Note: the blue italics indicates the teacher, in black other participants.

On the relation with the teacher

During a small meeting at the end of one of our meetings when most had already left we spoke about me as “normal human being” and me as teacher.
I said that there is no difference for me and if it is a subject it belongs to those for whom it is an interrogation to sort out.
I cannot be a guide on this matter.
Some additional reflections on this matter:
– at the level of a work on oneself who is made all the time, to make such a differentiation would be erroneous.
– if some of my behavior/attitudes are lived as puzzling, so much the better.
– if somebody has an image of me who “don’t stick” with his(her) idea of how a teacher should be, so much the better.
– at the human level I am as everybody. With all the defects which I have, I cannot/ don’t want exemplify. At the level of my teacher’s role, I know that am demanding. I have this requirement also towards myself. To follow an impersonal teaching sends one, firstly and always, back to whatever is the situation or the person.
– I am neither a rescuer nor non-rescuer. I’m neither an adorner nor an unadorner. When there is projection on me I become mirror. When there are expectations towards me, expect a non sequitur.
– I am not against the emotional provided that there is no attachment/identification.
I am available to answer the questions on this matter.

I would like to share that although most of us are already beyond the point of choosing one’s teacher, it is very important to have faith in one’s teacher no matter whom he is. The reason is very simple: without faith, one can constantly question the teacher’s motives which in turn only handicaps one’s own work. It is absolutely necessary to trust in the teacher’s guidance – even when it greatly challenges one’s personal preferences, beliefs and point of views. The reason for this necessity is also simple: if one can trust the teacher in these circumstances, then one learns to trust in life itself. And after all we are all about the of living of real life!

Everything sends me back to myself: the boredom and the embarrassment to have to invest time in building steps outside on the pathway, while the administrative tasks keep weighing on me. Questioning even the doubts which can come me about the behavior or the tribulations of our teacher, my incapacity to communicate easily with certain members of the group, my incapacity to remember myself regularly throughout the day, etc. etc.
To what that sends back in me? What is affected in me? What do I tell? What do I project?
It belongs to me to be lucid about it. I can fail and then the group is a real blessing (sometimes painful as when we drill an abscess, but often in full discharge), but it is my work. Every moment. Not just during our meetings.
There is this trust in life there in which I surrender without any certainty as for the results. Just with the idea that it will arrive what I more need for my evolution. Of course, I don’t succeed in living this “surrendering” permanently: I have then to look deep inside of me to observe what is there: some fear very often, sometimes the greediness, and especially my powerlessness. I welcome that and the pain that goes with it. And my smallness.
Then the questions that I can settle on our teacher… yeah, it is a good opportunity to go to explore my cellar and the shadows that I feed there. No certainty. Just stay on the thread. In balance. With the confidence in the life and in the death, and go where the wind pushes me without trying too much to fork where I shall like taking refuge. And when this wind blows since my inside, then there, no question of opposing me. And at present I feel it crossing, sweeping my ideas, beginning to unstick certain naughty fears. I open, I am afraid, I open even more. And there I roar!

To me the teaching relies on a mutual understanding of not involving personality in the interactions (which I am not yet fully able to, of course). There can’t be any dispute within me as to what might be right or wrong in the teaching. Whatever he says or does, I need to make that into « the teaching » for myself. If I started to consider whether everything he does is right or wrong, good or bad, the teaching will not be effective anymore.

