Who me? Yes, you. Deny it all you want, I’m here to tell you that you are a spiritual teacher.
Oh, I can hear your right now… you’re thinking “I’m no Billy Graham, Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Dalai Lama (or fill in the name that came to your mind). Those guys are spiritual teachers, not me.” Or, you might be thinking “how can I be a spiritual teacher? I’m not sure that I even believe in God.” You might even be conjuring up other objections.
Consider for a moment simply that you’re a teacher. We all are. We may not work in schools or teach classes, but by the very example that we set, we teach those around us. Consider the role of parents as they model behavior that their children learn. Consider your coworkers or your supervisors in some job from your career, and how you learned by watching their actions. Just as you have learned by watching others, others learn by watching you.
Now consider that you have a spiritual worldview. What? You have some concept of what God or Spirit is or is not. As you walk around in life, that concept molds your behavior whether you realize it or not. As we’ve written about previously, there are three major worldviews about God in our current culture. There is the traditional worldview that sees God as an external being such as an old man in the sky, who intervenes in our lives and judges us upon our death. There is the modern worldview that frequently denies there is a God seeing all the world is simply the interplay of matter and forces. Then there is the postmodern worldview that generally sees God or Spirit as an intelligent energy that permeates and connects everything. I suspect your view of God is a variation of one of these three worldviews.
Now as you go about your business each day, you may or may not think much about God or Spirit. But underlying your choices and actions are beliefs that are framed by this worldview. This is generally easy to see if you are overtly religious or spiritual as you may bring God or Spirit into the equation in your decisions. But even if you don’t believe in God or Spirit and hold to a strict materialist viewpoint, your actions model this belief by your attempt to manipulate physical life for personal gain.
So ultimately, we are all learners and we are all teachers. There are those who we consider our teachers, either formally through classes, books, etc., or informally, such as influential people whose behavior we emulate. We can all look in the direction of those from whom we learn and identify our teachers. What we may not see as easily are those who look in our direction for their guidance. I sort of envision it like a giant conga line, where we are moving forward in the manner of those in front of us yet not often thinking about those who are following us.
Many of us may be afraid to look behind and see who is there. Awareness of this fact brings with it responsibility. Are we being the teacher that we would desire? But denying that we have followers who learn from us doesn’t change the fact that they are there.
Mystic Joel Goldsmith writes “all shall be ministers in one form or another, not to serve as ministers of the church but to minister where they are: in business, court, in the classroom, showing forth that same spiritual integrity they expect of their ministers, imparting the same spiritual light, exemplifying the same Christ-like qualities that transform this world into heaven.” He calls us to claim this role.
So whether you deny it or not, you are a spiritual teacher. The question then becomes, how does that knowledge change how you show up in the world?
Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!