The Importance of a Teacher
The Way and Guideposts
People go in the way according to their own inclination and they find the corresponding experiences. Without guideposts or a map, you can easily get lost on the roads. The wisdom teachings give us an itinerary of the journey. If someone has unclear thoughts, he is like in a mist. “A man in the mist is a blind traveller.”
A teacher helps, gives information, and supports. A teacher who knows the way and can explain it to others is called “Guru” in the East. Today the term is totally distorted. For us, a guru is a wrong teacher and a deluder. That is why many do not accept any teacher and prefer making their own experiments; out of ignorance they make many detours. Running from one teacher to the next one like nomads means that we are not willing to decide and to act. He who is totally material or emotional or mental cannot find access to a teacher, even if he reads a lot about it.
Some therefore pretend that teachers or masters of wisdom do not exist. A teacher or a master becomes visible for those who are willing to realise the self. A true teacher is known by the way he emphasises, the simplicity he demonstrates, and the transformation that people experience through his presence. Selflessness in service is the touchstone of a realised person. If simplicity is lost, self-aggrandisement and advertising, pomp and moneymaking, or even manipulation take its place.
Every true teacher has only one mission to accomplish: To remind all those gather around him of their true state of being and to guide them to realise and express themselves as immortal, divine beings of Light.
An Expert Guide
Like in mountaineering, in our inner journey, good equipment and an expert guide are needed. We do not have to look for a teacher, for he knows us better than we know him. If we were able to recognize the teacher, we would be as great as he is. The presence of the teacher transforms the student, as a piece of iron is magnetised in the proximity of a magnet. By thinking of him prior to meditation or study, we conduct the meditation in his presence. Simply considering the presence of the master is enough. His presence enables us to raise our consciousness and to improve the quality of our work.
The Teacher of the Teachers
According to the wisdom teachings, the knowledge exists from the very beginning of the mankind, so does the student and teacher relationship as well. It came into existence with the appearance of living beings. The science of Yoga teaches: “The Lord who exists in the hearts of all, is the Teacher of the teachers. He is the seed of all wisdom and every realisation.” The One teacher, called Guru in Sanskrit, is the Lord-consciousness in man. It is a principle, rather than a person. The inner teacher exists prior to all human beings. He has already served as a teacher to those who came before us.
The teacher-principle works through the form of a teacher. For many people, the form rather than the principle working through the form, takes precedence. They create a cult and religion around the personality of a teacher and become its jealous followers. However, every teacher is in truth a representation of the universal principle, an exemplification of THE TEACHER and MASTER. This one principle working through many teachers is also referred to as the World Teacher.
The Teacher and the Teaching
The teachers of eternal wisdom show us the ideal of a normal life in day-to-day living with a focus towards the inner. As basis of spiritual progress, they emphasise meditation, spiritual study, and service to the common, in silence and without sensation. They lead the seekers of truth and promote truth in every teaching and every religion, in a language suited to the corresponding time. Their teachings emphasise synthesis, that mankind is a unity, that all existence is a great whole. The teachers form the role models to us, and we should aim to be a model for the next generation.
The Spiritual Hierarchy
The spiritual knowledge reveals itself according to the laws of time. Sometimes it is hidden, sometimes it is manifest. The great teachers who transmit the wisdom are called the Spiritual Hierarchy. Since times immemorial they have guided mankind to the Path of Light.
Living the Wisdom Teachings
There are various reactions to the teachings and the teachers of wisdom, like rejection and prejudices, but also dreamy idealisations or gushing channelling which pretend to be in contact with the highest circles. Many are searching for Hierarchy, but in vain, since they are not willing to take the first small step to the right living. He who follows the path of Hierarchy remains simple, a common man among common people, but he inspires those around him through his active love and silent, continuous work. Wisdom is taught more by being a living example of it than by talking about it.
Mirror of the Soul
The master or teacher is no other for us than the mirror of our own soul. Since we are used to looking outside of ourselves for guidance, Hierarchy guides us to realise ourselves and decide for ourselves what is right and what is wrong. The teacher makes proposals, we can pick them up and work with them or not. The teacher only gives guidance, he does not decide for others. He sheds light on problems while asking the student to think and to decide for himself. He wants us to learn critical discrimination, to live with free will, and to attune it to the Divine Will.
In former times, the teacher assumed the responsibility for the disciple, and the condition was that the student had to do everything the teacher said without asking. Today, the disciples are left much more independent than ever before. We have to learn to act with a responsibility towards the higher self, the soul. The teacher works with the soul and via the soul. We have to learn to use our will in freedom to find our way to wisdom. We have to accept the responsibility for all we are doing. The teacher gives his presence not by himself, it has to be invoked by the disciple in the inner. We have to feel the presence and start working.
Guidance from Within
The teacher guides from within. We get inspired to go to places or to learn things – astrology, etymology, or homoeopathy. We feel that it is we who have this inspiration, but it is the master teaching from within. A book might have existed for thousands of years – suddenly we are attracted by it. When we apply our intuition to something, we can grasp the heart of this thing. Much more gets revealed to us this way than an intellectual teacher can ever impart. The teacher pushes us from within to such a point where we turn out to be effective goodwill workers.
Experiencing the Presence
The presence of THE MASTER through a master causes the necessary transformations in the seeker. The life patterns change in a convenient and enjoyable way, much like iron dust arranges to a particular pattern through the impact of a magnet. Through the master, the presence of wisdom becomes perceptible, just like electricity becomes perceptible through the light. This presence awakens awareness in us, not a doctrine or external influence. It is not the personality of a master or his physical presence: The key is to feel the presence of the master.
By invoking the presence of a great master, we expose ourselves to the magnetisation. The visualisation of a master in a meditation is like invocating a magnet. We visualise the Master, his energy; the presence helps us for meditation. Through the presence of the Master we get help from a source that we cannot reach on our own. It is not a feeling, but the experience of the immediate presence as our Self.
If the meditation is done regularly over a longer period, it eliminates the old rhythm of life, stabilises a new vibration and transforms life. The fundamental step is to see the soul in all that we meet in the world. We should not reject any situation or form of behaviour. We should be effective in objectivity as well as in subjectivity: “I am in the world, but not from the world.“ The Masters are an example for us that we, too, can transform ourselves and gain mastery, just like a caterpillar becomes a butterfly.
The journey is very long and takes many incarnations. We should not think that we complete it in just one life. But, if we perceive the time dimension correctly, we will progress slowly but surely. We should know the outline of the journey and understand the goal, but then work with the next step lying ahead of us.
“Man can overcome all hindrances if the goal of his journey is clear to him. When he sees the Light in the distance, he will pay no attention to the hardships of the journey. He will not count the steps to this Light, for it shines also in his heart.” (Supermundane III, 634)