What Does it Mean to Be a True Spiritual Teacher?

In our still-capitalist and consumer-driven society of today, we have entered into an era of the pop-up shaman and the 24-hour energy healer. This is an unfoldment that is both curious and concerning to witness within a world ripe for true spiritual leaders and teachings. In Eastern tradition, one is not allowed to transition into a teaching role until they have mastered their craft or demonstrated the signs of deep spiritual embodiment or gnosis. This would constitute an individual who walks the path of embodied, real-time wisdom in which there is no disparity between the inner and outer worlds; one who lives in unified and symbiotic harmony. It is also important to note that these beings certainly didn’t go around calling themselves “masters” or “shamans” either. The transmissions were instead understood in a sacred, non-spoken and visceral way. 

A great mentor of mine once said, “If you want to know what is real, watch the teacher behind closed doors, when they think no one is watching, and in their intimate-most relationships. The truth lives in this space…

Nowadays, many are calling themselves “healers”, “shamans”, “gurus”, “coaches”, etc that may or may not have actually done the necessary inner work to stand in this role of Way-Shower. Those presenting themselves as teachers who have not gone through these initiations instead point to a shadow distortion of the new age/spiritual movement which must be illuminated… For true transformation requires diligence, time, inner alchemy and practice. 

Becoming a spiritual teacher or way-shower extends far beyond paperwork, classroom learning and proper “certifications”. One can have hundreds of hours of training time and a wall filled with framed accreditation, yet has still failed to venture into the precious alchemical spaces of self, where the real transformation is born. Paperwork and prestige is a dying vestige of the old paradigm. It is erroneous to believe that this aspect can translate fully into spiritual arts if the Initiate has not gone through the internal refinement process to prepare to take on such a role. Yes, hands-on instruction, theory and learning is also important. But if we stop at this, we fail to see the totality of what is deeply needed: the path of true embodiment. 

At Sacred Breath Academy, one of the most important things we can communicate is such: If teachers or those presenting as “teachers” have not journeyed deep into the throne of self, been humbled, cracked open, broken, reconstituted, and initiated over and over— through metaphorical death and rebirth, annihilation and resurrection, dissolution and coagulation, formless and form… If they have yet to take that vital dive into the shadow of their being, for complete and utter transformation from chrysalis to butterfly (or, at the very least, in the midst of this process), they will inevitably be playing out shadow wounds, fancifully disguised beneath the verbiage of spiritual jargon and garb or the pretense being evolved/enlightened. And unfortunately, teachers operating within this kind of self-illusion and pretense is all too common in spiritual communities today… However, the facade will always crumble… 

The reasons above are why our facilitator trainings differ from many others. Our trainings are much more than just an opportunity to acquire knowledge- they are profound spiritual initiations and rites of passage into the sacred role of Way-Shower. Through this Alchemy of Self-Realization, there are profound mysteries that begin to reveal themselves to the Initiate. The alchemy begins with the process of going into the darkness, the obsidian mirror, the cave, or the womb. From the spaciousness of the void, we are reborn into the light, forging an impermeable union with the essence of our soul. In our dissolution, we become. Just as the lotus births from the mud, we rebirth ourselves many times during our facilitator training. Upon our emergence, we stand before a field of pure potentially; a bare palette that we may create upon. This is the realm of lucidity and of the true self- a self which exists beyond illusion and conditioned identity. Thus, this entire process will serve to illuminate the essential elements of the very transformation the Initiate will be facilitating others to have in the future. It is an important rite of passage that may not be bypassed. 

Holding space and guiding others requires a great deal of integrity, commitment to higher service, and clarity of intention— for the quality of what may arise is always of a delicate and intimate nature. Thus, it is our foremost intention is that the purity of way-showing be maintained on a collective scale. 

Throughout our trainings, The Sacred Breath Initiate is taught to craft an intentional field of resonance and potentiality, weaving a container of both receptivity and energetic precision, while simultaneously surrendering into the deeper will of what wants to unfold, as a Way-Shower of Breath Medicine. This is the Path of the True Initiate and Master: to lay down one’s personal will onto the altar of grace; to become humble and empty; broken open; a living conduit of the Divine.

Throughout this training, as we enter into the somatic mystery school of our own bodies, we will metaphorically die and become reborn, transmute and transform, coagulate and dissolve, over and over again in the most profound ways. As we must be in alignment within ourselves before we can hold any kind of space for another. By first creating a healing environment for ourselves where we feel held and supported within our own being, we may venture into the subterranean wisdom within. 

Remember, we may only meet others as deeply as we have met ourselves. 

Through the embodied practice of space-holding and way-showing, we give others permission to trust in themselves and their innate intuition. We also stand to empower others through their own, direct knowing, awakening their own inner healer. Through this process, we meet them in the place of compassionate witness. For it is only through our own metamorphoses that we can access a depth of empathy unbeknownst before. This is living in the real-time sentient wisdom of each moment. 

– Written by Kaya Leigh, Co-Founder of Sacred Breath Academy

Kaya Danielle Leigh