During the mid 1960s I was involved in developing management tools, such as psychologically-oriented groups to facilitate cooperative efforts between participants on various projects. Back then groups were not so common they were to become in the 1970s and 1980s, and the concept of deep sharing and of trust of strangers was unfamiliar. Many of the participants remained aloof and relatively uncooperative in group activities. For the life of them, they could not let go of self-protective attitudes of withholding and fear of being taken advantage of. We named these people “counterdependent,” they feared dependency beyond all reasonable caution. This attitude is based strictly on fear, fear of being taken advantage of used, controlled or abused.
Even some spiritual teachers held or hold this view of “beware of the guru,” he will use you and throw you away, such as Krishnamurti. When you have a guru, believe in him or her, follow him or her, you are at the short end of a power struggle and you can only be hurt. There is no advantage in such a relationship. If you believe in a guru, you must think they have something you do not, that they are superior to you in some way, and you hope by staying close to get what they have that you lack. This is an unbalanced power relationship.
This counterdependent attitude comes with a credo—you are already perfect, complete, and only have to realize that for yourself; no teacher is necessary or desirable. The teacher, the guru, has nothing you do not have.
THIS IS EXACTLY TRUE: THE GURU HAS NOTHING YOU DO NOT ALREADY HAVE. BUT THERE IS A DIFFERENCE:
The “true” guru has spent years, decades studying him or herself, turning their attention inwards, exploring the inner subjective worlds that one becomes aware of only through long meditation practice, self-inquiry, Kundalini practices, love, devotion and surrender to a guru, working with Subtle Body energies, and have had basic awakening experiences revealing who they are as other than the body/mind.
Yes, everyone has their own Self always available, and they act from that position every day, but very few are aware of their primary identity as that Consciousness, that Self, or as the Absolute witness.
Yes, you can find those base states within of Self, of the Absolute, of emptiness, of the incredible energy and bliss of your own sentience, of your Lifeforce, but it is so much easier to spend time with a teacher whose own energy you feel all the time, and which can “take” you to deeper levels within yourself by a kind of “resonance,” as well as by using methods like meditation, yoga or self-inquiry.
Unfortunately, those who hold onto only their own truth, almost always stay on the surface of consciousness, in the “Now,” which is the clear field of body/mind/world awareness of everyday life. They do not become aware of the coming and going of such nowness, beingness itself, for you have to stand back from “present beingness” in order to watch it come and go.
Once you can stand back from the comings and goings of Consciousness, you see that it is not just clear, brilliant, nowness, and you can make many, many discoveries about your true nature as Consciousness and that which is prior to consciousness, and thereby destroy your fundamental identification with your individuality and your body/mind.
If you search spiritual literature, there are very few “great teachers,” world teachers that were self-realized without the benefit or “dependence” on other spiritual teachers.
Those who realized without teachers are very rare, like Robert Adams or Ramana Maharshi. But fear of being used and abused keeps many from going to a teacher (or a psychotherapist).
The “correct” way to look at a teacher is as a source of love and knowledge, love and knowledge which you already are as the Self you, but which you do not yet realize.
You see, if you take the position there is nothing to realize, you are already complete, this is only an intellectual understanding that you have borrowed from other counterdependent teachers who glorify and teach counterdependence and staying in the Now rather than going deeper. For if you believe that the Now, the beingness, is all that there is, you cannot easily go deeper.
Look, if we want to learn how to play tennis or golf, do we learn best by just going out alone each day and playing by ourself? Or do we learn by watching videos of golf and tennis teachers, golf-masters so to speak? Then, if we really want to learn, we go to a professional who can teach in a month that which you could not learn on your own in a year.
The same with any other athletic endeavor, we learn from masters, and the best boxers, skiers, pilots, drivers, really submit to a teacher to show them all that they can learn from them, and at that point, they can innovate techniques their teacher did not know and become teachers themselves.
The same is true of psychotherapy. Do we try to do self-psychotherapy ourselves, or do we actually go to a therapist and submit to that potentially abusive relationship? Most counterdependent people will not go into therapy and instead read self-help books, and become filled with self-help book knowledge.
Again, the same if you want to learn advanced mathematics, biology, physics, or cosmology: you go to college teachers because they have the knowledge you seek.
Again the same if you are ill: you go to a doctor who has knowledge of your condition and appropriate treatment. Of course some doctors abuse the doctor/patient relationship as do university professors, but you cannot damn the seeking process because it is potentially abusive.
You see, what you get from a guru is to realize that which you already are by listening to what that teacher says about how to find yourself, which is love, knowledge, and bliss.
We go to energy healers, faith healers to be healed by energies, faith, or love, whether they actually do the healing to us, or open a way for us to heal ourselves. The role of teacher in this case is to be a trigger of self-healing and self-knowledge. Do we honor the healer any less because they teach us how to heal ourselves?
Yes, there is nothing the guru or healer has that you do not already have complete in yourself EXCEPT KNOWLEDGE OF YOUR OWN COMPLETENESS, YOUR FUNDAMENTAL IDENTITY AS BLISS, KNOWLEDGE AND EXISTENCE, AS ENERGY, SENIENCE AND THE LIFE-FORCE, and this is very difficult to learn except through someone guiding you through exercises, meditation, self-inquiry, or techniques to raise energies such as to awaken Kundalini or healing energies.
Thus the spiritual guru is there to facilitate you knowing yourself at a deeper level than you will achieve on your own during any reasonable period of time. Paraphrasing Jan Esmann, yes you can walk from Paris to Berlin on your own, but it would be much easier to take a train or airplane, and you can regard the guru as your travel agent.