Teachers come into our lives to teach us what we need to learn to progress on our spiritual journey.
They present themselves when we are ready—even if we are not looking for them. And, if a teacher doesn’t arrive, it’s because we are not ready.
We simply have to stay where we are, and keep doing what we are doing.
The saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear” holds true.
But Why Do We Have To Learn Lessons?
Now, while it’s true that the universe knows what we need to learn, how, and from whom, why do we have to learn lessons in the first place?
Do they actually serve any purpose in the long run?
After all, as George Foreman puts it: You live and learn. Then you die and forget it all.
Is this true? Do we learn and then forget everything when we die?
Personally, I have a hard time accepting this.
If nature, the universe, or the divine—whatever we choose to call it, knows what we need to learn, and supplies us with the perfect teachers when we are ready, why would it provide the learning and then wipe it all clean when we die?
Does it seem logical that the same creator who instilled an innate beauty, intelligence and harmony in nature and its laws, would decide that the life of humans, the most evolved of all the species, ends in a pointless void?
The world is a cosmos, not a chaos. There are laws that govern the movement of everything in the world; enlightened master, Swami Chinmayananda reminds us.
Our lives cannot be without purpose and meaning. The lessons must continue when this life ends.
In fact, we might consider that they span many lifetimes.
What Is The Goal Of The Lessons?
If we live many lives and the learning carries over from lifetime to lifetime, what is the ultimate goal of all the lessons?
Vedanta, the spiritual science of life gives us the answer—It tells us that the learning ends when we rediscover our own blissful, true Self.
The Self is the spiritual essence within us that is the source of infinite bliss and fulfillment. It is what we are all really seeking.
But, not realizing that true happiness is to be found inside, we look for it outside. (Read: True Happiness is INSIDE—really?)
So long as we are content with gaining temporary (this-life only) joys that the world provides us, we will not be ready to turn our attention within.
The Guru—The Spiritual Teacher
The best students of life are the ones who are ready and willing to learn.
They are the ones who are no longer looking for worldly gains and solutions, but are seeking answers to the bigger questions of life, and for inner fulfillment.
These serious seekers have faith that the universe will bring them the answers. They become hungry for a guru to teach and guide them.
The word “Guru” is a Sanskrit word that is broken down into two root words – gu and ru. Gu means “darkness” and ru means “light.” The guru is one who removes the darkness of our ignorance by bringing the light of knowledge into our lives.
The true guru is a spiritual teacher and inner guide. He is the enlightened master who has gone deep within himself in meditation and realized the bliss of his true Self.
He comes into our lives to teach and guide us to the same realization that he has gained.
Maturing Through Lifetimes
But, Self Realization does not come easily, and neither are we actively seeking it.
Most of us do not have the required quietude of mind to live a life of meditation, go within and realize our spiritual nature.
We are still preoccupied with worldly excitements and concerns. Our minds contain many worldly desires, negative emotions, fear, doubts, attachments and expectations that disturb our inner peace.
This is where our teachers come in. They take us to the next level in our learning.
Just as we outgrew the little toys of our childhood, gradually, in this lifetime and in others, we will begin to mature and gain qualities such as greater discernment, control of the mind and senses, forbearance, equanimity and faith.
As we ripen, the true guru appears to guide us.
Journey To Our Own True Self
We are spiritual beings on a journey to our own true Self.
Nature provides us with the perfect teachers that we need to help us in this evolutionary journey in consciousness.
The learning continues until the final goal is reached.
Like this post? Sign up for the free fortnightly Spiritual Solutions Newsletter and receive the latest articles, news and updates in your email inbox!
Interesting post. You write rather well. If the teacher is to help us improve our understanding in the path of spiritual awakening, then this begs the question why were we all thrown here in this gross creation in the first place ? Put it another way – What was the purpose for the creation of this universe ?
Thanks George! You ask an insightful question.
The spiritual masters of Vedanta tell us that finding the answer to the purpose of creation is not as important as to seek out the divine Self in our own hearts. When we rediscover our true spiritual nature, the world and all its joys and sorrows will disappear like a dream that fades away when we wake up. There is no point asking why the dream elements exist, or why they are the way they are, because they are not intrinsically real—they dissolve away once we wake up. So too, we should direct our efforts to gain knowledge of our true nature. Then all questions will be answered, they tell us.
I once went to listen to spiritual master speak to a large audience. Someone asked him the same question you have posed. He answered by asking the questioner, ”If you witness a terrible road accident and find the driver bleeding and critical condition inside, would you sit down with a note pad and begin asking him: “How did this happen? Why did you crash into the tree? Have you been drinking? Are the brakes working? etc. etc. No, you would immediately call 911 and do what you can to stop the bleeding. He’ll die if you don’t tend to his urgent need.”
The master continued: “We are like the victim – bleeding and suffering the pangs of our worldly existence. There is no time to waste! Why are here? Why are we suffering? Why was the world created in the first place?.. The need to know the answers is not urgent. What’s important is to stop the bleeding — Strive to gain spiritual knowledge, grow, evolve and rediscover our true identity. Waking up from our dream-like existence is the REAL work we are here to do.”