Fear of Being Duped By A Spiritual Teacher

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

 

 

 

 

 

Spiritual Warrior

A spiritual warriors path is challenging.

In The Four Agreements, Miguel Ruiz calls it a war.  We will lose some battles, that’s okay.  It may feel like a lot, even with the perspective of the victim persona at the time, hopeless.  But it is only one battle.  A Spiritual Warrior learns not to measure progress in the war using the metrics of only one battle.

A Spiritual Warrior learns to retreat, rest, recover, learn from their actions, regroups, then stands up again to take another step on his path.

Even in the process of losing a battle, much progress is made.  The ego has pushed back, and so it is exposed, and we gain more clarity on our endeavor.  The ego can even be weakened.  At a minimum, we become more respectful of our foe, even if it is a dream.  We become more grateful of those moments that are peaceful, and even grateful of moments where we are  just holding our ground against a dream.  And with that kind of experience a number of times we embrace humility, a kind of mile marker on the journey.

Sometimes it is best for a Warrior to realize they have done their best against their emotional reactions and  inner demons of the mind, and to go rest and recover.   A warrior learns there is a time for that too as they become wise.

Sometimes it is best to rest and recover.  It will be necessary to take time to rest or you will not win many of the battles in the war for your happiness.

 

Controlling Your Attention

We don’t learn to control our attention when we are young. We have to learn to control our attention when we are adults.

When we are young we were told where to put our attention, who to put it on, and how long to keep it there. We learned to put our attention on what other people told us to. Since adults taught us to put our attention on them, or on what they wanted to put our attention on, (school work, chores, minding our manners, following the rules, etc) by default we learned not to put our attention on our self.   We became automated to have others control our attention.

Indirectly we learned not to pay attention to our emotions, what we were feeling,  or what we wanted.

When you become an adult, and you realize that your attention is still governed by all those rules you collected, or that your mind is looking for other people to direct your attention.  You might even feel uncomfortable if it is your own hands with no one telling you what to do. You may find your self trapped with your thoughts and beliefs controlling your attention.   Realizing that you are trapped, and don’t have control over your attention is one of the first steps towards freedom.

It is only as adults that we have the opportunity to take control over our own attention, notice how we feel, and direct our life in a way we want. This is something of an opportunity not typically available to us when we were children.

Oh,,, and it will take work, and many attempts to free your attention from limiting beliefs and fears.

Such is a spiritual warriors training ground.

Specific exercises for gaining control over your own attention can be found at my Self Mastery Course at  Pathway to Happiness. 

 

 

Four Agreements Companion Book

A question from a subscriber to my on line course in Self Mastery,,,

Hello Gary,

I started reading The Four Agreements Companion Book yesterday and noticed that it had exercises like your Self Mastery program.  The first exercise in the book was dealing with image of perfection but I’m still about ten sessions away from your Image of Perfection session.

I am aware that the sessions in your program are in an order for a purpose, so I wasn’t sure if it would be okay to continue reading the book or not.

Should I… continue reading the book and do the book exercises with your program? or stop reading the book until I finish your program?

Thanks for your time,

Curious

Hi Curious,

The Four Agreements Companion book is great and I recommend that you read it.  However most people I’ve talked to that have attempted the exercises have gotten overwhelmed.   They see so much of their belief system so fast without first having control over their attention that they slip into a victim point of view.  That induces a feeling of overwhelm, powerlessness, and then hopelessness.   Then their inner judge kicks in and berates them for failing.   They lose motivation and close the book,,, stop the exercises…  defeated.   They end up feeling worse than when they started.

So that’s one of the reasons why I don’t start with the  Image of Perfection beliefs.  It’s also why I have people develop some other skills over their attention and beliefs before trying to change their whole belief system.  It’s like eating beef.  It’s much easier to do one bite at a time so you don’t get crushed by the whole animal.

By all means read the Four Agreements Companion Book.  But, I’d suggest doing the exercises in the Self Mastery before starting the exercises in the book.  And if you want to challenge and dissolve your Image of Perfection beliefs, (which is a necessary step to eliminating self judgments) then I suggest the using the steps in the Advanced Series of the Self Mastery program instead of the Four Agreements Companion book approach.   In the Advanced Series I not only walk you through changing the Image of Perfection beliefs, but also walk you through the different issues of resistance that come up to letting these go.

After that, you’ll be better prepared to do the exercises suggested  in the Four Agreements Companion book.

Hope that helps,

Gary

Original post at ToltecSpirit.com a Four Agreements resource for Spiritual Warriors
http://www.toltecspirit.com/2009/12/four-agreements-companion-book/

Nobody is Perfect

Sometimes you will  hear people say, “Nobody is Perfect.”

Generally they include themselves in this category of not being perfect.
It’s an odd kind of self judgment.

It’s an odd kind of self judgment based on this idea of perfection.  However, there’s nobody in this category of “Perfection.”    And if perfection is an empty group then “perfection” doesn’t really exist.

The consequences of that is that “imperfection” doesn’t exist. Then there is no one that is imperfect either.  Including you.

Saying that you aren’t perfect is like saying that Tuesday is not tall enough.   “Not tall enough” does’t exist as a category for Tuesdays.   Then the category “Too Tall” doesn’t exist eigher.   The categories don’t apply.

So applying the category descriptions of “perfect” and “imperfect” to your self, and other people, doesn’t make much sense.

This post originally published at  www.ToltecSpirit.com  a blog about the Four Agreements.

For practical exercises in being Impeccable and Not Taking things personally listen to the audio sessions in the Self Mastery program.

