Some people write or talk to me about their hesitancy or resistance to taking steps forward on their path of discovery. One of my favorites is:
There is a fear of being duped by a Spiritual Teacher
Fear of being mislead by a teacher. Fear of being duped and giving away a trust in myself. What is discernment, what is judgment? When am I doing which?
I find this reasoning kind of funny. A person is using their fear to guide their thought process away from taking actions. Why should we trust our fears? Isn’t it usually our fears that more often mislead us in our thinking and actions?
Often this kind of “fearful thinking” is called skepticism, and often by people who claim to be skeptics. However, in this case the fear is using this tool of skepticism to be fearful of something different, and keep other fears in place by preventing action. A more skillful use of skepticism would be to apply it to these fearful thoughts. Until you apply skepticism to your fears, fears will use that tool of skepticism against your own emotional well being.
To balance challenging your fears of a teacher, don’t go leaping in with both feet towards what any teacher tells you either. It is reasonable to be skeptical of a Spiritual teacher, or even therapist, just don’t be fearful. Take your time time getting to know them and see what they are like, and if it is a good fit for you.
You might find some good guidance on evaluating a Spiritual Teacher from Jack Kornfield’s book, “A Path With Heart.”
Chapter 16 is entitled: You Can’t Do It Alone: Finding and Working with a Teacher