Written by Jan Ketchel and including a channeled message from Jeanne Ketchel.
Recently, while reading one of my favorite books, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, one that I dip into quite often, I came upon the chapter regarding the need for a teacher or master in order to maintain a proper spiritual practice. According to Buddhist tradition everyone needs a teacher, for how can you know you have reached the true nature of mind if you are not guided in some way by someone who has gone before?
I have never liked the idea of a master and I just could never personally accept the idea of a guru. But as I read this chapter I began to worry that I might not actually be doing my studies to the fullest. As I read a little further, however, I learned that the Buddhist teachers would often speak to the old masters who appeared before them in visions. They sat and spoke for many hours on end, listening to these masters who had lived in ancient times, in one case described as the second incarnation of Buddha. Eventually, these teachers begin to sound like the masters. They channel them. The author describes his own students coming up to him after a talk, telling him he spoke with the voice of his own teacher, long dead.
I laughed when I read this, my worry about having a teacher immediately melting away as I realized that I have had a teacher for the past ten years, a very good one: Jeanne! She has been most present—receptive, challenging, confrontational—pushing me to evolve. I have indeed been her pupil and gone through many stages of growth with her gentle and sometimes not so gentle prodding. I suddenly felt so much better, experiencing a real aha moment. For some reason, I had not fully grasped this idea before. Although I have always called her my teacher, in this moment I got it. She is my guru and as much as I have never liked that term, as much as I could never imagine myself aligning with a guru per se, I now acquiesce to the fact that she is indeed my master teacher.
I began to ponder the idea that we all have a master teacher or guru somewhere in our lives. We may not recognize this teacher in those terms, because the terms themselves don’t really matter. But what I also finally realize is that I did indeed need a guru of some kind to help me get where I am now. I was so caught in an old world that it seemed it was the only one that existed and I could not have gotten out of it without some help. And, I still need a guru to teach me how to continue evolving.
In The Tao of Physics Fritjof Capra writes on page 88: “A Bodhisattva is a highly evolved human being on the way to becoming a Buddha, who is not seeking enlightenment for himself alone, but has vowed to help all other beings achieve Buddhahood before he enters into nirvana… not simply to enter nirvana, but to return to the world in order to show the path to salvation to his fellow human beings.”
When Chuck read this statement to me the other day we both immediately recognized Jeanne as a Bodhisattva. Her messages from the very beginning have stressed that she is present to help others to awaken to the truth that all things are energetically interconnected and alive. This is her mission and that of her group.
Today, I explore with Jeanne this realization that struck me as funny at first, but then as fascinatingly true, that she has been my guru for the past ten years, and an excellent one at that. I am deeply grateful for all I have learned as her pupil. I have stayed connected to her through many uncertain and painful moments of self-discovery and awakening. Through it all, she sat calmly as I made my way back to her again and again asking for help. Over time I learned that she always had the answer, in some form. And indeed, as I evolved, I learned to channel and now her voice flows through me quite easily, though I had to go through many seasons of doubt.
I truly believe that she is available as a Bodhisattva to others as well. Several people have told me that she guides them and I am so happy whenever anyone reveals this. I know how good a teacher she is. And since it is her mission I can only hope that others will find the strength and innocence to reach out to her too.
So, I ask all of you to investigate the possibility that you may already have a teacher in your life. Perhaps one that is very much alive, or perhaps one you speak to as I do Jeanne, in quiet moments of inner work and study.
The Buddhists, Hindus, Shamans, Quantum Physicists, and others agree that what we consider reality does not, in fact, exist; that it is illusion created by our needs, desires, and fixations, and that true reality is an interconnected web of energy. We are all part of this interconnected web of energy, one nature. Within this framework we all have access to the masters, teachers, and gurus who are just waiting to guide us to understand energy and the oneness of all things; the Bodhisattvas who are ready to help us understand also how everything we perceive as real is not really there.
I have learned through my work with Jeanne to dissolve the world of solid objects into flowing energy. Through the practice of meditation I have more deeply grasped what I have learned over the past ten years as her pupil. And each week, as I write this blog, I am challenged once again to accept Jeanne as a Bodhisattva and appropriately express what she teaches.
Today, I ask her to offer us a teaching along the lines of recognizing or finding a teacher. I know that we all have access within; that we don’t have to look too far outside of ourselves. So, I ask Jeanne: How can we all recognize the voice of our true teacher? Can you also offer some guidelines on setting a practice in place with the teachers we already know and trust? As our world changes rapidly now, I believe we need to connect with our inner and outer teachers and guides more than ever. There is a pressing need for spiritual practice based on energetic interconnectedness. Because the truth of nature is that we are all the same.
