The Light of Wisdom
The spiritual path offers the rich gift of a direct connection to God. However, our understanding of the path needs to be grounded in careful discernment. The tradition of yoga tells us that our journey has integrity when three strands of the path are in harmony: the teacher, the teachings, and personal experience. When these three aspects of our journey are aligned, they reinforce one another and our path becomes clear.
The mentor, guide, or teacher is a common archetype on the spiritual quest; we see this trope in myths as well as in both ancient and modern stories. The spiritual guide holds a special place in the life of the seeker, offering encouragement and guidance through challenges. Eastern spiritual traditions clearly state that a relationship with a living teacher is vital for a seeker if they wish to complete their journey.
But the student must also use their discrimination in relation to the three strands. The teacher must be knowledgeable, selfless, and skillful. If the teacher's words or actions don't match up with the traditional teachings, then that needs to be resolved. The seeker must always be willing to reevaluate their choice of teacher, their interpretation of the teachings, or their understanding of their personal experience.
Buddha outlined a similar system that he called the three jewels: the Buddha (enlightened teacher), the teachings, and the sangha (the community of seekers). The wisdom behind the three strands and the three jewels is the same: the spiritual path requires careful, focused consideration and a solid support system. Seekers need to become skilled in recognizing truth from untruth, and dharma (right action) from adharma (wrong action). In this way, we become increasingly aligned with the infinitely loving presence of the divine and bring that presence with us into the world.
Where are you on your journey? Discover your path through the richness of silence. Meditate and listen to God!