Many people throughout the world look to spiritual ‘gurus’ to give them the answers to life’s conundrums, and I’m no exception.
While I would never advocate blindly deferring to another person’s opinion over my own, I think there are some fantastic influencers out there that have a lot of good things to say.
Each person is on their own path, so one teacher’s message may resonate with me, while somebody else may be completely turned off by it.
Teachers are there to offer guidance and insights which make you stop and think about things from a different perspective.
Regardless of who you decide to read about or follow, it’s important to understand that you are your own best teacher. The best spiritual teachers are the ones who say: ‘Don’t take my word for it. Try this for yourself and make up your own mind.’
If you’re looking for a little guidance in your life, I’ve made a list of 5 spiritual teachers who have had the greatest influence on my life. This list isn’t in any particular order or ranking. As always, take what works for you and leave the rest.
‘Abraham’ has been described as a group consciousness from the non-physical dimension. Esther Hicks uses channelling to receive the messages of Abraham and communicate these messages to the world through books, workshops and seminars.
When Esther Hicks relaxes her mind, she received blocks of understanding from Abraham, which she translates into words.
If it sounds a bit too ‘woo-woo’ to be true, just give it a chance. There are many free videos on Youtube that contain snippets of her workshops and if you’re interested in the Law of Attraction, I believe she gives the best explanation and instructions I’ve ever heard.
I’ve read many of her books, but it was only when I heard her speak that I really started to understand her concepts more deeply. You can access their work on this site:
Eckhart Tolle is a spiritual teacher who, at the age of 29, after an intense period of depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation, experienced a spontaneous enlightenment which changed his life forever.
While he didn’t immediately understand what had happened to him, he eventually learned that had experienced the same state of enlightenment as the Buddha.
He went on to write two very well-known books: “The Power of Now” and “The New Earth”. I was given the second book from a friend and loved it. I also read the first book, which I believe is the most popular one, but I didn’t like it as much.
There aren’t that many free talks on the internet from Eckhart Tolle, which is a shame. You can access his website here:
Pema Chodron is one of my favourite Buddhist teachers. I love to listen to her talks and I find them very helpful. There are very few free talks available, however you can buy her podcasts.
She became a Buddhist nun in 1974 and some of her books include “The Wisdom of No Escape”, “When Things Fall Apart” and “The Places that Scare You”, although she has written many more.
I have had all three of these books on my shelf for years, and I regularly go back to them when I need them.
Her work is especially helpful for dealing with emotions such as anger, fear and uncertainty. Here is her official website:
Joseph Goldstein is a Vipassana meditation teacher who has studied and practiced various forms of Buddhism since 1967.
I love his self-effacing style, and I find his free talks especially helpful. I never fail to be soothed and inspired by his words.
He’s written a few books, including “Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening” and “One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism”.
However, I prefer his live talks to his writing. You can access his talks for free on this website:
Rick Hanson is a psychologist who has a special interest in re-wiring the brain for happiness.
He promotes inner resources such as mindfulness and compassion, as well as offering very practical advice through his books and podcasts on how to achieve these states more often.
He teaches self-directed brain change through positive mindset exercises and guided meditations.
I prefer to listen to Rick rather than read his books, which is great because he offers many different ways to enjoy his work.
Over the years I’ve purchased a few of his products and found them to be very helpful. His basic message is: ‘you are what you think’.
Through his teachings, he explains that even though the brain evolved with a negativity bias, we can do these daily practices to train our brains for happiness. His website is here:
When the Student is ready…
These teachers have their own unique presentation style and philosophies, but one thing they all agree on is this:
When you rely on outer conditions to be happy, you are destined to fail.
True inner happiness doesn’t come as a result of circumstances, but from how you react to your circumstances. Change your mindset and you can change your life.