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Needing The Love Of A Spiritual Teacher

click photo for a free psychic reading at PsychicAccess.comThe love of a spiritual teacher is not human love and this is often misunderstood in our Western culture. Many people are drawn to spirituality because they are profoundly lonely. For those looking for the love of a teacher, you can count on that loneliness to be a profoundly unconscious desire to be connected to the Self and to Spirit.

On a dangerous note, this is how cult leaders thrive, by preying on those who don’t realize they are seeking spiritual love, and by offering a manipulative human love. Human love can never fill the gaping hole, and because cult leaders tend to be sociopaths, it can take years for cult followers to wake up. By then there will be a great deal of damage control needed in order to heal.

What is too often under-reported, and perhaps even more prevalent, are the smaller encounters among the modern spiritual or New Age community. Some self-proclaimed teachers gather admirers to heal their own unconscious neediness. Their equally sad and lonely followers become trapped on the flypaper of these people with some or other talent. Talent does not guarantee that someone is working on their own life path journey. Too many of these self-appointed gurus do not have any daily practice of their own. Few of them are educated in the fundamentals of human psychology or physical health, neither are some of them living a balanced life themselves.

The worst case scenario with ‘falling in love’ with a spiritual teacher is the danger that this ‘love’ can easily turn sexual. Therefore, some followers even become flirtatious with their teachers. This has made it almost impossible for true Tantric practices to be practiced in the West. Too often those who participate in modern Tantric work, which is often the only way to truly and deeply heal extreme sexual abuse in childhood, tend to confuse this sexual energy work with love. And when the love does not crystallize, they then accuse the Tantric practitioner of rape or sexual misconduct. It is a shame to have lost access to Tantric work in so many places, because of the emotional confusion of some seekers.

We are unhappy because we think that love is something we require from someone else ~ Arthur Japin

On slightly more benign levels, lonely people seeking love can get confused about what to expect when working with a spiritual teacher. And lonely teachers can easily cave into the neediness of others, even when trying to resist. When this happens one of two outcomes can be expected. Either the teachers find themselves trapped in an endless round of hugs, love gestures, while longing for privacy and feeling like a fraud handing out ‘love’ like girl scout cookies. Or the teacher finally starts to set some boundaries and the student or client is horrified and emotionally retaliates. These scenarios typically end ugly.

There are a number of ways to address this potential before it manifests. Teachers need to keep their own life (especially their emotional life) in balance and need to continue to work on their own spiritual, emotional and physical health. For some, it would be best to not ‘hang out’ with students or clients, at least for a while, until boundaries are learned and practiced.

If you are a student, keep a lookout on yourself for signs of hero worship and notice if you are constantly seeking approval from your teacher. Are you overly concerned with receiving complements or special attention from a teacher? If so, you don’t have to leave, but do bring this up to your teacher, so the behaviors are brought into the light.

Look for a teacher that does not collect followers that seem to worship them. Students should fall in love with the spiritual practices being taught, rather than hero worshiping the teacher. Great teachers encourage students to leave, not stay, and to excel , not to worship the teacher for being amazing.

When you don’t feel loved, you will settle for feeling needed. The source of love is within you. Let it blossom. With every breath, you have everything you need ~ Michele Savauanah Zirkle

Excellent and balanced spiritual teachers model how to be in an amazing relationship with the Self and with Source (or whatever belief system one follows) and educate students how to love and accept themselves, rather than fill that hole for the student with endless complements, reassurances, motivational speeches, and endless encouragement. All of these things should be eventually internalized by students.

Students should be learning that a teacher loves the student enough to offer constructive criticism, so that students learn to grow and accept they are not perfect. It shows them through their behavior and actions that they are loveable with all their shortcomings and challenges. Authentic spiritual teachers are committed to soul evolution, not personality worship and they will love you no matter what your circumstances. However, they will not encourage hero worship, give superficial compliments to soothe your ego, or theirs, or necessarily make ‘huggy kissy’ faces to make someone feel good.

Great teachers refuse to accept adoration and consistently redirect that energy back to students, so they learn to not depend on external factors to define them, or build self-esteem. This includes complements or praise from a teacher. Notice, I said learns to not ‘depend on’ these factors. It does not imply never giving complements, or hugging, and so forth. It means maintaining a healthy balance.

The teacher has responsibility to keep the student-teacher relationship healthy. If a student keeps fishing for complements or favors, it is time to teach the student how to love themselves in a more concrete fashion.

Beware of fame; for when they come for you, they come not to give, but for to gain. Whoever is needed, wields the most power. Whoever is needy, seeks to wield that power ~ Justin K. McFarlane Beau

Sometimes students will say things like, “I am not good enough for you.” Or they might say, “If you want to kick me out, I understand.” These are examples of students trying to unconsciously manipulate the teacher into giving the student more and more complements and reassurances. It is up to the teacher to recognize and correct these behaviors, through teaching, and refusing to respond to the manipulations, rather than get sucked into an automatic response.

Needy teachers will usually respond emotionally and dish out ‘love’ because they too are missing a good relationship with the Self and need a student to love them, as much as the student needs them. Not healthy. Many spiritual teachers use their self-definition of being an ‘empath’ as their justification to not set, or even learn, boundaries. They hand out ‘love’ because they cannot handle the reactions that typically come with setting boundaries, or they cannot handle losing the unhealthy love of a student or client.

This is but a brief introduction to this topic. Please do not think this article fully addresses the issues of either of how to be a more balanced teacher, healer or student. But if this article strikes a chord with you, continue to research, read, and grow.

About The Author: Nonna

Nonna lives in Southern California, and is a professor of psychology and a teacher of psychic development, energy work and meditation, who has recently finished her PhD. She has been a counselor for both humans and animals for thirty years, removing energy blocks through her expertise in the spiritual arts. She also has numerous years of study and practice with classic psychological therapeutic models, family work, twelve-step processes, nutritional and body/mind/spirit healing, complementary, alternative, and quantum medicine. Nonna is brilliant at unearthing the gems in every client's soul and polishing them to a fine finish. To release your own soul's sparkle, contact Nonna at

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