It’s easy to get lost down any path. Precious time and energy can be lost, even lifetimes, thinking that you are approaching “shambhala”, when really your ego and habits are stronger than ever.
You have nothing to lose by seeking a teacher. As the saying goes, “a bad teacher can’t hurt a good student”. But you have everything to gain by finding a good teacher.
What does it mean to have a teacher?
A Guru is similar to having the Buddha joining you along the path, because like the Buddha, the teacher has walked the path themselves.
A teacher is a living reminder for where you are headed. Great respect is paid to the Guru, such as in the practice of Guru Yoga. It is not really the person that we are paying our respects to, but the awakened state that they, a regular human being like us, reflects to the awakening in all of us (see Whole Aspiration).
Having a teacher demands a level of commitment from you, depending on how much you are willing to give. The commitment is not necessarily to the teacher, but the the long-term process that is involved, which invariably involves great highs and great lows.
How do you find a Guru?
There is not too much to say here, except that it seems when someone recognizes the need enough in themselves to have a teacher, they will find one.
View the Dharma Centers page for more information.
Recognizing a good teacher
The late Cecile Kwait said that if someone is a teacher to you, it’s someone who reflects your own awakening. When a Guru is really a Guru they reflect the best of you back to you, and you feel encouraged.
I would like to acknowledge and thank my personal Teachers of compassion and wisdom: Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawsarat Sensei. Thank you for your inspiration, much of which is passed forward on the pages of this site.