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Seven Secrets of Meditation - Part 7: The Role of the Teacher

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  • jogyata
    For meditators wanting to make very fast progress in their spiritual life, the last of the seven secrets of meditation is also the most important. This last
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 28, 2007
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      For meditators wanting to make very fast progress in their spiritual
      life, the last of the seven secrets of meditation is also the most
      important. This last step is usually taken when the others have been
      observed and developed – especially our sincerity and regularity of
      practice, the awakening of our aspiration, the resulting grace that
      effort always brings – and this secret also heralds the beginning of
      another wonderful chapter, a new velocity and clearer direction in our
      journey of self-discovery. The seventh secret is the discovery of our
      spiritual teacher and the transformative role he or she will play.

      An illumined master or guru is someone who has attained God-realisation
      and offers this wisdom to others. Guru is a Sanskrit word meaning 'he
      who illumines', and a real guru is a bridge, a connecting link between
      man and God, earth and Heaven, our present reality and the full
      flowering of our future possibilities.

      The guru is like an elevator operator – God is on the third floor
      and we are on the first floor and he can take us up to the third floor
      to meet God. "I am a broom" said Sri Ramakrishna in another analogy,
      likening the role of the master to sweeping away the debris that
      conceals our true nature.

      What is the role of the guru? Their task is to make us consciously aware
      of something vast and infinite and ever-free within ourselves, to
      reconnect us with our truest and highest Selves, which is nothing other
      than God Himself.

      "A real spiritual Master tries to bring to the fore the inner divinity
      of the disciple from deep within the disciple's heart. He knocks at the
      disciples heart-door and awakens the divine child in him, which we call
      the soul." - Sri Chinmoy.

      We spend the first two decades of our lives learning from others –
      parents, teachers, college instructors – since these know more than
      we about each of the many life-skills we must learn. Once our
      proficiency is established, we move on. In the spiritual life too, we
      need the guidance of those who have journeyed much further along the
      realisation road than we have – without them our progress is
      uncertain and slow.

      "For millennia we have been swimming in the sea of ignorance. When we
      become awakened, we want to swim across that sea into the ocean of Light
      and Delight. If we know that there is a boatman, and that there is a
      boat which can safely carry us to our goal, then naturally we will try
      to get help from him. A genuine spiritual Master knows the way and is
      bound to help us reach the goal. Like a boatman, he will carry us to the
      other shore." - Sri Chinmoy.

      While a school teacher gives each pupil the same lesson, a spiritual
      master is more like a private tutor – he sees the student's
      individual capacity and propensities and will foster these. Each soul
      has it's own unique way of meditating, it's special qualities and a way
      forward that will enable very fast progress – this self-knowledge is
      usually unknown to us but very clear to a true master. Working with this
      insight he can help us to navigate our way forward quickly, clear away
      the inner blocks and obstacles and through many inner experiences show
      us what we have within, what we shall one day become.

      When a master accepts a student or disciple, an inner bond is forged.
      The master promises God to take care of the disciple, not only in this
      lifetime but throughout the long journey to God-realisation, and also
      brings the soul to the fore, injecting light and aspiration into the
      awakening inner life. This inner process is called initiation and can
      occur in a number of different ways – through meditation; occultly
      or psychically; through an outer blessing or mantra.

      "When the Master initiates someone, he gives that person a portion of
      his life-breath. At the time of the initiation, the Guru makes a solemn
      promise to the individual seeker and to the Supreme that he will do his
      best to help the seeker in his spiritual life, that he will offer his
      heart and soul to take the disciple into the highest region of the
      Beyond… At the time of initiation, the Master actually takes on the
      disciples teeming imperfections, both from the present incarnation and
      from past incarnations… This flowering of the initiation is really
      more than initiation. It is the revelation of the disciples' own
      inner divinity. At that moment, they feel that they and their Guru have
      totally become one." - Sri Chinmoy.

