Teacher or charlatan?

It’s very easy to pretend to be a teacher, we all know the ultimate truth: “The only thing that exists is consciousness recognizing itself”; “Everything is a dream, the mind and body are an illusion”, “There is neither the observer nor anything observed”, “Everything is void, Brahman”, blah blah blah.

But… of what use is this to a person who feels a deep and sincere desire for freedom, but does not glimpse or experience these “ultimate truths”? An individual who day after day lives deceived by this great illusion we call “life”… someone who still suffers and reacts to the world. Repeating the ultimate truth is of no use to this being. It even shows a lack of compassion, and can be damaging.

The real teacher not only teaches the “ultimate truth” — that can be done by anyone who has read the great teachers of history and repeats their teachings like a parrot. Taking delight in how much they know, interspersing Sanskrit words here and there, talking nonstop because silence would give them away.

The real teacher knows how to teach the path that leads to the truth. The real teacher is able to come down from the top of the mountain they stand on, meet with the disciple down in the valley, and help him or her climb all the way to the top. The real teacher is able perceive what the disciple needs to make progress, no matter what level they currently are at.

The real teacher has the gift of looking into your eyes and knowing what you need right there and then. Sometimes they will speak at the highest level, sometimes they will remain silent. Many times they will accept as real things that they know are not real, in order to help you get to the top. The only thing they require is your sincerity in your desire to be free.

Luis de Santiago, October 1st 2014.