~ A text by Irma ten Brink inspired by the work of Yoginâm ~
June 27, 2022
A relationship beyond all of your imagination
There are many different kinds of relationships. In this blog I would like to share with you a very special and quite unknown one.
I am talking about the relationship between the Beloved and the lover, the Master and the devotee, the Guide and the student, many names are given to this very special relationship. Here I choose the one closest to the language of western people, the Spiritual Guide and the student.
From my perspective this is the most beautiful relationship and yet the least understood.
In the West we only know the relation with a teacher and we project that knowledge on the relationship with a Spiritual Guide thinking it is the same, also because in our culture we just don’t have a reference to anything else.
However this is not very helpful and you will miss all extra benefits of the relation with the Guide if you keep looking at him as a teacher. A teacher has knowledge about certain things, he tries to teach you knowledge. This can be very beautiful and valuable but a real Spiritual Guide does something else. Or perhaps he does nothing and he needs nothing and that is his quality. His Guidance relates more to his state, from which the student can benefit, than to teachings.
I consciously use capital letters indicating for example the Spiritual Guide while writing the student with small letters. This does not indicate a hierarchy or inequality but rather different states. And by making the distinction it is clear the students want to move towards a different state. Also it indicates the nature of the Guide as being an instrument.
How it started
From the very beginning, now almost twenty year ago, I was aware of a certain alchemy happening every time I was in the presence of my Spiritual Guide Yoginâm. This presence can be in silence, while he is playing the harp, during a conversation or just in passing by. But also from a distance, by thinking about him, doing the Breath, asking inwardly for help, by writing an email to him, reading a text from his hand or listening to a recording of a former HarpMood. Fulfilling practical tasks, buying him a present or giving a donation, the alchemy is always there. And the more attention you give to all these different aspects and actively use them the stronger the transformative alchemy becomes.
Now is the Spiritual Guide doing all this? Is he creating a certain alchemy, doing something magical? I didn’t understand. Once I spoke about this topic with Yoginâm and he says he doesn’t do anything, he just responds to the question or wathever input as a normal daily activity. So what happens then? What is causing this alchemy that can transform just about anything?
If you aspire such a relationship it is good to realise you will have to bring life into this relationship yourself, then the Guide will reflect you back. The Guide has no needs or wants, he is in service, you are the one who needs something, longs for something and the Guide can help you find it and help you heal what needs to be healed to become more open and more whole and with that closer to your natural state, your authenticity.
The Guide, who also went through the same process, is because of his specific state of being as a clear mirror in which you are projecting yourself. All the different inputs you give into the relationship are ways to project yourself in that mirror and in that happening the alchemy is there which transforms you, it is something that happens naturally in openness. Sometimes you can really experience it, more often however you have no idea about what is happening in different more unconscious levels, you just find yourself changed somehow later on.
Bit by bit your transformations are making you a different person. You start projecting less and less and the mirror which at first was perceived by you in a troubled way becomes more clear. Eventually, because the mirror becomes clear, you start to see the real you, that which you are in Essence.
This all happens in reflection with the Guide being the mirror. Only a Guide, because of his state, can provide such a mirror, this is his task and this is what distinguishes him from a teacher or a therapist.
A Spiritual Guide is not a therapist
If you have serious psychological problems you need to work on them first before you are ready for a Spiritual path. The Guide has another purpose and is not a therapist. Being with a Guide is helping you let go of programmes that stand in the way of openness, this usually happens beyond the conscious field of understanding, you cannot grasp it. So instead of working with the problems you will have to learn to move your attunement towards trust instead of understanding which is often a form of control. When there are serious psychological problems letting go of this control can be too much or even become problematic.
A Spiritual Guide is a necessity for everyone seriously advancing on a Spiritual Path
All serious spiritual traditions underline this: when advancing on a Spiritual Path you need a Spiritual Guide who knows the path, can Guide you through and around the challenges and pitfalls and who gives you something to hold on to when everything else you knew and understood falls away like detrimental habitual programmes and a sense of control. You will learn to trust beyond understanding and enter the present moment. Advancing on the path without this very specific Guidance can even be dangerous.
Now you might think you have your inner Guide and this is enough, I hear this often, we all think “I can do this alone, I should, I need, I can do it myself now” etcetera but this is actually a dangerous thought. It is true, the Spiritual Guide ultimately leads you towards a stronger connection with your inner Guide but you need a long time, healing and Guidance to learn to hear, listen and recognise the difference between your inner Guide and everything else happening in your inner world. How do you know the difference between inner Guidance and ego controlled voices and visions however uplifting they can be? Only by checking your inner Guidance with a real Spiritual Guide, present in this world, can you learn the difference. Without this check you can easily fool yourself and even hurt yourself and others. Especially because the Spiritual Realm is unknown to you.
Only making use of a Spiritual Guide provides this alchemy I spoke of above and you need this alchemy to heal and unveil what we call Heart, the silent void from which all creation comes. When Heart is covered with veils one can never listen to an inner Guide, it only hears the ego needs and wants, one is slave of one’s own liking and disliking.
Just to be clear about something, there is nothing wrong with ego. Without it we are not able to live. Spirituality however is aiming at transforming the ego in such a way that it serves the whole which includes ourselves.
It is natural to build ego while growing up and those who were not able, because of (traumatic) circumstances or genetic causes, to build a healthy ego, are not ready for the Spiritual Path. They first have to build a healthy ego, meaning being able to live an adult and responsible life without serious psychological or psychiatric problems. Of course everyone has issues that still need to be healed, there just needs to be a certain stability for such a serieus path.
