Spirituality does not require that you work hard toward achieving a result in the future as much as it requires you to be fully present, sincere, and committed now, with absolute honesty and a willingness to uncover and let go of any illusion that comes between you and the realization of Reality.
Therefore, spirituality does not have to do with time or what can be achieved in time; it has to do only and always with the eternal present. Aspiration is not so much a matter of the mind as of the heart, in that it is a reflection of what you cherish, love, and value most. You do not need to be reminded of what you truly love, only of what you do not love. And what you actually love is most truly reflected in your actions, not in what you feel, think, or say.
When aspiration lines up with unconditional follow-through and love, it becomes a very strong force in the universe. Only then are we unified and one-pointed enough for our aspiration to survive the winds of folly, fate, and circumstance.
You should never abdicate your authority. This means that you take full responsibility for your life and never forfeit it over to someone else. There is no such thing as riding the coattails of an enlightened being to enlightenment itself. A failure to understand this can lead (as so many have been led) to cultish fanaticism, fundamentalism, magical thinking, disappointment, disillusionment, and/or spiritual infancy.
While it is understandable that many people project their unresolved parental issues, relationship issues, authority issues, sexuality issues, as well as God issues onto their spiritual teacher (and are sometimes encouraged to do so by unscrupulous spiritual teachers), it is essential to understand that a spiritual teacher’s role is to be a good and wise spiritual guide as well as an embodiment of the Truth that he or she points toward.
While there may be deep respect, love, and even devotion to one’s spiritual teacher, it is important not to abdicate all of your authority over to your spiritual teacher or project all divinity exclusively onto them. Your life belongs in your hands, not someone else’s. Take responsibility for it.
There is a fine line between being truly open to the guidance of a spiritual teacher and regressing into a childish relationship where you abdicate your adulthood and project all wisdom and divinity onto the teacher. Each person needs to find a mature balance, being truly and deeply open to their spiritual guide without abdicating all of their authority.
The same can be applied to a spiritual teaching. A spiritual teaching is a finger pointing toward Reality; it is not Reality itself. To be in a true and mature relationship with a spiritual teaching requires you to apply it, not simply believe in it.
Excerpted from ‘The Way of Liberation’. Adyashanti is an American spiritual teacher and author from San Francisco Bay Area