But, who is the teacher? In what would seem under any other circumstances a simple question with a simple answer, we are given the opportunity to take a multi layered look at the problem of the disciple. Who the teacher is, depends on the level of the disciple’s understanding. There is always a teacher present and as the disciple realizes this presence “the teacher appears,” as the old saying tells us. He is ready for the next stage in his development and becomes aware of what was already present.
We are told is the Soul is the first teacher in the life of the disciple, but there have actually been many teachers prior to his awakening to the presence of his Soul. Other travelers on the path are his instructors and every situation in which he finds himself is a teachable moment. In the life of discipleship these circumstances are not random, but of the Soul’s doing. Long before he has conscious contact with his Soul, it begins to influence his life and his life circumstances (note those words) in ways he will not understand immediately. This will lead him into trouble, for until he has some awareness of this influence he will not be changing his behavior consciously. This is why the probationer falters.
We can train a dog to change its behavior with various techniques over time. In this case the dog must be conditioned over and over in order to have the behavioral pattern change. The repitition is necessary because the dog is not consciously aware that it is being taught. It is simply responding and adapting to its environment. The trainer is changing that environment with an intent the dog cannot comprehend. This trial and error takes much time and in the case of the evolving human entity, many lives. Once the urge to meditate and search for the inner meaning of life’s occurrences sets him on the path to conscious recognition of the source of these changes, he must face himself clearly and responsibly. As responsibility grows in him, he begins to sense what is right and does it because he can see no other way.
As he learns and grows, the Soul takes an ever increasing role in his life and he (as a personality) begins to gain conscious contact with this guiding force in his life. This is when he has the power to use the discipline that has led him up to this point in carrying out the Soul’s purpose for this incarnation. Obedience to these clues and intuitions will accelerate his growth. Ignoring them will cause him trouble. A teacher named Dr. Trenton Tully, who founded the Denver Metaphysicla Research Society, and whose lectures I was privileged to listen to after his passing, said that all suffering was due to the aspirant failing to “live up to what he knows.” In this context it is very true. It illustrates the warnings we hear of the danger of refuting the teaching once it is understood. Ignorance is bliss, but knowledge is power. Failure to use this power correctly puts one “in the service of darkness.”
There are other teachers along the lighted way and more advanced disciples can save him time with their guidance based on a deeper understanding. Failure to heed these other more advanced travelers (or even recognize them) will cost time, and potentially result in painful experience. The student must discern for himself, but part of that discriminatory process is the ability to recognize guidance and take advice. Even the Master, who will appear later in the life (or lives) of the disciple, will not insist on a particular path, but allow him to make his own choices. They do not insist on obedience but progress along the lighted way depends on this.
The free will of the human consciousness is not infringed and necessarily, we all begin as black magicians developing our awareness for our own benefit. The New Age movement of the 70’s had this sort of inherent selfishness. People desired personal and spiritual grouwth for the effect it had on themselves, not for the benefit of humanity. As we gain in development, and the awareness of ourselves as a part of a greater whole, our further progress requires us to use that knowledge for the greater good. This is obedience to the plan itself. The obedience to the Master is really obedience to his work. If you want to come into the service of one of the guides of the race you must show yourself as useful to him by serving humanity. That is what he is doing. They do not seek our worship. They seek useful servants in the furtherance of the plan. If you wish to receive further instruction and responsibility then you must fulfill the tasks he has already assigned to you. In this way it is the disciple’s choice and his will which is developed, and incidentally, his karma.
The Masters do not seek trained puppies to do their bidding. They require those who become capable of working on their own for the greater good. This system of the relating of the teaching and delegation of responsibilities stands up leaders among men. They become what the military would call “force multipliers” in the service of humanity.