Receiving a Teaching
“Spirituality is about remaining in an open state of constant discovery.”
In my experience, this topic isn’t talked about very often. It seems to be something that is assumed and needs to be realized on our own. And yet this is the fundamental aspect of the teachings we receive; our attitude and posture on the information we’ve been given, And what we do with that information. Because this is the space where a teaching lies within us. It’s just as important as the teaching itself.
Spiritual teachers, philosophers, ministers, prophets, gurus, etc. often paint a picture with words. But the thing is, they’re just words. And it’s just an imaginative picture. And often, what these words are implying, is that there is an ideal way of receiving these teachings. A specific way to take in these words. Furthermore, as we develop our own spiritual practice, we can see for ourselves that the ideal way to receive a teaching is within the teaching itself.
First of all, what is a spiritual teaching? I like to think of a teaching like a map. A map of words that guides us to realizing our fundamental nature. A teaching is something to put into practice. What teachers are talking about is a revelation that you can actually experience for yourself. And they talk about what we can do to make ourselves more prone to having these revelations. Because the teaching isn’t the revelation, the actual experience is. The actual experience of Enlightenment is far beyond what anyone can say about it, or how you can imagine it. Although, any experience, any instant, is far beyond words and concepts.
Growing up, going through school, and socializing with other egos seemed to train me to believe in what I was told. It made me feel bad about not being able to understand something. It trained me to instantly make sense of the information I was given. And either believe or deny. All within the instant of taking in any information. I now know that this is a silly way of going about learning. Because it’s not really learning. That is if we’re talking about fundamental truth.
I see a lot of people taking this same attitude to spiritual teachings. Believing in the words of a teacher. This is a very dangerous thing. I’ve always thought about how ironic that is. Because usually, believing in a teaching is to defy the teaching itself. Because to believe is to grasp and cling to our own thoughts. And spirituality is all about being open. If the mind is too busy grasping at something that isn’t really true, but we convince ourself that it is, it becomes unavailable to receiving truth.
So let’s get right down to it. The ideal way to receive a teaching is the same way we practice life in general, or “the way of liberation.” By being open, curious, unattached, and practical.
In the past, I have received teachings that I didn’t understand until way later. Some months, and others it took around a year for me to really understand. And when I say understand, I’m talking about the kind of understanding where it’s undeniable, and you can feel it throughout your being. I’m talking about really seeing and comprehending what a teaching is referring to. Not understanding the teaching itself, that’s not what its about. Because all teachings are merely pointing towards truth. Leading us to revelation.
For most of us, we are generally conditioned to (upon given a piece of information) immediately try to conceptually make sense of it. Then either believe or deny, like I stated above. By doing this we are totally closed off to any kind of truth. Because our own concepts are not true. They’re just thoughts. When it comes to raw truth you don’t have to believe it, or even feel certain about it. Truth is always undeniable.
When receiving a teaching you won’t get anywhere with this process. We have to remain open. Blind belief serves nothing but the ego. To trust a teacher, and have the curiosity to try their techniques is not the same as believing in what they say about truth. Instead of taking their word for it we can stay curious and see for ourselves through their techniques. Taking up a new practice is responding to the inner beckoning of our true nature.
So we need to give ourselves time with a teaching. Allow whatever lands land, whatever doesn’t doesn’t. And rest with what landed. For as long as it takes. Contemplate on it, it could spark a profound realization at any moment. This is (in my experience) the best way to go about it. The only catch is; you have to find a teacher that you trust. If a teaching doesn’t speak to you find a different teacher. Even if the words of a teacher do speak to you, find more teachers. Because why not have a well rounded plethora of sealed wisdom in the back of your mind just waiting to have a breakthrough.
In light of that, here’s a short list to some trustworthy teachers.
Leo Gura (actualized.org)
These are just a few that I personally like and trust. Obviously there are many many more teachers and resources for spiritual enlightenment. I hope this might inspire or encourage you to explore spiritual teachings and seek what we truly are in life. And the interesting thing is, if you ever do realize our nature to any degree. If a deeper domain of our being becomes self conscious through you, you can “look” at it. Notice the qualities that it has. When I do this I notice qualities like; openness, innocence, aliveness, love/embrace, playfulness, etc. So what I’m getting at is that taking in a teaching, putting that into practice, and what the practice leads to is all the same thing. It’s all an embodiment of the one. Embodying these qualities makes us prone to realizing our deeper truth. Once realized, continuing the embodiment takes us to greater depths. All you have to do is stay curious.
Thank you for reading