I wish to reaffirm the importance in the distinction between logical levels. The distinction is of the same order as the one made between “accepting what is” and knowing how to say “no” in certain situations (for example, when your neighbor plays the drums all night long or when a guy attacks a girl next to you on the subway). I can accept difficult situations; meaning I don’t think to myself: “This should be different. In an ideal world, this should not happen.” And at the same time, I can say “no” and send my fist into the guy’s face or call the police. Acceptance doesn’t mean passivity and resignation.
The acceptance, the welcoming is for the existential level, passivity or action is for the functional level.
I dare you to say no to our teacher on any number of things in functional life. Whether it is choosing which brand of vacuum cleaner, the type of oil to cook with, or what time breakfast should be scheduled doesn’t seem to object to the teaching; that doesn’t cast doubt on the teaching. This seeming paradox appears to me as a duty of sincerity. To face myself, rather than to turn a blind eye in the name of a pseudo-acceptance.
In any case, when these levels mix, it is up to each individual to sort things out for him(her)self. And of course, if something disturbs me, it is an opportunity to do my work.
But pay attention to the trap of turning a blind eye in the name of so called acceptance. Taken to the extreme, the question becomes: “what happens if my essential value invites me to say no to our teacher in some situation? What if I’m called on to disagree with the teaching?”
Buddha said: “if you find me on your path, kill me.”
When I’m disturbed by something I take great care to consider if the cause of the disturbance is created by personal interest. I take things in and, sometimes, I consult with others to get a better perspective. I presuppose that he does the same on his side.
And regularly, I say what I have to say, in all sincerity, even if it means setting me against him, because the sincerity towards myself is more important than the image which I can give to him. And, supernaturally, he thanks me for it regularly.
Be yourself! Dare to say and to be. Trust him in his capacity to hear you and to the group to refocus you if it feels that you are in personal interest.

For me, the teaching experiments through the group, where he does the work of the teacher, but I cannot separate the person from the teacher.
The aspects of him as a person are a part of data; I welcome the echoes in me with attention (without tension); the same for the other people of the group.
The sincerity in the group is a kind of treasure of which each person is in charge. It is this solitude-brotherhood that is so inseparable of the other that they are two sides of the same coin. Let us be very careful with this.

I meditated on some subjects since our last meeting and I would like to see if what I found is what we call “uncooked seeds.” It revolves around a projection which I formed around you, since our last meeting. I would be willing to explore that because that seems to me to be an obstacle on my way.
I was aware during our first meetings that sometimes I wanted to see only the kindness and the compassion in you; I saw you as a kind of god rather than as a man. But I notice now, having been next you in more informal situations (discussed about the washing machine, etc. :)), that this projection collapsed.

Great! 🙂

And an even more negative projection took its place.

There should be no other projection.

I am very conscious of it. I am “claiming” my projections. My feeling is that I am not the only one in the group to make projections on you as well as projections on the Self (because you represented the Self for me at times). I understand now that the Self is infinite and shapeless and that he can take the shape of all kinds of projections!

All projections, including those cast on me, belong to the realm of imagination.

Right, but the distinction between the imagination and reality is the subject about which we speak. 🙂

Yes. 🙂

I have the feeling that you are going to make bad use of your power, that you are going to manipulate me and that maybe even you will deceive me. That instead of using your power for the good of everyone, you are going to use it for selfish purposes.

That would be possible only if I was surrounded with infantile adults who haven’t yet learned to assume the responsibility for what they are doing.

Does it imply that you count on your pupils to stay “honest”?


My feeling is that I am not the only one in the group to have unfinished parental projections. Is dealing with that not a part of your work of teacher?

I can only point it when I observe it, but I cannot do the work for somebody else. I said clearly and many times that every person who follows my teaching has to make it for him(her)self.
When something or somebody disturbs you, keep the vigilance focused on you and not on this thing or this person (whether it is me or somebody else).

When I look in these images and these feelings, I see at the same time tracks of my relation with my father when I was young, and echoes with my own behavior. Besides, I see an obvious link with my own reluctance to assume roles of authority in life.

It is likely that it is bound to inner considering.

I was used to conceiving inner considering as essentially a kind of internal dialogue. For me the projections have a more visceral/emotional basis (closer to the original belief?). The separation of me/the other is fed by powerful feelings. Release oneself from these is all the more difficult as the feelings are so convincing. 🙂 This exchange with you pushes me in a corner without any hope of excuse stemming from my imagination.

The projections are bound to inner considering.

You consider internally the other one (instead of having external considering for him(her)).
You know, usually in everyday life, we don’t ask you and we don’t expect from you that you practice external considering, but a teacher yes, (s)he requires it.
It is not possible to be in external considering while we are in inner considering mode.
It is either the one or the other one but not both.
Thus, or you consider internally or you consider externally the teacher.

