A friend of Zoofence recently referenced one of my Anna's Page entries referring to gurus or teachers who go bad, or "have feet of clay". This generated in my own mind some thoughts about the process of transitioning from the outer teacher to the inner which, to my mind at least, is inevitable as the seeker progresses toward greater understanding of who or what she is, and who or what God is. Indeed, the discovery of a failed teacher is a moment to be grateful for, evidence of growth and progress, a pointer toward the truth. It normally occurs, despite outer appearances, as a moment of inner revelation, which ultimately leads to expansiveness and inclusion of more, rather than limitation and less.
When I first began this process many years ago, I was obstructed for a number of years by my religious upbringing which threatened hell and damnation if I considered anything other than the supplicant/master, or put another way, outer authority versus inner authority. I could not get around my culture's conditioning that authority is out there somewhere, and inner authority is less than that, and somehow, for some odd reason, not to be trusted. This is, in retrospect, clearly a mechanism whereby parents control children, which may have its place, but unfortunately trickles down through the entire cultural hierachy, and results all to often to a release of one's inner guidance and authority, and reliance upon another's. It is at least consoling, perhaps, that in that mechanism we have managed to insert a benevolent and loving God as the highest authority to which we have recourse under that scheme, but that is not universal, obviously, there are plenty of highest authorities which are not so benevolent or loving, needless to say.
Anyway, it was this conditioning, I believe, which turned me in the direction of more universal teachings, and teachers of those teachings --- which turning allowed me to retain the outer teacher, outer authority paradigm. It was one step removed from "there is only one teaching, and my God's is it", to there are many teachings about the same God. However, I still turned to other authorities to guide me. And this was right at that time. This entire area of knowledge and understanding was new to me, I did not have the language or schematics to understand what, I now know, I already knew within. Viewed from a different perspective, I was dismantling and rebuilding my soul. Yes, I like that. (Thanks to the recommendation by jenjulian to read Simone Weil!) I had to unravel my conditioning step by step, and recourse to an outer authority offered me consolation and protection. It was only when the "sapling" that I was grew strong enough could I risk removing the fence around it that protected it from pests all around it.
So teachers I found, which miraculously appeared at just the right time, with just the right knowledge, and just the right perception. In retrospect, I now understand that those teachers were essentially produced on time by God, for me, because I needed those teachers at that time, and they needed me. (God is gracious, and sets up our world just as we want and need it, according to our specifications.) This is similar to Gurdjieff's maxim that the student can only learn from a teacher one step above her and a teacher needs that student in order to reach her next step on her own path. Only with trepidation did I eventually discover that it all resides within, and is expressed without, that there are no hierachies in fact, and that everything, and all and each of us, is wholely holy. And it was only my conditioning that objected to this realization.
Therefore, my transition from outer to inner required that my teachers eventually failed me, because I was not so much a slow learner, as a reluctant or non-courageous one. The known step was much more comfortable than the next. The process of self-discovering is a painful stretch more often than not. We are creatures of comfort, and if there is a choice, will often opt for the comfort. And the moment of discovery of those "feet of clay" is heart-wrenching and full of emotional turmoil, because we believe we have been betrayed, when in fact, we have been "saved", both by our selves, and by our teacher. Perhaps one might say, we set this up ahead of time?
So, our teachers fail us, and we move on. The teacher "sacrifices" or is crucified by us, so that we "may be saved". Sounds familiar, doesn't it? But only with great perseverence and focus does one come to know (or perhaps better, rediscovers) who does the sacrificing, who does the crucifying, and who saves and is saved. And one cannot help but feel humbled, grateful, and awed by the genius and beauty of the entire process.
Almost anything, from alpha to omega.
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