Getting Started with Spiritual Studies

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There are many good “spiritual teachers” and “gurus” in existence, but in order for someone to be a good spiritual teacher/guru, he/she must have inherent wisdom, be relatively free of biases and the tendency to push students into a dogmatic program of instruction, and have gone through his/her own extensive explorations leading to deep understanding of the topic he/she is claiming expertise.

Contrary to popular perception, the following don’t automatically make someone a good spiritual teacher: robes; beads; beards; long gray hair; a family history of healers or readers; a PhD, M.D., or other advanced traditional (or non-traditional) degree; charisma; a large following; a celebrity following.

The following do make someone a good spiritual teacher: recommendations/testimonials by people you trust; communicating relevant information clearly and simply; a method of teaching that persuades students to find their own answers; a humble disposition; being able to admit that the teacher is sometimes taught by the student; a commitment to constantly exploring and testing relevant theories and discarding those proven to be invalid; acknowledging that there are seldom “quick-fix” solutions  to life’s most important challenges; and freely referring the student to another teacher if he/she is unable to provide the student with what they seek.

All you really need is yourself, a desire to learn, and a sincere interest in the subjects you’re drawn to. You may be thinking you need a structured system to teach you (what you already know on a super-conscious level) because this is what most of us have been led to believe from traditional education systems. Not so.

If you are comfortable learning through self-study and experimentation, having someone point you in the right direction is a perfect start.

Start by meditating. This will help you to become centered and to be able to feel what is right for you in the exploration of your spirituality. You must be disciplined and practice meditating every day to fully benefit. Set aside time, at least 10 minutes to start, in the morning or evening. Don’t have time? Turn off the TV and avoid people who aren’t for your highest good.

Next, go to your local library or metaphysical bookstore and look for books that appeal to you. Through trial and error you’ll find what you need. It also helps to read the reviews for books on the subjects you like on The good books will be mentioned and recommended, but keep in mind people can potentially be biased or have an agenda when writing reviews. Also know that a best-selling book only means that it is popular, not that it automatically includes complete  truth and wisdom. Trust your intuition above all.

Copyright © 2005 Scott Petullo, Stephen Petullo

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