True Spiritual Wisdom

How do you know if your spiritual teacher is authentic and has attained true spiritual wisdom? That is a tricky question a large number of seekers ask themselves. Let's take a look at this issue with our feet firmly planted on the ground...

Studying medicine for example, is a process of acquiring large amounts of information and learning how to interpret and diagnose a patient's symptoms. Once you have completed the training you become a qualified physician. That's pretty straightforward, isn't it?

Spiritual practice on the other hand, is about giving attention to the present moment. Spiritual training is not a process of acquiring loads of information, but about opening up to truth and reality, by giving your attention to the present moment.

We normally associate learning with acquiring a lot of information, but spiritual practice is more like learning how to walk.

The Holy Life

Just because you are or have been a monk, nun, abbot, high priest, imam, lama, rinpoche, sensei, roshi, guru, swami, yogi, sadhu, mystic or shaman - doesn't mean that you have ever attained any true spiritual wisdom.

However, the vast majority of novice seekers believe that most Buddhist monks for example, have attained enlightenment or at least some true spiritual wisdom. These are simply projections of the mind.

The holy names and robes make the monks seem superhuman and therefore we quite naturally presume they're enlightened.

Leading a holy life can be a blessing though. There are a handful of benefits to living in a spiritual community - even in the short-term. For one, full-time seekers generally make speedier progress than part-timers.

It's not a prerequisite to be enlightened to teach yoga or meditation.

Signs Of True Spiritual Wisdom

It's next to impossible to characterize an authentic spiritual teacher. However, I'll try to give you a general idea of what we're talking about here by highlighting the following characteristics:

- Warmth

- Patience

- Kindness

- Joyfulness

- Equanimity

- Humbleness

- Selflessness

- Deeply-rooted presence

- Refers to personal experience as opposed to textbook knowledge

Fake Spiritual Teachers

Some fake spiritual teachers take advantage of their followers financially or even sexually. Common sense applies to worldly and spiritual matter alike, so whenever your guru makes you feel uncomfortable or you're in doubt about his intentions - say no! To find out more about these forms of manipulation read my article Spiritual Corruption.

Best of luck!

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