If you are one of the many people who have a hunger to learn and understand consciousness, the next step is finding someone to teach you. Depending upon where you live in the country, that can be easy or hard. You may not even know what you want to learn.
Here are some ways to unravel your ball of yarn to the right doorstep – things to do and things to be wary of:
Locating a teacher
On the most basic level – to locate a teacher in your community – ask anyone you know who is at all involved in alternative modalities. They will know someone whom you can contact and continue down the line until you find what you are looking for.
You can visit a health food store or alternative store and see if there are any free magazines there in which alternative practitioners are featured or advertise their classes – that gives you a start to investigate from.
You can ask the owners of these stores if they can recommend someone. For example: at Crystal Life, we keep a book in which practitioners have filed their calling cards, by modality. You can look through such a book and find places to start.
You can attend fairs and expos where practitioners come together to demonstrate their abilities. These include Body Mind Spirit Expos and Health Fairs.
You should just start somewhere – anywhere – and learn the basics, moving on as your ability to discern the lay of this new land improves. But – even at the very start – the nature of the teacher you choose to learn from is paramount.
Choosing from among teachers
Keep an open mind but don’t make any final decisions before you know the nature of the discipline and the teacher.
There are a wide variety of energy teachers today – with a lot of motives, and levels of expertise. Just like choosing a teacher in math or history – some are good, some are bad.
Choosing a teacher for an energy discipline is more complex because teaching about energy necessitates the transfer of energy between teacher and student as techniques are demonstrated and acquired. In these consciousness disciplines, there is a two way exchange: the teacher and the student have to agree that they wish to work together.
Because of this type of energy exchange, you need to check the character of your potential teacher. This is more important than if you want to learn something like history, where you and the teacher are focused on external facts. When you are learning an energy discipline such as reiki, massage, yoga and meditation – you are learning how to manage the flow of energy and need to take instruction directly from your teacher. So you have to check that your teacher is working from a good level of consciousness. Otherwise you start developing very bad habits you will have to unlearn later.
You can discern the nature of an energy teacher by watching how they interact with other students, and with their own family. A very, very big concern is if such a teacher is abusing their students. Being strict is not abuse – it is discipline. But sexual exploitation is a very real situation in our free American society. All too often a teacher selects one or several students with whom they have sexual encounters. This is the most basic form of abuse of power – a teacher abusing the awe of the student – and you should stay away from this type of teacher. This most basic level of disrespect is going to permeate their entire teachings, for it indicates a “grabbing” of the student’s energy for the teacher’s own pleasure, instead of a “guiding” of the student’s energy for the student’s own empowerment.
Energy Vampires and Bullies
Another more subtle type of energy teacher to avoid is one who is not in control of their own teaching environment, and who does not protect their students from incursions of other students or of negative energies in the universe. This indicates an imperfect teacher who can lead the student into serious difficulty. This is particularly important in the energy disciplines.
There are a lot of different types of energy in this vast universe. When you start exploring, you attract the attention of these life forms. The teacher is responsible for setting up an environment in which the student can safely learn. As the student learns, the teacher can roll back the protection so the student can safely advance. So check on the teacher very, very carefully. Do they incorporate one or more of the following methods of energy protection when starting and when finishing: centering, clearing of energy, opening and sealing of an energy field, invoking the presence of specific spirit guides, affirmations, prayers, rituals. All of these methods – and more – are used to create a safe protected field in which to learn.
You should feel comfortable throughout the learning experience with the teacher. This includes working with a teacher who can remain in control of the focus of the group’s efforts even in the presence of the bain of such a group – the unexpected visit to the class, or the joining into the group, of an individual who is clearly focused on negative energy, either consciously or unwittingly. This also includes dealing with so-called “energy vampires” and energy bullies.
This is a situation found throughout the liberal American community, which seeks to respect all views but which also has to counter the efforts of those termed “fundamentalists” who only want one view – theirs – to prevail. The energy teachers are responsible for working through this situation and controlling it so that all views are respected but the orientation of the class remains in place. This situation is a test from the universe for the teacher as well as a warning sign to the students. If you see that the teacher, over time, cannot or will not control this incursion of negative forces, find someone who can.
Choosing to Wait
A local hatha yoga teacher told us about one of her colleagues who openly stated that part of his reason for having a yoga studio was because he got his sexual pick of the women who attended – they were ripe for the pick because of the nature of his hands-on work with them adjusting poses, etc. (some yoga teachers choose not to touch the students at all, to avoid this situation)! Definitely a teacher to stay away from!
There is a classic yogic adage “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” This is true. But the universe also offers you a lot of choices as well. It will say to you, “Are you satisfied with this imperfect teacher, or are you going to hold out for a more appropriate teacher?” Patience, determination and persistence are often the first lessons an aspiring seeker must acquire, as they progress on their path. Finding and choosing the right teacher is the start of your lessons!
If you would like to know more about consciousness, we recommend Atala’s book We Are Not Alone: A Guidebook for Interdimensional Cooperation