We all have individual connection with our Creator, although many have forgotten it.
There is a misconception that man needs to have spiritual experiences. But the truth of the matter is that every one of us is a soul living in a human body. Living as a soul in a human body is an opportunity for us to experience some of His manifestations.
Any spiritual path should empower those who follow, in contrast to the religious way which creates dependancy. However, not all spiritual paths achieve this. Those who follow a spiritual path are called seekers. When the seeker is committed, he is then called a murid (disciple). A teacher of the Sufi Path is called a Pir or Sheikh.
The Sufi Path is a spiritual path which first assists the seeker to focus and deal with his distractions. After that, a seeker on the Sufi Path should strive to know himself with the assistance of his teacher. Self realisation cannot be given by any one and those who claim this ability are not truthful. It is only achieved by the freewill of the seeker and his own work, assisted by a teacher.
The teacher is a friend and a coach who helps the seeker to empower himself. His work is to assist the seeker to break all idols, including breaking away from idolising the teacher.
A novice cannot recognise who is a good or genuine teacher. The quality of the teacher is unknown to a seeker. If any seeker claims to know their teacher, this is only their perception. The only possible exception is a murid/disciple who has had long-term experience and has found the Truth.
A real teacher avoids fame and sometimes they appear to others as an ordinary person. A teacher who advertises his line of heritage is using this as a qualification of his excellence. But most sufi mystics and teachers, such as Attar, Junaid, Abu Said, Hafez, Saadi, Hallaj and Shams-e-Tabriz, did not use their lineage to emphasise their abilities. This is because wisdom is not inherited but is given by God’s Will and fulfilled by the effort of the individual. The only one who knows who is a real teacher is God. The only time such a teacher’s work becomes well known is when his followers achieve the high state of spirituality or his work has been used to help others, even after his death.
Therefore the seeker should concentrate on the quality of their own intention. If the seeker’s intention is pure, and he is a true seeker, he will find the Truth whoever his teacher is. The key is to look inside one’s own self. If you are looking for a teacher with lineage and credentials, this is what you will find. If you are looking for the Truth and you trust that God will guide you, then you will find a teacher who will assist you.
“Whoever travels without a guide
needs two-hundred years
for a two-day journey.”