Would you agree that projections do not always respond to being told to go to the rubbish bin?

No, I don’t.
All projections are imaginary, not based on reality, and usually based on not assuming oneself completely, always based on not doing correct work on oneself.

Perhaps this exchange is a start, because it suggests that I trust you enough to tell you about these feelings of mistrust. It is a tricky place. For the most part I see how my tendency has been to discuss things with you in a fairly abstract way and to avoid the more “personal” content. So, my question is whether you are the right person with whom to work through these issues around power? It seems to me that any talk about going beyond the personality is premature, while these projections are still at large. I suppose that the way in which you respond, will give me some information about how to proceed from here.

First you need to put aside all projections.

First you need to identify projections as projections.

Right, and then discard them as soon as possible and focus on yourself only. Projecting also means: lingering in what one sees might go wrong in the other. Once this is allowed, one is already alienated. Take entire responsibility for what you do. The teacher is not someone who “saves” you.

How about “helping”? Can a teacher help to identify projections?

I don’t know if help is required. For me it seems so easy: whenever you see something in the person of the teacher (and/or anyone else as well) that withdraws your attention from yourself and points to the other, then you project. There is a separation me/the other. The very projection has created the separation and thus has enhanced your ego. So, whenever this happens, stay with observing what’s going on inside, stop projecting. When you do this systematically, you won’t need help from a teacher to get rid of projections.

Then what is the teacher for?

The teacher is serving the essence of his students and putting into evidence ego issues. When you project on him he can’t do (t)his job.

This seems like a catch 22. It seems obvious that projections will fall on the teacher and that these will invalidate the teaching for the student.


I say “I don’t trust you” and you say “I can’t be trusted” you give me back what I had given you. I had no other choice than to “eat” it (or leave).

Right. 🙂

I feel that this dialogue has been most helpful and that I have enough to keep going for now. The projection is a polarity and I can inhabit either end of the drama. It is a drama between the weak and the strong. At one end, it is the feeling of utter dependency and powerlessness and the fear of being dominated and hurt by those who are powerful. At the other end, it is a feeling of power and strength and a reaction of anger and disgust at the powerlessness and fear of the other. I see how this drama has surfaced again and again during my life in all sorts of ways. Now I see that this is not who I am, I am neither one nor the other, I am the self.

Beware of dependency.
It is utter weakness.
Stop all tendencies to allow transfers and dependencies.
Allow the suffering of being alone instead of relying on someone else; allowing the suffering might bring up original belief.
The necessary suffering of accepting one’s helplessness creates strength in essence (what you call “self”).
Maintaining contact with essence helps in becoming aware of identity mechanisms.
By the way, you will never have a 100% insurance that the teacher is or will remain “clean”.

How about just simple confidence? I feel I have that in you, and that is enough.

Confidence or trust is easy to have when everything’s fine.
The challenge will be when you encounter “uncooked seeds” (undigested psychological material and early trauma) because these make you prone to projections.

Well this is precisely the situation and why I started this dialogue. 🙂 Are you suggesting that I assume that the sage (you) is somehow perfect?


Neither perfect nor imperfect.

The focus needs to be on yourself, not on the teacher.

And that all imperfections that arise (fears, doubts, anger, mistrust, etc.) belong to me (the ego) and are therefore to be ignored or discarded?

Once you have taken the conscious decision to accept a teacher as your teacher, yes.
Otherwise it would make no sense to be with a teacher.

Is this the “complete surrender” that you talk of?

By surrendering to a teacher you may be connected to (t)his grace. You follow his recommendations. Usually a teacher expects that you listen and that you put into practice what he transmits to you. It’s up to the disciple to be very attentive, open and to render himself vulnerable. (by the way I have been most of my life a disciple and I have practiced what I tell you here.)

If so, to whom did you surrender in this way?

I’ve had several teachers, and once I decided to be their disciple, I’ve always followed at best their recommendations.

