The level of our own transformation helps us to find the next level of teaching, either from the same teacher or from someone else
'The process of transformation manifests in the form of patience and firmness in our overall character. Through self observation and inner analysis we begin to understand this process and see where we are in it. This in turn helps us to have reasonable expectations of both the teacher and the practice.'
These words above and many below are borrowed from my teacher, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait's book: 'The power of mantra and the mystery of initiation'.
At any time as students it's wise to apply a pause in our practice, not only to digest, assimilate and embody all we're being taught, but to also reflect on the teacher and the teachings, and our relationship to both. Over time it has served me best to constantly work on separating the two. One is timeless, one is time bound.
Sometimes the pause uncovers a realisation that we have come as far as we can with our current teacher and we must again begin the search for another. While all practice is leading us to uncover the ultimate connection to the teacher within, there does not seem to be a way to embark on this journey to impersonal universal Truth without receiving personal guidance from an experienced mentor. Someone who has already walked the path and shines the light on it for us.
If ever this realisation occurs to you, I encourage you to apply self reflection, clear seeing, and kindness - even forgiveness if necessary - to your decisions before choosing to move on. It is important to end in the way you wish to begin: with gratitude and thanks for everything you've learned and been gifted - all of it. The relationship is much deeper than a transaction, and as such deserves respect - both ways.
For further explanation, I offer this excerpt taken from the introduction in the same book:
'Constant contemplation and reflection on the material in this book enabled me to better understand the problems I was witnessing in spiritual seekers as well as many of my own unresolved riddles. It also helped me gain a better understanding (although there is still so much to understand) of what my gurudeva (Swami Rama) meant when he repeatedly said, "Do not use the guru as a crutch. The guru is like a boat, and it is important for the boat not to leak. If you don't know how to row your boat, it is neither the fault of the boat nor the river. If you have successfully crossed the river with the help of the boat, you may not need to carry the boat with you, but neither do you need to destroy it."'
'Ordinarily we spend so much time brooding about such issues as the benefits and pitfalls of gurus, traditions, mantra, God and shaktipata that we have hardly any time left for actually studying and practicing. It is my wish that reading this book will help spiritual seekers conquer their internal enemies without wasting too much time and energy, and thus reaching the other shore of life safely.'
This sublime and essential book can be found for purchase here. I have read it many times and each time I find either something new, or from the same passages, a deeper understanding I was now ready to receive. It's a book for keeping and sharing - a constant companion for me as I navigate the world.
In all of life, may we be reminded of our divinity. Life is beautiful and a gift, and we are asked to use it to the best of our ability to serve all of life.
Below I share with you something given to me when I was 14, it has helped to ground and guide me in times of turbulence and confusion which often precede growth.
'This human body at peace with itself is more precious than the rarest gem. Cherish your body, it is yours this one time only. The human form is won with difficulty. It is easy to lose. All wordly things are brief, like lightening in the sky. This life you must know, as the tiny splash of a raindrop, a thing of beauty that passes away even as it comes into being. Therefore, set your goal, and make use of every day and night to achieve it.'
Lama Tsong Khapa - 14th century Tibetan Yogi
The Himalayan tradition of which I am a part is rooted in wisdom, compassion, love and Truth. I express my heartfelt gratitude and respect to the sages of this lineage, and their living voices in our society today who continue to guide me on the path home, that is lit only by love.
Om Tat Sat. Peace, peace, peace.