What can the Spiritual Guide do to help you?
To optimally make use of this relationship the Guide, like Yoginâm is doing, can provide you with tools. These can be meditation tools and an example of life ethics and a helpful way of thinking and experiencing. But he can also give you a specific task or provide ways for you to work together with other students within a certain framework in which all serve a higher purpose, this is a perfect means to transform yourself.
Yoginâm created this possibility by starting first the Asharum in Amonines, Belgium and later Asharum Nijar in Spain. Both built up from the ground and through this building and working together we transform ourselves simply because a higher goal is served instead of personal needs like detrimental attachments and programmes.
Usually there are customs when being around the Spiritual Guide.
Probably these, for Westerners, strange looking customs often give the idea the Spiritual Guide is worshipped. However nothing could be less the case.
These customs and rituals are mere ways to invite for example a kind of humbleness, or as they also call it in some traditions, a spiritual poverty. This is a knowing in a deep and true sense that you don’t know anything, a state of surrendering to Totality (which we cannot know or understand).
Other customs invite gratefulness and respect. Such attitudes are needed to open yourself and to enter the open states of love, awe and wonder. Therefore the customs around the Spiritual Guide are always there to serve you and not the Guide. He is unattached to such customs, often they are even uncomfortable.
Even when the student serves the Guide with certain tasks, eventually he serves himself through the service which is the tool to transform oneself.
Also the Spiritual Guide does not or at least should not desire being worshipped because this would be in the way of true, pure Guidance. It would ripple the mirror let’s say and prevent the students eventually from discovering their true Essence.
It would actually make the student dependent instead of independent, in true Spirituality this dependency can never be the aim. It is the task of the Guide to prevent this from happening, especially with those who are programmed in their lives in such a way that they are actually longing for this dependency, a true Guide will recognise this and help the students stand on their own feet by helping them to transform these programmes. Ultimately the aim of the Guide is to help you find real inner freedom, meaning freed from attachments and disturbing programmes and to build a strong relationship with Totality in which all is sharing.
And perhaps this is what distinguishes a real Guide from profiteers who are out for power and prestige and who depend on the dependency of their students.
How do you know you found the right Spiritual Guide?
There is a wise saying from the old traditions: “It is not you who will find the Spiritual Guide, it is the Guide who will find you”. This is what happened to me too and I hear it all around me.
This means you can only prepare yourself, listen to life as best as possible and when you are ready the Guide will call you in his very mysterious and wondrous way. Then all you have to do is say yes and embrace it realising how lucky you are.
Many go to the East in search for the Guide but will not necessarily find him. I also wanted to go East, however life took me by the hand and sent me to America to prepare myself only to be found by him shortly after and very nearby in my own country.
How do I give form to this relationship?
Of course this is a very intimate question and also you have to discover your way, your form because no two relationships are the same. This is also because of my ego constellation, who I am and how my ego was formed. The programmes and genes that made me what I am today are unique. Consequently the relationship is unique as well.
What I can say is this; mostly I try to visit my spiritual Guide Yoginâm as often as possible, I serve as much as possible, regularly I ask for a private HarpMood, one of his beautiful means of sharing. Not because I have a problem but to connect with him and improve my attunement which is making me a better person, able to better serve the whole. When Guidance seems to come from within but there is doubt I double check with Yoginâm through email. When I go through something for which I feel a need to share I contact him, when there are (spiritual) questions I ask Yoginâm. When I have a difficult time my focus is on Yoginâm, I read and reread his books and texts, I go to retreats, in the beginning years I received regular healings, I am using his tools every day and so on….
Of course there is no right or wrong way, only your way. You have to find a way that works for you and there are as many ways as there are people. I hope this inspires you to find your own way too.
Once upon a time, there was a famous Sufi Master in Baghdad. He had the habit of taking a daily walk through the busiest part of the city with a huge turban on his head, which was covered all around with jewels and gold jewelry. He wore a large cloak with the most beautiful and expensive gold brocade.
He was a very famous Master. One day a spiritual seeker came from another city and wanted to meet him. He arrived at the Master’s house just as he was returning from his daily walk. As usual, he was fully decked out with the turban and cloak. This confused the visitor quite a bit.
That same evening after the meal, he was given the opportunity to speak to the Guide. He said, “I’m glad to see you, but I’ve always been under the impression that the Sufi Masters are pursuing a simple lifestyle. When I saw you walking today, I was confused. Surely this is not an appropriate behaviour for a Master!”
To this the Master replied, “You have come here because you want to learn from me. In your words, however, there is a condemnation of my behaviour. That is why I cannot be your Master and I ask you to leave tomorrow.”
“But I don’t want to send you away without helping you a little: Everyone who comes to a Master can benefit from the loving energy of the Master. Through the unconscious exchange of this loving energy, people change, often without realising it themselves.”
“I wear this gaudy turban and this ostentatious cloak every day, so that as many people as possible on the street will see me and look at me. This allows as many people as possible to be touched by perhaps a little bit of the loving energy. And through all the little bits together, they very gradually become better people.”
“If you condemn my behaviour, even if only a little bit, then you close the door and you cannot receive my loving energy. That’s why I can’t take you on as a student.”
Was this blog helpful for you? Then you might also like the blog ‘living the natural state’.