My experience is that my attention shifts between the self and the ego, but is not firmly established in the self yet. When I am the self, I have no doubt concerning the perfection of the self and that you (and everyone else) is the self, and I understand that the self cannot be taken advantage of because there is none other than the self. But the sage (you) is not just the self, he too has an ego with its own tendencies (karmas). Even though the sage (you) may be totally detached from this ego and fully established in the self, that does not mean that this ego is not capable of mischief in the world of non-reality. Is it your teaching that this all amounts to a distraction from the business at hand? That the work is to remain firmly focused in the self and that is all? That there is no need to try to ‘reform’ the ego, that this desire to ‘reform’ is yet another form of the ego’s ignorance? When we get together we remain focused in the self and refuse to allow the egos to claim our attention, indeed as the self we really don’t care what the egos get up to with each other, whether they are pure or impure, good or bad?

Rajneesh (Osho) was asked once: “How can I recognize a real authentic ego-less teacher?”
He answered: “It doesn’t matter if the teacher is real, authentic and ego-less, what matters is that you are a real, authentic disciple. A real and authentic disciple will make it, even with a fraud teacher.”

The teacher might ruin you. 🙂
Do you really think you could, if you wanted?

No 🙂
But one never knows. 🙂
It’s up to you to eventually take a conscious decision: either you surrender completely and you accept shocks, or you go seek someone else or try (probably in vain) to uncover the ultimate by your own means.

My question is not about uncovering the ultimate, it is about working with the relative. The focus is different. My understanding is that the ultimate is completely untouched by the relative, and yet the relative can obscure the ultimate. When the relative tries to take care of the relative, there is trouble; when the ultimate takes care of the relative things are ok. My gut sense is that to have a teacher is a precarious thing, and it is best to ‘do the job’ and then move on as swiftly as possible. Do you agree?

What do you mean by “move on as swiftly as possible”?

I mean move beyond any kind of dependency on the teacher. I don’t know if there is any point to the relationship continuing once the dependency is finished?

I would formulate it like this: a fruitful relationship with the teacher can only take place when there is absence of dependency, transfer and projections.
The student needs to be able to assume entire responsibility (in a way that blaming the teacher for whatsoever reason is never an issue) when putting into practice the teacher’s recommendations.
“Moving on as swiftly as possible” is a non-issue.
A disciple can leave the teaching whenever he feels to do so, and the teacher can dismiss the disciple whenever he feels to do so. No one has ever reached the ultimate who was unable to take risks and/or not ready to receive shocks without buffering them.
Whatever you observe in me as well as in everyone else, if you center your attention on the other instead of directing to yourself, you’re mislead.

I agree. 😉

I read with interest this dialogue. I find it very clear about the role of the teacher and how projections from the student inevitably interfere with the teaching. For me, when in the beginning of the teaching I realized my own “unclean state” and how much I project in my life I understood at the same time that of course that goes also for how I relate to my teacher. The only thing I could do was to decide to always try to keep it as clean as possible. I think that is a decision each student has to make at this point, or else one may go astray. Also, if I consider internally the teacher it is impossible to see him clearly (I know this from considering internally my wife for decades so the only way to have a clue about if the teacher is “clean” or not is to be as clean as possible myself as in: if you shake hands with the teacher with unwashed hands, how can you then tell if his hands are clean?
What was said about projections appears useful to me. I can see how I have a tendency most all the time to project in my daily life; on people or on things/events. It is as if my “emotional attention” gets directed on someone/something, and when I notice this and then instead point back toward myself (or maybe I simply “un-point” is what I do) it is like a detachment occurs and I feel my Self again. It seems pretty central to me, as if it, gives meaning to the concepts I have about self-remembering and the “I am” that Nisargadatta speaks about. The feeling I have is that whenever I project I “loose” myself to the “relative”, or the “mechanical world”, because I am not able to keep myself “gathered”. And it appears that with the concept of “projecting” I am often able to avoid inner considering quite easily by means of just “checking where my attention goes”.
Currently, my practice is mainly: I put emotional focus back on myself when I notice I project, and I also try to keep my inner space non-personal(ized).