How can your readers recognize their teacher? How does one begin to listen?
Here is what Jeanne says:
As you know, Jan, often the best moment to access your spiritual advisor is at a moment of despair, collapse, calamity, at the moment of breakdown when an old self is breaking apart. At such a moment, when the old rules you have set for yourself just cannot uphold your world any longer, you are open and ready for contact. However, breakdown or abruptly painful moments are not the only time one has access to the beauty of true life. In a moment of joyful enlightenment the way is cleared as well. In moments of clarity, in brief seconds of “getting it,” whether it be a personal issue finally falling into place or a universal issue finally making sense, at such moments the energy of each one of you is attuned and in alignment with all energy.
These moments of enlightenment are brief, so fleeting that it is almost impossible to hold onto them, profound though they may be. It takes a whole string of such moments, for the most part, before one learns to grasp onto them as the most meaningful moments in a lifetime.
How often, I ask each of you, have you had such moments of clarity, whether blissfully delivered or painfully presented? And how have you dealt with them? Have they faded away, been forgotten as you have gone back into reality? I ask that you each make a note, mental or otherwise, of all of these moments in your life, the moments of magic, of mystery, of clarity and of enlightenment. How many times have you, in fact, already been prodded awake in your life?
I guarantee that everyone has had more than a few such moments. However, so used are you to sleeping through life that the cloak of slumber quickly snuggles you back into the illusion of normality and you forget that you have experienced oneness with all things.
The first challenge to the self in your quest for a teacher is to become alert to your wake up calls. Become a student. Note how these wake up calls come to you and how you have received them in the past. Recognize them as wake up calls and train your awareness to become more alert by reminding yourself throughout each day, to remember, remember, and remember this: I am a being who is energetically connected to all other energy; alive or dead we are all the same. Remember this always: We are all the same energy.
In putting together your moments of awakening to the greater picture of the self as energy you will eventually string together enough moments to build a practice upon. A practice must be in tune with your everyday world. No matter what your situation you can begin a practice, because the practice is within. You carry the tools of your practice always with you. The first tool is awareness. And this is what you will hone as you remember. But you will also hone it by utilizing it daily to gain new moments of enlightenment. Even a simple instruction to the self to notice how the events and signs in your world seem to line up is a way to begin. What are you being shown each day that you have been missing?
Placing your attention on a new means of being in your life, by remembering your moments of awakening while asking yourself to stay awake for a little bit longer each day, should work to further you on your path.
Do not worry so much about who your teacher may or may not be. A teacher will not reveal him or herself as such. It is not how a true teacher works. He or she will never say: “I am your teacher.” This is something that you alone will discover when you are ready to realize it.
I interrupt the channeling as a moment of enlightenment occurs!
Yes, I concur with you Jeanne. Although I have spoken of you as my guide for ten years now I have sort of relegated you to an inner place, a guide related to my inner work, but now I more fully recognize you as my master teacher. I have achieved a big moment of enlightenment today, at this moment, as you help me to more fully grasp that my inner world and outer world are one. You have been asking me to more fully integrate them, to awaken to the fact that I must live outwardly what I have learned inwardly. This is another big aha moment. I thank you and ask if you have anything else to teach us today.
A teacher will be of your own discovery. Only you will energetically be able to align with and determine the process and the teacher that will awaken you. This may take some trial and error, but the end result will be enlightening!
I ask that you begin to more fully accept yourselves as energetic beings. It is difficult to face your death if you consider it the end of the self, if you consider the self only as flesh, blood, bone and organs. But, if you consider the self as only energy you will have a far greater opportunity to push ahead to accepting death as life. They are one and the same. Keep in mind that you all die a little each day as you forget those moments of awakening; you die energetically.
In pulling yourself into alignment with energy you gain life; you gain the awareness you need to navigate through the lifetime you now inhabit with far different insight than in past lives. If you are truly ready to evolve, the concept of the self as energy will not puzzle you for long because you will experience it. Then you must be open to the truth of such an idea as the one true fact of life. That is how you will discover who your teacher is.
In conclusion: Practice remembering. Practice remaining aware.
Do not be angry or disappointed if you can only hold onto a moment of awareness. It is enough for that moment. But then ask the self to notice the next one. Do not give up. Eventually you will wake up more fully. And each day, and even each night, you have the opportunity to do it again!
Stay connected to the idea of everything as energy and you will have learned the beginning teachings that all Bodhisattvas must learn. Start with that!
Thank you to Jeanne for this lesson today.
Most humbly offered,
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