say no to “gurus”

The Pali word kalyāna-mittatā describes the Buddhist concept of spiritual friendship. I believe strongly that a teacher is a spiritual friend first and foremost; someone who has been down a certain path and can share from their own lived experiences.

If a teacher styles themselves as a guru, a savior, a rockstar, a shaman, or a prophet (even jokingly) . . . run!

There remains, in some long-standing traditions, a precedent for guru culture.

When choosing a teacher or a mentor on your spiritual path, I strongly encourage you to look for someone whose energy you resonate with, who meets you where you are, and who brings out the wholeness that already exists inside of you. 💓If a teacher implies in any way that you are broken and in need of fixing (such as suggesting that you “better yourself”) then they are probably not connected to their own primordial goodness.

We cannot create wholeness, we cannot earn worthiness, and we can’t hate ourselves into a version of ourselves that we can love. We can simply reconnect to the wisdom and beauty inside of all of us. As Marianne Williamson puts it, we are all lamps; a connected teacher is one who is plugged in and emanating their own light. Make sure your teacher is plugged in.

To that end, when choosing a teacher, ensure that they embody the precise qualities that you are seeking in your own life. If you desire traditional wisdom, do they seem to have found ways to apply ancient teachings to their own modern life? If it’s mind-body balance you want to work towards, do they have a spark, a zest, a vitality that indicates that they’ve managed to find balance themselves? Whatever it is that you are hoping to learn about, you deserve the help of someone whose life is an example of this quality (by the way, “their life” is not “their Instagram feed.”) 

To put it another way:

If they haven’t been where you want to go, don’t ask them for directions! 

Whether you are just beginning on your path, or are both a student and a teacher, I wish you peace, love, and strength. I love you and I am so proud that we are both walking our own paths. Nothing could be more important.

Your spiritual friend,

Liza

ps. Although I am a teacher, I try each day to embody the beginner’s mind; I consider myself a student first and foremost. I believe that by holding the seat of the student, I can continue to learn and grow for the benefit of myself and others. To that end, you will find my certifications, formal training, and always ongoing education listed below. If you would like to explore the possibilities of working with me, feel free to see how I work.

 

Liza’s certifications + education

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MNDFL’s Meditation Teacher Training 300 hour Certification

2017

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Shambhala Buddhism’s Warrior in the World Multi-Course Program

Began in 2011; graduated and took vows in 2017

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Reiki Practitioner

Levels One and Two

2016 & 2017

Usui Lineage | Reiki Master Brian Brunius


ongoing training

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Naropa University + Lion’s Roar

The Three Turnings of the Wheel: Journey Into the Heart of Buddha’s Teachings

2019-2020 (ongoing)

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Cyndi Lee

Taking Refuge In Your Body Course

2019

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Marianne Williamson

Teaching the Teachers Course

2018


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Usui Shiki Ryoho (Reiki Lineage Holder) Phyllis Furumoto

Direct Study Workshop

2018

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Sacred Terrain: Breathwork Course

Erin Telford

2018

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Chakra Scanning Workshop

Brian Bruinus

2017


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Introduction to Plant Medicine

Courtney L Hall

2017

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Freedom to Choose Something Different

Pema Chödrön

2016

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Downright Upright: A Posture Clinic for Meditators

Hope Martin

2016