The Problem with Having a Spiritual Teacher (It Might Not be What You Think!)

The Problem with Having a Spiritual Teacher (It Might Not be What You Think!) - Guru

By Lynn Newman

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

Twenty years ago I set myself on a spiritual path. I needed guidance. I wanted someone to help me to heal. After all, I didn’t know how to do it for myself.

Powerful teachers and healers appeared in my life because I was ready to finally stop the patterns I repeated that held me prisoner. Those teachers who showed up were magic. They manifested to meet me exactly where I was. They offered me wisdom. They challenged me. They blew my mind figuratively and spiritually.

I decided I also wanted some education. I was a good therapist, but I felt something was missing. So, I got two Masters Degrees; one in spiritual psychology and one in counseling psychology and became a therapist.

After ten years of devoting myself to teachings, school, workshops and journeys, I felt an urge to find my own spiritual or healing experiences not dependent on someone else. There was something empowering about this. I went (among other things) to sit on a mountain. I meditated with the intention to create my own spiritual experience.

And I found it — without another’s energy influencing me. I reached (and continue to reach) those transcendent places through my concentration and widening of my own heart.

Today, I write articles and offer support to new clients and yet, sometimes question what the hell I’m doing. Certainly, I think it’s silly that I offer advice to people when my own life is far from perfect. Yes, I’ve collected wisdom over the years but don’t always apply it. Or I know what to do or say and don’t do or say it. Or I think, after some experience, that I know everything.

I’ve had teachers who gave me gems of wisdom that were priceless. Gems I carried around in my pocket from that moment on. I developed friendships with some of those teachers. And later, was surprised when I discovered their humanness. Oddly, it felt like some form of betrayal. Somehow, not knowing about their life, their mistakes, their failed relationships made me feel safer. I believed I could trust them more if they were pristine and spotless.

And the same went for me when the bubble popped and a new student, client, friend or romantic interest discovered my own imperfections…

That said, I would say the greatest thing I’ve learned from all my teachers is this: Take the teaching. Don’t take the teacher. Because we teach what we most need to learn.

The risk in holding someone on a pedestal is that they can topple and fall. We’re all teachers. We’re all experts in something. We all know something, at least, really well. We may have learned it (or partially learned it) from someone else and can give credit where credit is due. We’re grateful. Without them, we wouldn’t have learned what we did and we wouldn’t pass down to others what we learned from them.

I had a teacher and friend, Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements. He taught me this: Don’t believe me. Don’t believe anyone else. Don’t believe yourself.

That crushes the ego, doesn’t it? Too often we grip onto what we know. Onto another’s view or beliefs. Onto our own views and beliefs — fixed, setting them in stone and forgetting our fluidity.

In the end, our job and ONLY job is to be the most masterful teacher for ourselves.

One of my greatest life lessons: It’s not our job to heal another. It’s our job to let them wrestle with God themselves. It’s important to support, offer insight, nurturing and love – but ultimately it’s about holding SPACE for another as they reach their own conclusions in the timing and discovery that is appropriate for them.

Too often “spiritual teaching” comes down to the path of POWER rather than of SERVICE.

To be our own masterful teacher, we come to a place of knowing that just like everyone else we have issues and with humility, know NO better. The difference between power and service is that we are willing to commit to our own growth. And maybe, just maybe we might meet God on our own.

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About the author:

Lynn NewmaLynn Newman has a Masters in Counseling Psychology, is a writer, painter and game creator (like The Game of Insight – An Interactive Way To Know Yourself, Create The Life You Want). She’s big on supporting others in having fun in their creative endeavors and unleashing the truest, free-est parts of you — to experience more joy, more purpose, and more passion in life.

Find out more at or connect with Lynn via


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