Transpersonal Tidbits: Quick 10 point Guideline for the Descernment of Spiritual Teachers |

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March 27 by The Running Son


The false guru and his Divine Energy 2010 by frank waaldijk

10 point Guideline

for the Descernment of Spiritual Teachers

RFB: These 10 guidlines struck me immediately as an extremely valuable set of observations for sharpening individual discernment, written simply and concisely. It was introduced as having been written by a ‘friend’, and no further authorship details were given. While this list stood out, the source website contained other very helpful content and is worth a visit. The FULL post can viewed at:



Here is set of reasonable criteria suggested by a friend:


1. Popularity.

Teachers with the most visibility are generally the ones with the largest followings, which probably means that they are putting together a package for mass consumption — and thus something inoffensive and reinforcing of current beliefs rather than something that challenges us to wake up and find the truth.

2. Vocabulary.

Teachers who speak simply, using their own words, are more likely to be speaking from profound realization than are polished orators or wordsmiths. And if the speaker cites one document as bearing final authority, run the other way. This is a fanatic, not a Light-bearer.

3. Know-it-all.

A teacher who has an answer for every question may be a clever concept mechanic or engineer. Honest teachers don’t hesitate to admit to what they don’t know. On the other hand, if the teacher doesn’t demonstrate a conviction about knowing something for sure, then that person may still be mired in conceptual speculation.

4. Fearless.

A person who has died while living would be fearless, but not foolhardy, in the face of death. If a teacher evidences fear of death — or fear of speaking his mind plainly, or doesn’t know “whither” he goes at death, then it may be a case of the blind leading the blind.

5. Non-promoter.

Is the teacher interested in selling books, tapes, CDs, seminars, and so forth? In creating an organization that promotes products and beliefs? To be successfully marketed, the products have to appeal to a broad audience and thus have to be soothing rather than challenging. A real teacher is not out to make a big splash or to leave a monument to an illusory self.

6. Paradox.

If a teacher doesn’t exhibit a profound sense of paradox — of seeming contradictions that may nevertheless be true — then he may still be stuck in relativity. The true teacher has traveled “beyond opinion.” On the other hand, a clever impostor can hide behind paradoxical double-talk, so there’s no substitute for intuitional accuracy on the part of the seeker.

7. Understands the pervasive fooling of the mind by the mind.

True teachers understand the workings of the mind — by having arrived at a point of view superior to the mind. They are thus able to point at a solution beyond that of trying to find temporary peace or happiness within the mind.

8. Humor.

A humorless teacher is someone who takes himself seriously — which means he doesn’t know himself. A true teacher helps us see the apparent absurdity of the human condition and yet act in the face of it. On the other hand, if a teacher doesn’t take the pursuit of truth seriously, then he must not have found something of permanent value.

9. Love of truth.

A person who has discovered his true nature is probably someone who couldn’t settle for conventional beliefs and herd conditioning and thus was unwilling to stop short of total Truth. And having found it, he places no value higher than It.

10. No religion higher than friendship.

The flowering of the human condition is the impersonal friendship that transcends personal love, where two or more people are able to relax their ego-demands in favor of a larger good. If a teacher’s direction, either explicitly or through group pressure, is to split a person from friends and loved ones who don’t share the new paradigm, beware of brainwashing. On the other hand, the people we spend time with influence our lives, so we need to use discernment in our relationship with friends who may encourage behavior we’d like to move away from.




The Running Father Blog


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RFB editor Jim Aldrich, Joshua Tree CA 2013

RunningSon aka Jim Aldrich, Joshua Tree CA 2013 | This site is dedicated with the deepest gratitude to Dr. Cláudio Naranjo, whose writings gave me life.

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