Life is the only teacher
Excerpts from the book ‘As It Is’ by Tony Parsons.
Question: There have been enlightened masters who have had great charisma and who've also been capable of magic, manifestation and so on. People have reported very powerful physical, emotional and mental experiences not only in the master’s presence, but even thousands of miles away. What’s that all about?
Tony Parsons: [...] It’s about someone who has a lot of charisma and the gift of manifestation or magic. It’s about nothing more than anything else of any relevance inside the wheel of life. Someone recently told me that she looked into the eyes of a so-called master and vanished for a moment. But if it meant anything, why was she still asking questions? Nothing of any relevance is happening here with these phenomena that is any different or more liberating than selling hamburgers in the market place. The difficulty arises when people believe that these kind of events somehow vindicate some sort of personal enlightenment... they then also come to revere these people, and this creates a schism. They see these apparently magnificent beings and immediately come to believe that they can never attain such a level of importance. This is another way in which awakening is avoided. It is of course the infinite expression again wishing to have this experience, but so is my response to this question, and so is your sitting there and hearing it. [...]
[...] What we are talking about here today is the ordinary and the incredibly breathtaking magnificence of the ordinary. It is only ever and always simple, seemingly unremarkable and yet we pass it by and look for magic. Immediately, here, is the seeing of what we are. If there is a need in people to see magic there will always be magicians to fulfill that need, but none of this is relevant to awakening. [...]
[...] So what do we look for in a teacher?
Someone who gives you absolutely nothing and leaves you feeling helpless. Then it is possible that you are left only with what is. If someone tells you that there’s something that you can do or there is a certain way that you can be in order for awakening to happen, they are simply feeding your own avoidance.
What do you mean by that?
We all have a deep longing and a deep fear of the discovery of what we are, and the mind devises any way it can to avoid this discovery. The most effective way it avoids awakening is to seek it. When there begins to be an opening up to the revolutionary possibility that is being communicated here, then the mind sees this as a threat. I am finding with some people that for a time their strongest fears arise and they feel they want to run away or try to do something about being overwhelmed by those fears. This can be a pivotal period, and often escape routes are sought.
Some who hear this message will move away at some point to find a teacher who seems to be giving them something... a process or way of being such as transcending thought, vanquishing the ego, being honest, being moral, and so on. Others will also be very attracted to those who will offer to help them attain something they call enlightenment. Usually these teachers imply that in some way or other they are especially unique, and they will often act in such a way as to create a dependency in the follower. All of this personalized teaching is irrelevant to awakening, but it intrigues and satisfied the mind enormously, for a while. [...]
[...] Is a guru needed at all?
Life is the only guru. Everything that has so far happened for you is your teaching and is absolutely appropriate for your awakening. At this moment it is sitting in this room and hearing these words and possibly allowing them to go deeply inside. It is the seed that is scattered and drops onto fertile or infertile ground. You are ready to hear when you are ready to hear. You don’t need anything except that which you have. isn't that wonderful? So don’t get worried about what you need or don’t need. All is provided. Let go and rest in that which is and you will surely meet the beloved and rediscover your original nature. [...]
[...] How can you recognize a real or true guru?
You can’t. You can however come to see that there is no such thing as the truth, there is only what is, as it is right now. Whoever you meet along the way, that’s how it’s meant to be. If you sit with someone who appears to be a great master, but speaks from ignorance, that is the infinite expression. If you listen to someone who is awakened and speaks with clarity, that is also the infinite expression, but there’s no guarantee that you will hear. For some people they feel the need to be with somebody who seems to be very special and magical and important. I would say seek out a teacher who gives you nothing at all, no hope, no method, no personal offer to take you there, because of course there isn't anywhere to go. Look for someone who destroys all of your belief systems and who is always throwing you back onto what is, right here. Any teaching that advises you that you need to be serious or honest or purified or changed through some process, is simply not relevant. I have met people who have been with very powerful eastern teachers and who have had many so-called spiritual experiences. These people have considerable difficulty in accepting and living with the idea of the divine being in the ordinary. They still seek the excitement of these so-called spiritual experiences, and have very little time for the idea that a single footstep could be miraculous. As a consequence these people are often a bit lost in the ordinary world, and still look for the extraordinary wherever they can.[...]
[...] But isn't enlightenment an extraordinary thing?
No, not at all, that’s the point. Enlightenment is our natural and ordinary way of being. In comparison with separation, awakening is extraordinary. Suddenly there is no longer a feeling of alienation. Nothing in particular changes in one’s life except the perception of everything. [...]
[...] What is the seeker/teacher relationship?
Again there isn't one. In awakening there is no relationship because relationship implies two apart who have some kind of agreement to be with each other. If the so-called teacher is no longer invested in separation, and has moved beyond the illusion of self-hood, then who can relate? What is seen in that form by the seeker is a freedom, a spaciousness, a celebration which resonates. This is only a recognition of what the seeker already is. You are the light, simply rest in that and celebrate your natural birthright. [...]
[...] How did your teacher help you?
I have never had a teacher, or seen anyone as a master. I knew when I was a kid that life must be the teacher. I prefer the word invitation. This was confirmed when walking across the park. [...]