People have been trying to understand what our humanity and higher true Self are since the dawn of time. Without this knowledge, most of us feel confused and incomplete. We know that something is missing but can’t tell exactly what.
This self-alienation is the reason why so many of us are looking for guidance. Someone who can help us uncover our own divine identity and our true self.
This is, in part, the role of the Yogacharya – from Sanskrit “yoga” and “acharya” – teacher.
But can the Yogacharya truly show you the way to self-realization or is the spiritual path something you need to find and undertake on yourself?
The Spiritual Journey
Regardless of who we are and where we come from, the quest for happiness is universal. The natural state of the soul is to be at peace and blissful, and we all long for this inherent condition. Some of us look for happiness in materialistic things; others think that status and power will give them inner peace. But most of us will find that the modern concept of happiness is elusive and you will find yourself on the same quest again and with the same desire.
That’s when many turn to spirituality as a way to cultivate awareness and experience the subtle dimensions of life that will take one toward self-realization.
The word for spirituality in Sanskrit is “Adhyātma.” It’s a combination of the words Adhi and Ātman, where Adhi means “pertaining to” and Ātman is often translated as the Soul, but a better translation would be “Self” as it refers to the pure consciousness.
The Self is the central concept in spirituality as it’s in a constant state of bliss and unaffected by the distractions of everyday life. Spirituality is, thus, the journey towards uncovering one’s True Self and existing in a state of peace and harmony regardless of what life throws at us. Only then can we truly live our lives with true meaning and intention.
Spiritual Awakening through Kriya Yoga
Kriya Yoga is a time-tested path for spiritual awakening. According to Yogananda, it’s the most effective technique to achieve union with the divine. It’s so effective because it allows us to tap into the spiritual energies deep within ourselves and control the life force.
It’s harder to control your life force when your sole focus is on your body, mind, and thoughts. Your thoughts can race, your emotions can shift, and your body can ache. All these distractions can stop you from cultivating pure awareness. But, with Kriya Yoga, the focus is on your spiritual energies and on connecting with the divine through Self-realization.
The Role and Guidance of a Yogacharya
One of the fundamental principles of spirituality is that there is not one single path to God. The ways through which one can find the divine qualities within oneself differ from individual to individual. Just like a doctor can’t use the same medicine to treat different conditions, the same spiritual path doesn’t benefit everyone. The journey you take should be tailor-made to fit your unique needs, character, and temperament even if the goal is the same – finding your higher self.
Your Yogacharya can take the role of your spiritual guide and show you clearly what you already are. However, there is a significant difference between a regular mentor and a Yogacharya. A mentor can be a priest who gives a sermon or a partner who inspires you to take a certain action. It can be someone trying to open your eyes to a certain truth and lead you to what they consider to be the righteous path.
The role of a Yogacharya isn’t to take you down a certain beaten path, but to help you awaken your own spirituality, find your true self, and live in accordance with it. Not all yoga teachers will be able to help you uncover your divine purpose and you can move from one Yogacharya to another until you find the one that speaks to the heart. When you will find your Yogacharya, you will hear their truth so clearly as if your own heart is speaking. It’s not a relationship that you can force or fake, but one that will emerge at the right time, when you are ready to surrender to it, although you may not be aware of it.
When Roy Eugene Davis met Paramahansa Yogananda, the spiritual and mental connections were immediately apparent. As he confesses, he knew right then and there that he had found his spiritual home and that being with him felt right and natural.
Now is Your Time to Live as Your True Self
The role and importance of a guide in your spiritual journey can’t be understated. The path to Self-realization can take years to complete. During this time, it’s normal to experience a lack of focus, willpower, or perseverance. Your Yogacharya will support your spiritual awakening, provide the encouragement to continue searching for your divine purpose, and help you live intentionally.
It takes the right insight and vigilance to understand that your Self is complete. Once you achieve this knowledge, you can start living simply, but even then your Yogacharya can continue to be not only your guide but your partner in cultivating and maintaining awareness too.