      The path of a true master will be defined by a number of spiritual
      disciplines and lifestyle observances. Why are these necessary?
      Spiritual masters are like parents who deeply love their children –
      they want their children to realise their fullest potential, not lie in
      bed all day, develop bad habits and never blossom. The disciplines of a
      particular path create the optimum conditions in which the disciples can
      fully grow – just as the plant thrives in the sunlight, our
      spiritual life also blossoms in the right conditions. The requisites and
      recommendations of the master are not confining but liberating –
      here are the steps we must take, the negatives we must erase and the
      practices that will bring about our enlightenment.

      If we cling to our limited notion of freedom – usually this is
      simply self-indulgence – and undervalue the true freedom of
      self-realisation (freedom from attachment, suffering, everything in our
      unillumined nature that limits us and prevents our full self-discovery)
      a spiritual path will be very difficult to follow. But when we know that
      we are not illumined or truly free, that all our life choices have
      failed to make us truly happy, and from this understanding comes an
      openness and willingness to take help from a path and a teacher, then we
      are ready. If we have become fossilized, unwilling to change or embrace
      a new way, then no teacher can help us.

      In the West we are frightened of `commitment' and the imagined
      loss of our personal choices – but in accepting a spiritual path we
      should see this instead as an invitation to explore a new way forward, a
      new opportunity. Commitment grows slowly over time, even over years, as
      our understanding grows and our inner bond with the guru strengthens.

      "The Guru and the disciple must test each other sweetly, seriously and
      perfectly before their mutual acceptance. Otherwise, if they are wrong
      in their selection, the Guru will have to dance with failure and the
      disciple with perdition." - Sri Chinmoy.

      How to know which teacher is meant for us? We imagine that we must
      assess all the possible masters, make a rational choice based on all the
      available information. But in reality it is the path and the master that
      find us as we become ready – there may be an existing bond between
      disciple and master, or a natural predilection towards the yoga of a
      particular path, or inner factors about which our mind will almost
      certainly be unaware. It is the inner realities and affinities that
      determine our spiritual life at this level, not the limited
      comprehension of the mind. Here, heart's feeling and intuition are
      more important than mental consideration. Our spiritual life is like a
      stream flowing down a mountainside – left alone it will find
      it's way, but if blocked and checked by the impositions of the mind
      it will get diverted and slowed. Out of our sincerity, regular practice
      and growing aspiration our teacher will eventually come to find us.

      "There is no seeker on earth who will remain without a teacher if he is
      desperately in need of one. If his aspiration is intense, if his inner
      cry is constantly mounting, how can God remain asleep? It is God who has
      kindled the flame of aspiration in that particular seeker, and it is God
      who will bring a spiritual master to him or place him at the feet of a
      spiritual master." - Sri Chinmoy.

      You will know your guru when you meet him by the immediate joy you will
      feel – there are other genuine masters, but this guru gives you an
      immediate feeling of spontaneous joy. While the goal is one and the
      same, the paths leading to the goal are many – but it is a mistake
      to have more than one teacher, one path at the same time and will cause
      confusion. Each teacher has his or her own prescription and their one
      path is enough to take you to the top of the mountain.

      In the West, having a spiritual master can sometimes attract cynicism or
      criticism. Do not be disturbed by this. Many challenges lie waiting to
      test our resolve, but our strength will slowly grow and the approval of
      others will cease to be important. Most spiritual masters themselves
      have been criticized during their lifetimes and the prejudices and
      misunderstandings of mankind are well documented – the life of
      Christ is an obvious example. These misunderstandings still exist today.
      Always trust in your own sincerity, make up your own mind and heart. To
      have reached a point in your evolution where you have become deeply
      interested in spirituality indicates that you are a very special person,
      with very good karma, even though you may not feel this about yourself.

      Sri Chinmoy has a song-mantra, 'dak eseche bishwa prabhur dak' – it
      means God is calling you, your hour has struck, a profoundly special
      time has come in your life. Have courage and determination and go
      forward with your teacher on the most wonderful and liberating journey
      of them all. It is the greatest good fortune that any seeker of the
      truth could ever have.

      - Jogyata.

      Seven Secrets of Meditation: http://tinyurl.com/2glyma


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