It is of upmost importance that you chose the right spiritual teacher. A spiritually advanced teacher can teach you how to align with the deeper reality. A teacher who is not advanced can delay your progress. Unfortunately, may people choose poorly and fail to reach their spiritual potential.
Dissolving the Ego
The ego, formed by accumulated karma, prevents you from perceiving the divine and attaining liberation. The ego creates the illusion that you exist only within the confines of the physical body. And it keeps you distracted from the deeper reality through incessant thinking.
In our countless prior incarnations we each accumulate vast amounts of karma. Only after we begin the spiritual journey does our karma gradually dissolve, allowing us to progress to higher spiritual states.
In his books God Speaks, Discourses, and Infinite Intelligence Meher Baba describes the soul’s journey through creation. Once a person begins the spiritual journey he progresses along seven spiritual levels. The first four levels are referred to as the lower planes. The fifth and sixth are the advanced spiritual planes. And once a yogi reaches the seventh spiritual level the illusion of separateness falls away, and he attains liberation.
The Types of Spiritual Teachers
There are three types of spiritual teachers: those that are enlightened, those that are spiritually advanced yet not enlightened, and those that are not spiritually advanced.
An awakened soul is one with the infinite. He no longer has karma to impede the divine light as it passes through his form and into creation. And anyone who comes into contact with such an enlightened being is exposed to the pristine light of Source.
The unenlightened person who plays the role of a spiritual teacher is still burdened by an ego and trapped in the illusion of separateness. His ability to help others is determined by his spiritual state.
An advanced yogi, who has reached the fifth or sixth spiritual level, does not experience an unbroken state of oneness with the infinite. Yet much of his past conditioning has been dissolved. He is capable of connecting deeply with the infinite and experiencing temporary states of oneness.
The spiritual teacher who is not spiritually advanced still carries a large amount of karma that distorts the divine light as it passes through his form. He can learn how to temporarily connect with the infinite. Yet his remaining karma makes it difficult to experience the state of oneness. Almost all the leaders of religious institutions, and those who market themselves on the internet as “spiritual teachers,” are not advanced.
Learning through Contact
The spiritual journey takes place beyond the limitations of the ego-controlled mind. You learn to perceive the divine by coming into contact with those who are aligned with it.
When your attention is placed on a teacher who is not spiritually advanced you do not come into contact with the divine light. And you miss what is most important in making true spiritual progress. Even if such a teacher acquires the ability to project his energy outward it is distorted by his remaining karma and vibrates at a much lower level than the light of Source.
An advanced yogi can consciously connect with Source. And while in his presence you can learn to do the same, which is how you make true spiritual progress. This type of knowledge is invaluable for someone who has always perceived the world through the filter of the thinking mind.
In some religions, such as Buddhism, it is understood that a spiritual teacher does not need to be enlightened to assist others. An advanced yogi is capable of helping those at a lower level of spiritual development. After moving to San Diego, I received assistance from such a person. Yet according to Meher Baba an advanced yogi can only bring another up to his spiritual level and no further.
Without question you will receive the most benefit by developing an internal connection with an enlightened master. Being exposed to their enlightened presence will teach you how to consciously perceive the deeper reality. Their grace can remove spiritual obstacles and help you to progress more rapidly along the path.
“Every man and woman is naturally endowed with an inner potentiality which can absorb the true nature, but it cannot be around as long as the mind is not disentangled from its attachments to the phenomenal. No amount of learning and knowledge of scriptures, visits to the graves of the dead or shrines on the high peaks of the Himalaya Mountains, chanting of mantras or fasting will help on to activate one’s consciousness. It is possible only through contact or wise association with an enlightened man who has no attachments anywhere. On can be enlightened by his word, his touch, his thought, his sight, even in a fingersnap.”
— Papaji, Nothing Ever Happened vol. 3, p237