“When the door of the steam bath is continually left open, the heat inside rapidly escapes through it; likewise the soul, in it’s desire to say many things, dissipates its remembrance of God through the door of speech, even though everything it says may be good.
“thereafter the intellect, through lacking appropriate ideas, pours out a welter of confused thoughts to anyone it meets, as it no longer has the Holy Spirit to keep its understanding free from fantasy. Ideas of value always shun verbosity, being foreign to confusion and fantasy. Timely silence then is precious, for it is nothing less than the mother of the wisest thoughts.” ~The Philokalia
I actually had a boss several years ago who would mildly scold me after a meeting if I didn’t speak during the meeting. It didn’t matter to him in the least that I had nothing to contribute. It didn’t matter that I was actually listening to what others were saying rather than just planning what I would say when it was my turn to crow. All that mattered to him is that I should speak up and say something, no matter how pointless, repetitive, or inane.
In the spiritual field, this problem sadly exists as well. Someone learns a little bit, either through revelation or simply being told by a teacher, and he suddenly decides to start teaching himself. OF course, what this individual doesn’t realize is that the small amount of knowledge that has been granted to him is a test to see if he can be trusted to keep the teachings to himself until his master tells him he is ready to be a teacher. So he starts trying to teach with only a very small amount of real knowledge, and students are not satisfied and ask many questions. Since the self-declared teacher doesn’t have the answers, at least not on a spiritual level, he tries to answer spiritual questions using the intellect, the ego, which will just about always give false or very incomplete answers when it comes to matters of the spirit. But this self-appointed teacher, this open steam room door, just can’t seem to stop talking when he has an audience, so he just pours out anything that pops into his head. And the really unfortunate thing is that, with some such teachers, many are listening to their nonsense, while with others, people soon recognize that they are frauds and are turned off to the whole idea of spiritual development.
While a spiritual teacher certainly must teach, she never attempts to teach that which she does not know. Likewise, he never attempts to teach those who will not listen. Gene Savoy Sr., the founder of our spiritual community, told the true story of a great spiritual teacher from India who came to this country to give a talk at a major university. When he stepped out on the stage, he looked around at the audience of hundreds of applauding students, then sat down in a chair on the stage and didn’t say a word for the entire hour. When the audience left at the end of the hour, a faculty member approached the guru and asked why he didn’t speak. He replied something like “I can teach these people nothing.” He wasn’t saying that he didn’t know anything, but that the audience of materialistic intellectuals would simply not listen to anything he said, but would instead have been waiting for every opportunity to question and criticize, so he choose to say nothing and not give them the opportunity.
The main thing is that a real spiritual teacher seeks to help people learn the truth by awakening their spiritual faculties and gaining divine knowledge. The phony spiritual teacher tries to tell his audience what to believe, what God is like, and what God wants them to do. Of course, initially the valid spiritual teacher must tell the students a few things to get them started on the right path, but he never tells them they must accept everything he says on faith, but instead encourages them to awaken their own soul and learn the truth direct from the source so it cannot be questioned or denied.