can’t agree with.
This can cause a lot of confusion and uncertainty for the sincere spiritual seeker, because they’ve been led to believe their guru has all the answers but some of their guru’s advice just doesn’t seem right to them. I’ll give an example.
Sri Ramakrishna, an excellent spiritual teacher who maintained an unprecedented connection with the Divine Father and Mother, once told a story of a faithful disciple who gave a poor offering to her guru.
She owned a few cows, and her guru expected her to offer him a lot more of her cow’s milk than she was able to provide. According to Ramakrishna, the dismayed guru told her to go drown herself because of the weak offering. She faithfully obeyed.
She went to a lake to drown herself, but at the last minute, God appeared before her and gave her a better offering for her teacher. She returned with the new offering and claimed it was the work of the Almighty, and her teacher’s response was to take a trip to the lake himself – with her by his side.
The guru proclaimed that he would drown himself if God didn’t show Himself to him just as He had the follower. And of course, God did appear again at the last minute, laying the guru’s doubts to rest.
The moral of the story was that we should have unwavering faith in our guru, to the extent that we’re willing to lose everything because only then can we witness the Almighty. After telling this story, Ramakrishna said “Even if your guru frequents a grog shop, he can still be seen to have a connection with God” (loosely quoted).
I know the story was metaphorical and intended to teach that we should have complete, unbroken faith in our guru, who’s apparently closer with God than we’ll ever be (the woman only glimpsed God when she implicitly followed her guru’s instructions).
It’s basically meant to convey that absolute faith, even if it pushes us to give up the very life that provides our physical identity (death by drowning could mean giving oneself over to the waters of God to be purified and made anew), will lead us directly to enlightenment.
It makes sense if we don’t interpret it literally, but I still struggle with the whole thing. Those of you out there who advocate independence and free thought would probably struggle, too.
The idea that we should listen to a guru’s every command seems more religious than spiritual, and the religious approach some gurus have to spirituality turns a lot of people away from them.
The movement the conscious community is creating encourages us to find our own path and embrace our spirituality in a free, independent way, and some teachers’ rules and instructions can be a little rigid.
Some teachers lay out strict rules that we’re expected to follow if we want to come anywhere near enlightenment, and I don’t think this is how spirituality is supposed to be.
Don’t get me wrong – a lot of gurus offer the advice they do because they want to keep their disciples on a righteous path where they won’t stray from their disciplines or their greater awareness, but some gurus seem a little controlling in their approach.
I struggle with some spiritual material, even material I write about, and one of the reasons is because of its affiliation with religion. I even have trouble with the term “God”, because it reminds me of the religious god who sits in the sky and casts sinners away to hell.
I prefer other terms like “Source”, and while it doesn’t matter what we call our creator, the fact that so many spiritual teachers associate so heavily with religious concepts and ideals makes it harder to follow them with any enthusiasm.
This, among plenty of other reasons, is why I advocate finding our own path through the confusion.
The idea that we should have unrelenting faith in a guru, as Ramakrishna and others have told us, doesn’t resonate much with me because despite their closeness with God, gurus can have just as many flaws as their followers. The difference is that their flaws aren’t always as noticeable at the surface.
Ramakrishna and a lot of other teachers have helped me greatly along my quest, however, which is why I think we can still hear what these teachers have to say without taking their words as gospel.
Some people inevitably will – especially those who have the most faith in them – but we don’t have to. We can if we want, because our spiritual evolution is ours to do what we want with. If they say something that doesn’t seem right, however, we reserve the right to use our discernment and skip right past it.
Some spiritual seekers will probably all-out stop following a teacher who says something they don’t believe, but they could still have other genuine, valuable teachings that benefit us so we might want to be more flexible.
My biggest difficulty lately has been in fully surrendering to a higher consciousness (what some people call “God”), and maybe this is why I have so much trouble accepting what a lot of gurus say about faith.
I do think faith and surrender are important, but I don’t approach surrender the same way a lot of teachers do. I think it’s more of a personal thing, and a guru doesn’t have to be involved unless we feel like we need one.
The best thing we can do is empower ourselves and look within for the guidance we require, and only if we think it’s necessary should we listen to what someone else has to say about our spirituality.
While there’s a lot of helpful guidance out there, most of what’s said by spiritual teachers reflects their experiences along the path and not necessarily ours. It can be difficult to rely on ourselves over any teacher, but it’s one of many obstacles we’ll have to surpass on the path to a higher consciousness.
So remember to look within and, if you feel the urge, occasionally crack open some spiritual texts and see what the teachers have to say. You might learn a thing or two, but you could also stumble on advice or metaphorical stories that send you running the other way.
It’s okay if this happens to you, and it doesn’t mean you’re somehow less spiritual or less able to connect with God. It just means that your path is a little different, and this life would be boring and uneventful if we all had the same perspective or we listened to the same teachers.
With this said, remember to call on your intuition before you listen to someone else, and nothing anyone else says will bother you when you can make your path authentically yours. Some teachers’ words might help you, but when they say things you don’t agree with, you’ll know to brush it off and find what works for you.
There are a lot of genuine teachers out there who can help us find our way, and like anything else, we just have to find what works for us and let the rest be.
I’m a twenty-one year old spiritual writer, blogger and channel for the creative expression of the inner universe, and I created The Culture of Awareness daily news site.
The Culture of Awareness features daily spiritual and alternative news, articles I’ve written, and more. Its purpose is to awaken and uplift by providing material about the fall of the planetary elite and a new paradigm of unity and spirituality.
I’ve contributed to a few different spiritual websites including The Master Shift, Waking Times, Golden Age of Gaia, Wake Up World and Expanded Consciousness. I can also be found on Facebook (Wes Annac and The Culture of Awareness) and Twitter, and I write a paid weekly newsletter that you can subscribe to for $11.11 a month here.