Four Agreements Workshops in Your Area

A request for workshops in your local area.   Part of why I created the Self Mastery on line study course at www.PathwayToHappiness.com

Gary,

I recently purchased the book Beyond Fear. I have found that Don MIguel’s words speak to me on a very deep level. I had no idea that the ancient people of my country had such a rich spiritual tradition of their own. I’m thinking that it would probably have been better to start off reading The Four Agreements first, but I guess I can just make that my next book.

Anyway, I am really interested in working with a spiritual guide, one who can teach me on Toltec Wisdom. I live in Wisconsin, and I notice that most workshops, events, etc are not in my area. Do you have any suggestions on where to start?
Any info would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for your time.   —  Dan

Hi Dan,

I don’t think there is a wrong order to reading don Miguel’s material.  Just add his other books to your list.

I live in California so I’m not local to your area.  However I do travel for events. If people wish to create a workshop or event in their area and invite me to teach and share, then I will do so.  Aside from that, no there are not a lot of teachers of his work.  He taught a small group of people very intensely, focusing on quality more than quantity.  Even then, most of those people don’t teach as they choose to do other things with their life.  Some are doctors, lawyers, yoga teachers, graphic artists, or raising their children.

Not having a widespread cadre of teachers has been a problem for a while.  One that has improved greatly since I started when it was just don Miguel in a limited number of locations.  It is something that I began addressing by putting a lot of material on line.  It’s at my other site http://pathwaytohappiness.com/index.htm

Where to start?

I suggest here – http://pathwaytohappiness.com/insights.htm
This page has a lot of free audio.  They are from my free podcasts.   You can also find them on iTunes in the Self Help section.   Search under “Happiness through Self Awareness”

The free audio addresses the lay of the land in terms of beliefs, emotions, will power, perception, assumptions etc that make up our minds.   The Self Mastery sessions are the action steps of what to do.   You will find entry to that work on this page.  http://pathwaytohappiness.com/self_mastery.htm

This is where the real work is done.  These are specific exercises and practices that I have put together based on my years of study with don Miguel, and teaching my own clients.  It is a paced on line audio workbook process where you learn many skills to gain control over your attention, raise your awareness, and inventory and change your core beliefs.

For people who are more focused, or want specific guidance, I also do coaching over the phone.  Often this is in support or in addition to the exercises people are doing from my Self Mastery program.

Hope that helps.   Send me an email if you have any questions.

Gary

For specific exercises for identifying and dissolving fear based beliefs based in the Four Agreements, begin with the free practices in the Self Mastery audio program.

The original  post located at Four Agreements Events and Workshops

Dirty Spirituality

We like our Spirituality clean.  That is to say we like our spiritual journey to be clean, neat, filled with lots of wonderful happy experiences, and love.   If that’s all you want you can at best go,,, half way.

That kind of spiritual journey ignores or denies dealing with the ego, self importance, fears, and various other illusions in the mind.  Coming face to face with your inner demons like the Judge, or Victim aspects of your personality are a dirty affair.  Being honest with our lack of impeccability, how we judge our self,  or other people, is humbling.  Miss those opportunities, and you miss out on dissolving the ego.

This business of cleaning up and dissolving your fears is dirty as well.  You can’t move through your fear of death, loneliness, or what others think of you, by looking at it from afar.  Nope.  You have to get dirty.  Be present with with those fears,,, and stay aware and awake at the same time.   That’s how your emotional body gets cleaned of fears and emotional wounds.  If you try and stay “clean” in this work you will miss those wounds.  You’ll end up having a nicely spiritual coat over your emotional wounds.

Challenge your inner demons and you will lose your attention to their tricks more often in the beginning than you will win.  You will take your licks as you learn to play their game better than they do.  You will have some falls into muddy emotions of shame, guilt, embarrassment, and perhaps even touch hopelessness now and again.  With some good training, and practice you can keep your self clean.  But you will get dirty along the way.

Yes this spiritual journey is dirty business.  At least it can be that way in the beginning.  Later, if you’ve cleaned up your emotional wounds, and dissolved your self importance, it takes on that bright sparkling look, and may even have a lemon fresh scent to it.

But for now, it’s okay that this spiritual work is dirty business.

Personal Power

There is often an interest to acquire more personal power.  This approach becomes a common trap in a spiritual warrior’s path.  The desire to gather personal power is often a compensating strategy for that feeling of not being powerful enough.

When you gain personal power based in this motivation your “I’m not powerful enough” story is being fed.  Gaining personal power becomes a remedy that doesn’t address the source of the problem, and can even makes it bigger.

Turn your attention to your desires, and the fears, beliefs, and self importance that spawn them and you will have a chance to become free.

Circle of Fire Prayer

Power of Prayer to Strengthen Your Connection to Life

Growing up a in a Catholic family and being highly skeptical I didn’t appreciate prayer much. To say that I rebelled would be more accurate. What I found with prayer is that the power is not in the words. The words are just a mechanism with which we can direct our attention and intent.

Prayer can be a powerful force. It is so because we put our intent behind it. We focus our attention, our emotion, and our personal intent in the direction of our desire. Our prayers are also in the direction of Love. This aligns us with the natural intent of Life and furthers the strength of our Word. Miguel Ruiz was generous to provide us with an intent for our lives that helped guide us to our integrity and love. He took that expression of Life and put it into words as cleanly as he possibly could. He called it the Circle of Fire prayer. The depth of meaning and way of life that it has guided me to has been revealed over years.

Today, is the day of the Lord, when the Divinity returns to us.

When living our Free Will, and with all the Power of our Spirit,

We decide to live our lives in free Communion with God,

With no Expectations.

We will live our lives with Gratitude, Love, Loyalty and Justice,

Beginning with Ourselves,

And continuing with our Brothers and Sisters.

We will respect all Creations as the Symbol or our Love communion

With the One who Created us.

To the Eternal Happiness of Humanity.

from Prayers, a book by don Miguel Ruiz