Navigating the Student / Teacher Relationship

The spiritual student/teacher spiritual relationship is one of the most challenging, delicate and precarious relationships that we can encounter in our lifetime.

Primarily, because it is not a normal relationship, as there is a huge power imbalance Depending on how advanced the teacher is, there is tremendous faith needed from both the student and sometimes from the teacher.

A student needs to have faith that the teacher has something to teach you and that they have reached a certain spiritual level that they won’t take advantage of the power difference between you. And faith that as the student, you will endeavour to follow the spiritual guidance and practices given to you by the teacher.

That being said, I do want to urge you to be careful. There are very few true teachers, unfortunately. All too often, you can become quickly disillusioned by the spiritual teachers that are out there. I have seen teachers aggrandise themselves by not correcting students false assumptions and not setting the record straight in kind, loving ways.  And then taking advantage of their devotees love and deep devotion for their own interest. This is so completely wrong and very damaging for everyone concerned, teacher and student alike. It’s very painful when a student thinks their teacher is enlightened, only to find that they are not, through some event or interaction. It’s truly heartbreaking.

I think the wisest approach is to see spiritual teachers simply as the baton bearers of spiritual knowledge and information. Understand, that your true teacher is inside you already.

In my experience, I have had so many disappointments studying under those that insinuated that they were enlightened, only to find they were just a normal human being behaving dishonestly in a very heady and dangerous situation. And obviously lacking the tools needed to really serve their students.

The one to worship is inside you already. The one to listen to is already living in your heart.

Develop your meditation skills so you can hear them.

You already have everything you need. And if you have a teacher or come across a teacher you want to work with, see them as a fellow devotee – it is so super rare on this planet, at this time, that anyone is enlightened. So I would protect yourself and assume all living teachers are not.

Though don’t misunderstand my intent, there are of course a few truly gifted and enlightened teachers – they are just very few – and I like to counsel discernment. We too often want to think someone is the way we see them and not see or have the wisdom to see the reality of who they are.

Focus instead on taking full responsibility for your own spiritual advancement and education.

The great truth is – no one else can do it for you.

A good mantra for developing your relationship with the inner Guru is:


With the power of Ganesha, salutations to the all-pervading Guru.

With Love,

Aly M. Dunne


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