As spiritual seekers, most of us feel that we can benefit from finding a good teacher. I’d agree. But which type of teacher is best for you? Do you look for a spiritual guide or a spiritual scout? Because they’re not the same.
Spiritual scouts don’t make good guides because they don’t really want to be with people. They don’t want to be held back by slow people and they’re not interested in staying with the group. They want to go on ahead and experience the experience. They’ll come back and relay that experience, but they don’t want to teach. Then it won’t be long before they want to run off again and have more experiences and then come back and relay that. But eventually, they’ll go so far ahead that they will stop coming back to report because they will have reached their destination.
Spiritual guides are people who have both knowledge of what’s ahead and how to prepare for it because they have done the whole journey before. In the old west, in the days of wagon trains, there would be the wagon master or trail boss who would take people across the country. An eastern version might be sherpas.
Guides have already made enough trips to know that they can safely take somebody across the whole distance they want to go. They are able to explain what’s ahead and they can help people feel safe and assured, because they know how to get across raging rivers and tall mountains, as well as where the best passes and worst traps are.
To some extent they’re also teachers, because they teach skills and share important information. But more often than not they are just helping people move steadily across the terrain they want to travel.
It’s the spiritual guide’s job to say, yep, that’s up ahead. Been there several times. We can approach it a bunch of different ways, and here’s the part that’s a little scary, but this is how we’re going to work through that so that it’s not scary. A spiritual guide is a combination of coach, cheerleader, teacher, and counselor.
Their primary job is to help you remember what’s “spiritually normal.” Even if you think you haven’t done this before or you don’t remember that you’ve had these experiences, a good spiritual guide can show you and help you remember exactly where and when and how you’ve had these experiences and memories and that they feel good.
When you’ve done the right preliminary work, there’s nothing scary about it. It is a self rewarding process. The student can then be on their own, produce their own excitement and results, and keep pulling themselves forward.