When we decide to begin exploring different spiritual avenues, teachers, books, ashrams, courses, etc. it's very important to be continuously checking in with ourselves.
There is often this point on the spiritual journey where we are a bit of a spiritual tourist testing and trying different practices and traditions, seeing where we feel called to land in a more committed space.
There are a lot of options out there and some will bring you home to your Self, revealing the Kingdom of God/Truth in your Heart. However, some have not such nice intentions and it's not always so simple to tell the difference, we've been there!
We recommend coming back to these 6 questions or points of reflection to ensure you are receiving an authentic experience.
1: How Does It Make Me Feel?
This is not as simple as "I feel good" or "I feel not so good". This is because oftentimes charismatic teachers will make you feel nice but in a very personal way (more on this later). And when in the presence of a true teacher, you may feel you want to run for the door.
A true teacher, a breakthrough book, a transformative course, they can make you feel very uncomfortable but there is a subtle knowing inside that it's a good thing. That this discomfort is due to the shedding of what is not true. You're facing a part of yourself that you don't want to look at. Or maybe, that you hadn't seen before and it's a bit overwhelming. But this can lead to something very beautiful.
So, discomfort may arise when we meet something which is good for us. But it's also very important to consider...
2: What Does My Intuition Say?
Is there an intuitive feeling that something is off? This has happened to us before where we didn't listen to that voice that said "something is stinky here" and a teacher turned out to not be what he presented himself as.
When browsing that website, watching talks, sitting in satsang, listen to your intuitive feeling even if you cannot name exactly what feels off.
3. What Is The Tradition / Lineage?
Is there an association with a particular tradition or lineage? If so, this will show there are practices that have been and continue to work for people across space and time.
Unfortunately, there are "stinky people" in all traditions but if you find a practice or teacher within a lineage or tradition such as Buddhism, Sufism, Hinduism, Tantra, etc. and it lights you up, follow that.
4. Who Are Their Teachers?
It is very important to know where the teachings are coming from. As well, that whoever is presenting them, has the humility to admit they are still learning.
Anyone who presents themselves as perfect and without reference to teachers is highly questionable.
5. Do They Guide Me Back To My Self?
Many teachers are very charismatic. They can make you feel really good as an individual person, they can boost the ego, and you leave the class/course/satsang standing tall.
But, do they bring you into the Heart? Do they guide you back to your Self? To Truth?
Are these practices leading you deeper, not into the realm of the person but to your True Self before all the characteristics and personality?
6. Is There Spiritual Bypassing?
Is there a denial of your innate humanness? Are they making you feel bad for your experience as a person? Are they making you feel broken and that they can fix you?
These all raise flags.
Some examples of spiritual bypassing statements include (but are not limited to):
"Everything happens for a reason"
"Focus on the positive"
"Love and light" (with no real action)
"High vibrations only"
We hope this list finds you well and leads you to a place of comfort in true teaching.
This blog post comes from a section of Episode 21 of the Tantra & Yoga podcast. To listen to the whole episode, click the link below.