By connecting to your inner teacher, you can be your own guru first and foremost, and even if you choose to follow a guru, teacher or master, you always have yourself to check in with along the way to see if you're in agreement with their teaching or comfortable with the experience.
True teachers show us that it is possible to wake up and be free, but ultimately the truth is already within each of us and can never be given by another. Through meditation we connect to that inner guru, to the brilliance and radiance of who we truly are.
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I'm aware that some traditions teach that gurus are unblemished, and that admiring the perfection in them is a way to glimpse God. But I personally go farther on my own spiritual path when I remember it's okay that I'm fallible, that wherever I am or whatever I've done is fine.
We do need external teachers for a while to guide, teach and hone our understanding and skills. But, at some point, all a teacher can do is lead us inward. Like a big cosmic U-turn, the guru is ultimately only trying to lead us home.
It's a big challenge being a spiritual teacher in a secular culture. Authentic holders of timeless spiritual truths are often thought to be hucksters and con artists because they boldly dare to bear witness to the unseen.
Devotion might look like what a student has with a teacher or an aspirant has with a guru. The teacher must be high minded and the guru must be the best kind with the highest goals of the student in mind.