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Category : Spirituality - - - - Previous Page

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Life, the Teacher

{written by : Barry Long}

Article word count : 546 -- Article Id : 1294
Article active date : 2008-12-16 -- Article views : 16840


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Article is about :
Do I need a spiritual teacher? What is the need for spiritual masters?





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Esoterically it can be said that life consists only of teaching and learning, which is mostly done unconsciously; and that everyone, not just the ‘advanced’ or religiously aware, is provided with a teacher or teaching at every stage of life from birth to death. In other words, the teacher is life itself.

How does this all-pervading teaching work and manifest as circumstances? Esoterically, every living thing draws to itself the essential requirements for its own physical survival and growth. For instance, plant-life attracts water and although water may be withheld by drought or circumstance from individual plants, plant-life as a whole survives and flourishes for the simple reason that it rains. Plant-life and water each attract and support the existence of the other. So it is with the spirit. The degree of a person’s conscious development determines the kind of teaching ‘sustenance’ that he or she needs and attracts.

Everyone’s spiritual or conscious need manifests as individual interests and enthusiasms. We follow our interests and engage in them. When we meet people who can give us a new slant on our pet subjects we call it ‘interesting’, and they in turn refer to us when we are in a position to help or encourage them. We derive immense satisfaction out of receiving and giving in this way. Every day at the ordinary level of conversation with friends, family, workmates and even strangers, we are continuously exchanging information and swapping roles as teacher and student.

We can really only help or listen when we are interested. So our interests propel us towards those who need us, and those whom we need. We are all learning. We are all teaching. Everyone in his or her own way is a guru.

What is the truth of interest and enthusiasm? Every individual interest is a desire, first to absorb and digest a subject; and second, to radiate that knowledge out to others, enriched by our own particular understanding and experience of the matter. We discuss and share our interests. Again, we alternate ceaselessly as the teacher and the taught.

So what is the necessity for spiritual teachers or the spiritual master? As you will have noticed by now, an interest in the truth is not enough. Interest or enthusiasm for the truth may bring you to self-enquiry, but does not bring self-knowledge. Endless late-night discussions about God, truth or the universe produce only opinions, more and more avenues to explore, more and more paths away from the simple, intimate truth that can never be expressed like that. Only one who has no interest in the world, who is detached from it, can show you the way.

It is the way of life that when you become more interested in truth than the world you are drawn to the teacher or teaching you need. Then life’s unconscious teaching becomes the conscious spiritual life.

How does it happen that the teacher comes when you are ready? Whatever degree of self-knowledge you possess, that is your centre of gravity – the pulling-power of your particular level of consciousness. It radiates and emits abstract waves of a particular positive value. These attract a corresponding and polarising force in the form of the teacher or teaching that you need.

© The Barry Long Trust

Author Bio :
Barry Long (1926-2003) was an Australian spiritual teacher and author of books on meditation, self-knowledge and the spiritual nature of man and the universe. This article is taken from his book ‘The Way In – A book of self-discovery’. For details of the book see http://www.barrylongbooks.com/wi.htm or go to the website of The Barry Long Foundation International http://www.barrylong.org

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