Spiritual Masters - Chapter 2 of THE WAY: A Small Book of Wisdom
Updated: Jun 26, 2022
Copyright © 2020 Oliver Bardwell
The teachings of a spiritual master ignite the fire for love and wisdom within us and serve as a road map to attaining self-realization. - Oliver
Christ, Enoch, Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Shiva, Shakti, Patanjali, Lao Tzu, enlightened beings, illumined saints and sages, spiritual masters, and teachers—there are too many to name. Every age and culture have their spiritual teachers and messengers. We are taught about the ones that our culture or society is aware of, and upon whose lives and teachings our religions are built. But because there are multitudes of souls—spanning thousands of years and the far reaches of the globe—who have suffered, and are still suffering and aching for spiritual understanding, there is a need for many loving beings and spiritual teachers.
Much can be said about the unity of all religions: the parallels between what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount and in the Eight-Fold Path and the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism, the commonalities in what Krishna and Jesus both taught about loving God. It’s in the common themes and teachings of all great faiths that we can find spiritual truth and begin to understand our brothers and sisters who practice the different religions of the world.
I once participated in a symposium on world peace in Denver, Colorado. I believe there were representatives from most of the major religions around the globe. They were all there discussing how the commonalities of our spiritual practices could bring us all together and help us to overcome our cultural differences. It was inspiring to witness spiritual leaders from all different backgrounds supporting each other and expressing ideas of peace and compassion—ideas that should be the theme and practice of all religions and religious leaders. We should be building bridges between ourselves and our brothers and sisters of different faiths.
When we learn to look past rituals and manmade religious dogma—which have, at times, come to hide the true spiritual teachings of the enlightened beings at the root of our religions—we begin to uncover the one spiritual teacher whose light and wisdom shines through it all.
Practice: Find a spiritual being or a teacher whose message resonates with you. If you have a religion that you currently practice and already feel an affinity with its messiah or prophet, try to develop a personal relationship with them. I mentioned in the dedication that there were times in my mother’s life when she felt Christ standing right beside her, sending her strength, peace, and love. I’ve felt this too, and you can feel it as well.
Once, when I was preparing for a difficult mediation, I prayed to Christ to be with me, to protect me and help guide me through the trials of the day. I prayed that he would help everyone involved to come to a resolution, and he did. He was there next to me. I felt his presence and peace in every moment. The mediation lasted over eight hours, and the opposing attorney had no intention of coming to an agreement. My counsel couldn’t believe how calm and unmoved I was throughout the proceedings. Even the mediator was amazed. By the end of the day, my counsel was exhausted, and our mediator was exasperated with the other attorney. I never once felt tired or upset. Even while under attack, I was able to remain calm and centered. My friend and brother Christ was there with me, with his hand on my shoulder. I knew that it would work out. Much to everyone’s surprise, both sides came to an amicable agreement and entered into a temporary order that was beneficial to everyone involved. When we finally left for the day, I felt refreshed and at peace.
Think of your spiritual teacher as your loving father or mother, or as your older brother or sister—as someone who can guide you along your spiritual journey, whose love and knowledge can help light your way. Study their teachings. Make them a part of your everyday life. Talk to them in prayer, commune with them in meditation, and know that they are always available to you.
When the world cries out
A master comes
One who has conquered themselves and destroyed the ego
One free from desires
One who has seen through the illusion
Who has transcended this world and the worlds beyond
Who has escaped the cycle of death and rebirth
They fully reside in the Kingdom of Heaven
Emanating love, light, peace, and compassion
Their message is one of love and hope
They are an example of who we are meant to be
Seek one of these lights
Let their teachings shine upon you
Illuminating the way through the darkness
To the wellspring of all light
In the family of God
When one brother or sister
Finds the way back to our mother and father
They will always return to show us the way
And when the world pulls you from the path
When there seems to be only darkness
Take shelter in the love and teachings
Of those who have gone before.