Copy from the Berdhanya book: The steps of the seeker”.
A long time ago, the seekers of India recognized July as the month that enhances reflection on the relationship between the student and spiritual teacher. It is the time of the moon when the plentitude of life is demonstrated by Earth and celebrated by its inhabitants. In this month, we can remember our mother as our first teacher, our father as our second teacher and all the teachers who have supported your spiritual maturity.
You often come to me and ask:
- What is a spiritual teacher?
- How should I behave in front a spiritual teacher?
- What is the student-teacher relationship really about?
In this culture, we have no model for how to follow this type of relationship. Actually, it is not possible to have a model because it is a fresh and spontaneous relationship. Each teacher and each student brings a unique alchemy, a unique way of interacting that is far beyond models or interpretations. The teacher, as a representative of the divine, and the student, as an aspirant looking to explore the facets of the Self, is in fact the only model that is relevant. This relationship brings you closer to who you are.
Let’s review certain steps you have either lived already, or that you are ready to embody more deeply.
Who aspires to discover the Self?
“The one that suffers incompleteness and looks inward aspires.”
Let’s start with some basic questions:
- What is a spiritual aspirant?
- Who is a spiritual student?
- What are the dynamics and the stages that a spiritual student passes through?
May the exploration of these questions expand your perspective of the teacher’s expectations of you, and your own position in front of the teachings. If you look from that perspective, you will have more clarity about your position, your learning, and of the expectations you have of yourself, where some expectations are realistic and some are not.
Seeking is a precious attitude. It is a rare disposition. It is an inner flame that all of creation worships. In humans, a seeker is an evolving self- consciousness. It is a realization of the need to go within, to act from within, and to embody the endless mysteries of the Self.
The seeker has many steps along the way of maturing their inner journey, and many get deluded with the colours of each of their steps.
The seeker not only has steps to follow, but qualities that are worth reviewing.
The pure seeker is one with an unshakeable thirst to dwell in a divine grace along with a curiosity, a willingness to learn and the strength to sacrifice his/her own mental concepts. The physical body is healthy and maintained by a balanced lifestyle. This pure seeker also has an uncorrupted courage to challenge and break their own social and inner imprisonments and comforts.
This type of seeker is mature in not compromising their truth, and is established in devotion to self-commitment and self-enquiry. Mostly and more importantly, this seeker is able to see what is false, does not take it personally, and does not seek to modify his/her ways. This seeker has self-compassion, and applies the laws of forgiveness and uniqueness: I am what I am.
This type of seeker is rare and only comes into existence after many lives on the path of self-liberation. By consequence, this type of seeker makes social changes because they are able to stand firmly in their own capacities and responses.
The pure seeker sees the teacher as a point of reference, and as an inspiration and source of truth.
The wavering seeker is one that has an inner desire to improve his/her Self, to know oneself, but is not able to proclaim 100% in his/her life, his/her inner revolution. This type of seeker is usually motivated by guilt and not feeling that what they are is enough. This type of seeker has a self-imposed agenda toward a code of perfection. They are able to take steps toward understanding inner laws, to study them, and to make personal changes instead of core changes. Personal changes refer to little adjustments that you can make to your personality and behaviours, while core changes request that you leave totally any identification.
The wavering seeker likes to shop around for teachings and teachers as a way to distract themselves from full self-commitment and responsibility.
The wavering seeker is, in a way, in a state of limbo; they know what needs to be done, but due to lack of self-trust, they remain conformed and comforted by what they have. The wavering seeker suffers a great deal from this conscious or unconscious duality that can only be eliminated with clear choices, commitment and courage.
The wavering seeker sees the teacher in a dual way: either the teacher is a threat to their established mental concepts or a source of inspiring knowledge. The relationship oscillates between inconsistency and depth.
The desperate seeker is motivated to go within by discomfort, by emotional pain, addictions, transitions or illness. This type of seeker touches the basics of the inner dimensions. They are happy to get relief from their emotional or physical discomforts and are able to maintain a certain lifestyle that sustains self-awareness. They have the drive to learn, to make radical changes and to commit to teachings until their discomfort disappears or becomes easier. They get easily discouraged if they don’t experience immediate changes and they see the teacher as a saviour. The desperate seeker needs to have patience and long-term commitment to gain inner strength and a better understanding of their inner journey.
The sleeping seeker is not aware of their internal needs and responsibility. They live in the external world, maybe in happiness or discontent, but they are unaware of their inner needs.
All seekers experience the inevitable pull of the inner world. All of us, in whatever stage of our inner seeking, feel the magnetic pull of the life within. As a seeker, it is our duty to honour that pull and to satisfy it with the proper requirements.
At some point, the seeker will recognize that the external pull of life needs the friendliness and complement of the inner self. The seeker comes to understand the dance of the inner and the outer, their laws, their requests, and their unity.
The seeker arrives to the fundamental question: What am I?
The seeker is unavoidable, alive in all of us, and seeks to be born.