For the most part, being a spiritual teacher is a very pleasant experience. I only bring these darker aspects of being a teacher up because they are possible, and it is important for you to know how to deal with them if they show up in your life. Being a spiritual teacher has its own new set of challenges, but the minor challenges are far outweighed by the joys, the magic and the sweetness that is experienced between teacher and student. I have treasured my experiences of heart connections with students, for it is a beautiful relationship indeed. You are a spiritual friend and confidant to the student, and to be in such a role is an honor and a privilege. To be a catalyst and facilitator on someone’s spiritual path has many rewards. Great love can be shared between students and teachers. After your work as a spiritual teacher is done, these students will become your friends and equals, able to “be on your level.” This is a natural progression.
Always be respectful to your students, seeing that they are already enlightened, even though they don’t know it yet. Don’t see them as being less aware than you, for they are not. Don’t see yourself as more advanced, for you are not. All that is different between you and your student is that you may have been alive longer on the Earth so you have a few experiences under your belt, but that is all. You have had your “coffee” already and have woken up. Your student is just starting to drink the “coffee.” Other than that, there is no difference between you and the student. It is all One Self, after all, having many lifetimes, so how can you be more advanced than your student? Only the ego can have such an idea. If, however, you are standing in a place that is deeper than the ego, the Eternal Self looking out through your eyes, then you will not see levels or advancement. Rather, you will see the Eternal Self in your student looking back at you through their eyes, quite awake, and quite aware of itself, needing to learn nothing from you. It is only the human condition that sleeps, not the Eternal Self in your student. The Eternal Self is always awake and alert, observing it all going by. Remember this always. Meet your student there.
Be respectful of your students’ finances as well. Don’t overcharge for your services, classes or sessions. Keep it reasonable. If anything, err on the side of making your classes and sessions a little less expensive, rather than too expensive. Especially do not start a personality cult or ask people to turn over their life savings or belongings. This is the practice of a seriously false teacher. Remember why you are really doing this. You are not in this to get rich. You are in this to serve your life purpose of awakening yourself, and then assisting everyone else around you in awakening. Really, fulfilling this life path of being a spiritual teacher and counselor has nothing to do with money. There is not necessarily a huge amount of pay that comes with being a spiritual teacher. If money comes with it, see it as an added, but not expected, benefit. By having this attitude, you will see that your finances will be taken care of after all. The powers-that-be will see to your well-being.
You must also realize that you may still be a teacher in training for a while before you make a lot of money at what you do, so be happy if you are making a modest living at first. Allow your ability to make a living at being a spiritual teacher, healer or leader to evolve as your skills evolve. Don’t try to push the river. When you are ready, and you are more skilled as a teacher, the money you will make will increase as you become more in demand by the universe. For now, be patient with where you are and realize that it will take time to create a livelihood out of your spiritual practice because it will take time to become a true “professional.”
Walk your talk as best as you can. Don’t act immaturely or shout at people and then be Zen only while you are in session in your classes. Of course, you will have the human condition rear its ugly head now and then, or old wounds will come up for more healing and peacemaking, but try to walk your talk as much as you can. This is part of being a spiritual teacher. You must teach by example, not just by words. Speak as a spiritual teacher would at all times. Take inventory of your own misbehaviors throughout your day. Do you cut people off in traffic? Are you too caught up in your own affairs and thoughts to say a kind word or be polite to the checkout person at the supermarket? Do you treat strangers on the phone abruptly? Find out what your shortcomings are, become self aware, and do what you can to change them. Of course your human condition will never be perfect, but as a spiritual teacher you must be in control of yourself to a certain degree before you can back up what you are saying. Yes, you can allow your human-ness, but do not let it be out of control.
The only difference between a master and a person who is not a master is that masters are able to process old wounds that resurface more quickly, or catch when he or she has fallen out of the flow more quickly than the average person. Even masters have ugly emotions and thoughts now and then. Yes, even a master is subject to emotions such as hate, anger, depression, and sadness. Even masters have angry thoughts, or negative notions. However, they do not act on them. They do not allow the human condition to take over for very long before releasing the negative and returning to the True Self, looking at the situation from that perspective instead. The master “wakes up” to the fact that he or she has fallen asleep again and realizes it more quickly. He or she may be able to make the adjustment so quickly and smoothly that others don’t even notice that the master had even fallen out of the flow, especially if no action was taken on the thought or emotion in public view.
This is an excerpt from one of the 25 required master’s courses in the University of Metaphysical Sciences curriculum.