It’s important to seek out spiritual teachers. It’s also important not to lean too heavily on others for our spiritual growth. One email reader shared with me a beautiful metaphor. She used a flashlight to describe her experience.
Stepping Out with Help of a Light
When you begin to seek a life that is guided by God, you may feel lost or in the dark. When she found this site and practiced meditation using the Be Still meditation , she told me that it was like I handed her a flashlight. She had begun to experience the light of awareness. She began seeking more earnestly this newfound awareness. I did not do this for her, but I did hand her a flashlight. She is now doing the work of shining more light into all of her dark places and experiencing more clarity and lightness on her spiritual path.
An Example of Leaning Too Much
When I was first in sales I was very fortunate to have two extraordinarily brilliant women as my managers and mentors. I leaned on these mentors, especially one of them named Donna. One day Donna announced that she was leaving and had accepted another position with a different company. I was devastated. I shared with her my disappointment in losing her as a mentor. Donna sat down with me and said, “Jackie, you are doing all the work. All the success you have is yours. I was here to support you. I didn’t do the work.”
I have always remembered that meeting and what she said. I’ve found that this affirmation can apply to the career path and the spiritual path. Whenever I lose a brilliant teacher, I always think of Donna’s words.
Leaning Too Much On Spiritual Mentors
I have been seeing the same spiritual director for twelve years. I love him. Without his direction I would not be able to do this work and to encourage others. Without him I would not have been able to shine the light on the deep dark corners of my soul where fear and shame and doubts and fears live. He gave me the flashlight to shine in my darkness. He has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and has to undergo radiation. Tears stung my eyes when I read the email telling me this. (He has made a full recovery.)
But again, I think about the words of Donna and I think of how much I have grown thanks to him. I have done the work, now I must help others grow too. Of course, his diagnosis does not mean that he is going away any time soon!
Jesus Our Ultimate Mentor
The ultimate example of the ultimate mentor and teacher was Jesus. I can’t imagine what it was like to be a disciple and to live in the physical presence of Jesus witnessing the miracles and experiencing God’s presence in their midst.
When he told them he was leaving and what was going to happen to him, I’m certain the bottom fell out of their worlds. But he taught them well and told them that they would not be alone. He would send the Comforter to be with them. They all went on to be examples of Christ consciousness and to make an impact on the world. Their words and teachings will live on forever.
Leaning Too Much Can Risk a Collapse
The picture shows the shack leaning. It’s also not resting on a solid foundation. If we are not careful, we can put our spirituality in the hands of someone just because they have credentials or lean on someone a little too hard on our spiritual path. We risk a collapse if their character is not solid or if they leave us.
Living life with what I call joy and flow, and walking this path is not easy. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. I wouldn’t trade anything for leaving my comfort zone to travel this road.
Tips to Step Up and Step Out on Your Spiritual Journey
You are a unique and powerful child of God. To walk the spiritual path here are some traveling tips for the journey:
- Learning to be still will help you to listen to the still small voice inside of you and the voice of God,
- Travel light. That means letting go of shame, guilt, resentment, and secrets you are hiding (Spoiler alert, God knows about these anyway),
- Trusting your own decisions, and trusting God as your guide.
As Christians, the way we do that is through prayer, meditation, journaling, worship, feeding ourselves good spiritual food in the form of scripture and other inspired writings, being in community, and finding those who can be a trusted guide to help show us the way.
May you have the courage and the desire to pick up a flashlight and see the path before you. May you not be afraid to take steps. May you lean on others for help, but step out with confidence, leaning on God as your strength and guide. It may be a road less traveled, but your body, mind, and soul will be richer for it.
Do you need to travel lighter? Do you need to let go? This Letting Go Prayer and cut number 5, Letting Go from my Let it Go – 10 Meditative Affirmations to let go and let God may help. Get the Letting Go free download here.