Swami Kriyananda discusses how to relate to a spiritual teacher.
In my relationship with Master, I have found that I’m the most in tune with him when I don’t have the thought of what I’m getting from him, but dwell rather in the thought of what I’m giving to him. When with my whole energy I give him joy, appreciation, openness, service—in short, my very self—I receive from him the greatest energy and blessings.
It has nothing to do with pleasing his ego. Nor—obviously!—does he need my joy. It is rather that that open feeling in myself puts me onto that wavelength on which he himself functions, because his own energy is always directed toward giving, not taking.
If I can lift myself at least somewhat up to that giving level, rather than thinking only of gaining for myself, I am able to receive much more. On a lower, taking level I have found that his energy only trickles down slowly, as it were; I haven’t exposed myself to its full flow.
Perhaps the disciple also helps the guru, by giving him energy for the fulfillment of his mission. At any rate, the disciple certainly gains from what he gives to the guru. Even now, long after Master’s earthly life, I find that my highest attunement comes from thinking not in terms of my work, but rather of, “How can I do your work?”
But whenever I’ve allowed thoughts like these to come in: “What do I want?” or, “How am I going to grow?” or “What am I going to get out of it, because, after all, you’re there already, whereas I’m the one who needs to advance spiritually?”—I’ve always sunk to a lower level, and there has been no blissful inner flow. In self-giving, especially to Master, I have always gained the most, inwardly.
We must try, you see, but our self-effort must be directed primarily toward deepening our attunement with the guru—not as a person, but as a channel for the Infinite Lord.
In divine friendship