Many spiritual seekers - particularly men it seems, but not solely - strive for the time that they too can be the teacher; when they can claim to have achieved the perceived accolade of being Enlightened and of being 'The Master', and be able to teach others from that position.
I too felt this pull, for many years, as I sat in the audience at Barry Long's talks, thinking that one day that would be me up there. In fact, probably the only thing that prevented me from setting myself up as some sort of teacher during that time, even if I refrained from claiming Enlightenment itself, was Barry's repeated warning that people should find a real Master to teach them the truth and not one of these phoney-masters. I certainly did not want to be a phony-master, so I would wait, regardless of how long it took.
However, once the searching was over and I was beginning to live in the state that I had longed for, and I began to teach, I found the drive to teach was diminishing. Possibly all that kept it going initially was the habitual belief that is was the right thing to do and what I had wanted.
After a few small meetings, the first thing to be done was to set up was the website; followed by the arranging of a few public talks; then the recording of a couple of CDs; and then the writing and publication of the first book. It would seem that progress was good. But the above was all in addition to our regular jobs and amazingly would soon become a bit of a chore at times - not least of all the editing of talks to put on to CDs.
And what is my feeling about this now, at the start of 2008, not far off 35 years old and having been in the state known as Enlightened (amongst other names) for nearly 5 years, and having published two books (with a third on the back-burner), created 4 CDs (with a 5th in progress), and given many public talks?
I ask the above now because I have come across many people of the type Barry referred to as phoney-masters, who have either already set themselves up as spiritual teachers or have expressed an interest in doing so, and yet are by no means Enlightened (even though sometimes one will say they are, only to come back some weeks later to say they are not; then they are again, and then they are not, as is the way when gong deeper into the truth - until one actually becomes it).
This has given rise to me looking at my own position with regards to teaching, and I saw that it almost no longer exists at all. What does exist though is an openness to share good news and to assist others where I am able, with almost anything, and the teaching is only a very small part of that. Other examples include: having gained quite a lot of experience with computers over the last few years, with setting up websites, writing, and fixing software and hardware issues on our own pc, I have since enjoyed helping family and friends with the same issues on their own pcs; as well as the setting up of websites for small businesses who have looked after us well and are not so IT literate. We also keep tropical fish and have done so for many years, and if I am able to share with another how to keep fish healthy, or if I am able to introduce a great new time-saving product into our local fish shop as happened recently, then that I also enjoy every bit as much as teaching about the truth.
The point is that I do not consider myself to be 'a Teacher', except when I am teaching. In fact the teaching itself has taken a backseat for some months while I have got on with everyday living. It's just that it brings everything back to me, in the sense of remembering what I was like, when I get emails and see notices saying that people who I know are not Enlightened are trying to teach others; and some even in a formal capacity having set themselves up as 'real' teachers or Masters. In the grand scale of things, it doesn't really matter, as all is right, but it would seem ironic that once one really is qualified to teach the Truth, often the need to teach diminishes to the point that one may no longer do so.
We are all able to talk from our own experience and share what we have learnt with others, on any subject, and that can be a good thing. Nevertheless, as hard as it can be to find (and identify) a truly Enlightened person who is willing to teach and who is accessible, and as different as their approaches and methods may be, I suggest it is well worth taking the time to seek out someone who truly is Enlightened – living this as a constant state of being and not talking about some experience that once happened to them. At least then you are hearing the truth in its purest form. Otherwise you have a wannabe or phoney-master who will never be able to give you the truth with the same authority or level of experience and Self-Knowledge. It will only be a partial knowledge or insight and not the direct experience of actually BEING the living Truth.
I suppose that is why I still offer to teach. As easy as it would be to withdraw to a little house in the country and live the rest of my life in the piece and quiet; not bothering to try to teach anybody anything (after all, all is right and everybody gets there in the end), there are so few truly Enlightened people on the planet (and even fewer living in the west and able to explain in a western way; and fewer still who followed a method so able to teach that), if I was to not teach, it would leave seekers with no alternative but to go to the non-Enlightened people for direction. Thus you would have ‘The partially sighted leading the blind’. (Either that, or people would be forced to read the works of dead Masters from other countries and which were translated centuries ago).
So, if you truly want to know what Enlightenment is, go to a truly Enlightened person. And if you want to know how to do it, go to an Enlightened person who did it.
I will continue to offer to help as long as I am able.