The Guru trap
In normal life someone who is experienced in his field of activity by theoretical studies and practical work is called expert or master and when he passes on his knowledge then he is called a teacher, trainer, master, maybe he is a professor or doctor.
In the spiritual field we have a similar situation but here a transformation of the personality is additionally required – what is simplified called enlightenment.
It is a general and natural attitude to pass on knowledge when you are “old” and experienced. So there is nothing bad in it.
But especially in the spiritual field it comes along with certain questions or problems which can be called traps.
One popular trap is that someone thinks that he has a “Guru status” just because he has read some books. Even if he has read or studied thousands of books over decades, this does not mean directly that he has understand something of real value or that he has received any refinement or enlightenment. So the fact is simply “He has read a certain number of books over a certain number of years.” And that´s it. So in best case you can ask him about the content of these books but it is wrong to expect more.
Another nice trap is to feel like a Guru when you have a few skills or higher perceptions or when you have practiced one or two exercises. This just means that you got some insights and made some experiences but again not more. So this is not a justification to feel and to behave like a Guru towards others, towards other students on the path. In fact such things mean nearly nothing. The studies and the training are so comprehensive and demanding that you cannot compare a real professor from university with a pupil who went one day to the primary school.
Another famous trap is to project own expectations and ideas how a Guru should be like on a real spiritual master. If you have never tasted a fruit, knowing only vegetables and then expecting a fruit to taste like salad then it simply cannot work. The whole spiritual field is something which is unknown to normal people and even students cannot expect to understand what is coming in the higher training. So it makes sense to release most expectations but focusing only on what you really can expect, things like wisdom, love, kindness, care, etc.
A very famous trap is the idea that when you have your “Guru status” – however you got it – that you then can tell people what is right or wrong, what they have to do, that you can judge them and if they do not follow your “authority” that they are ignorant or unworthy or bad or ill. This is unfortunately quite typical for secret circles or groups where all members have to follow the “master”. It is a very human behavior and not a sign of maturity or real enlightenment.
It is also wonderful to see how “Gurus” fight each other like roosters on Facebook and on esoteric platforms. You can see how their cockscombs get swollen, how they point out how great they are as authorities, etc. Indeed it is quite childish.
A last more or less bigger trap is the “traditional Guru status”. So when you are in a lineage e. g. as a Yogi, – one day you are set as a Guru with duties, status and expectations. Here it can be that you are somehow “forced” into this position. Besides this, you are limited to the knowledge and practice of your tradition. This must be clearly seen. It can be the case that you are just a parrot in a lineage of parrots which are only repeating what the former Guru said and did without any improvement or own research. This is not good.
I try now to draw a more realistic image of a “Guru” or spiritual master, teacher. The Indian term Guru means originally “the one who distinguishes light from darkness”. So a Guru is someone who is wise, who knows the differences between light and darkness and who can show others the way to accomplish this level of maturity too. Wisdom has been always the crown, the highest award in the spiritual development. The wise man knows the laws of creation and he knows how to use them. In fact the laws serve the wise man.
So wisdom is one main characteristic of a true spiritual teacher. Wisdom comes along with true understanding of everything which means also true compassion and a non-judgmental attitude. The enlightened one takes part in the state of unity, in the all-embracing divine love and on this level there is no judgment but only understanding, equality, respect and appreciation. It is the family principle, the great brotherhood as we are all beings from the same origin. It is the horizontal level while the vertical level deals with the difference in maturity and authority. And as the spiritual teacher is a representative of the Great Spirit, of the Highest, you expect from him only good, positive, constructive, supportive behavior and actions. He is a real servant of the Eternal Light, a servant of God, of mankind, of creation, of the Divine Plans of Evolution and especially a servant of all mature souls who want to progress on the holy path to Perfection. A spiritual teacher is Light and brings Light into this world. A spiritual teacher works in an enlightening way. As a servant of God, he is humble and modest in his nature. Always kind, caring, loving, an example for others, an inspiration for people. A true master does not care about ego or personal desires as he is blessed and saturated by the Divine so that he can serve his higher ideals. But besides his higher nature, he is certainly bound by the needs and conditions of his human nature, his incarnation. So he certainly has to manage normal human challenges. And depending on his personal situation he can have to balance old karma from former incarnations plus special duties regarding other people, family, students, etc. In most cases a spiritual teacher is very busy but he has a high level of energy and higher skills so that he can accomplish the work of maybe three normal persons. So in the end a spiritual teacher is not on holidays here on earth but busier than any normal person for a higher purpose. And certainly also spiritual teachers are here to continue their own training and to make new experiences. As they work in public and depending on their tradition it is also possible that they have to deal with various attacks from the dark side. Going public is a violation of the law of silence and by doing so the spiritual teacher loses to good degrees his protection which is normally given by this law.
One major point in dealing with the nature of spiritual teachers is that they offer clear and logical teachings which they also explain so that students can understand and follow them. They are able to put complex problems into simple words. So clarity in speech and behavior is one main quality. And they offer theory and practice in a fitting amount and quality to the individual student. This implicates that those “teachers” who are lacking of logic and clarity and simplicity in their teachings are very questionable and often not real, not refined, not wise but stuck on the intellectual level.
In conclusion one should be careful with spiritual teachers and one should question if they are real. And those who are advanced have to develop the necessary humbleness, love and wisdom to show real maturity in behavior and attitude. Always remember the horizontal and vertical level like I have described it.