Whenever we embark on a journey into an area unfamiliar to us, it is a good idea to find a good guide and good traveling companions. And the spiritual journey is no different.
The Need for a Good Guide
If we rely on our habitual patterns to guide us (the likes and dislikes of the personality), we will not get very far. Most likely, we will just reinforce the patterns that keep us in small mind. A guide can help us get out of the circular paths and the ruts that we inevitably get into.
Characteristics of a Good Guide
A good guide will know the terrain from her/his own experience, and walked the path themselves. Beyond that, the characteristics of good guides are many of the same characteristics of someone living from Big Mind…
- A sense of “no extra” in how they relate to the inner/outer world
- Truly transdual view
- Authenticity (little need to “prove” anything or keep up an image)
- Able to let go of blind attachments to processes of the personality
- Honesty about own hangups and willingness to work on them
- Accountability (open for any form of feedback, takes it seriously, and works with it sincerely)
- Genuine gratitude, humility and empathy
There is a sense of generosity on all levels. There is a generosity in how they share their insights and advice. And there is a generosity in how they relate to themselves and others, in regards to both the hangups/blindspots and the realizations. There is an understanding, from own experience, that we are all in the same boat.
We can see our own and other’s blind spots, acknowledge them, and create an atmosphere where they can be recognized and healed. This is very different from putting one self and/or others down.
Some of the warning signs include…
- Attachment to own realizations/path
- Putting others down (for any reason)
- Lack of generosity towards others – including other traditions/paths
- Taking themselves seriously
- Not honest about own blind spots, and lack of willingness to work on them
These all reflect a certain blindness and stuckness, which is not likely to change unless there is an open acknowledgment of the blindness/stuckness.
The Difference: How we relate to blind spots
Of course, even the most highly realized have areas that are less developed or hurt, but the difference is how we relate to these areas.
Do we relate to them with denial? With rationalizations or maybe by trying to make them look like realizations?
Or do we relate to them with awareness, open/explicit acknowledgement, and sincere willingness to work on them…?