Recognizing False Teachers: Trust Your Knowing

by Melody Jean

Knowing-False-Teachers-Contemporary-SeekerI love when I’m handed reminders of how many mountains I’ve climbed and how far I’ve come.

It’s these cues that put into perspective every stop sign, u-turn, and yield sign I’ve encountered along my path.

When I’m reminded, it always helps me to remember to trust in my own knowing.

Fakirs Everywhere

As I journey through life I encounter many who are “seekers,” in some vein.

I observe so very many, too, who proclaim themselves masters or teachers after having a small, simple, taste of something different than what they’re accustomed.

Whether one calls it enlightenment, an awakening, or some other esoteric term; they appoint themselves as spiritual “teachers.”

With that they begin to set up workshops and practices inviting others to learn from them.

When the Fakirs Seek Me

Many of these individuals, too, ironically want to teach me. Further, they want to charge me for it.

I think perhaps because I speak little to my “path” and more about the generalities of life so I come off as a novice. In that I am “behind” in my spiritual pursuits in some ways compared to the “teacher.”

For these self-appointed teachers, it comes seemingly with ease. That is, expressing through language how advanced they are.

Some even tell their “students” that they will be bestowed with gifts. They imply that they will be able to see the future, heal others or become clairvoyants.

I have no basis to say whether this is fact or fiction. Yet, what I know is what I know.

My Path

IΒ know I am on a path. It’s one to which I can’t explain just, yet, and that’s okay.

I often say, it’s almost like explaining the unexplainable.

I started reading about the way of the Sufi when I was 21 years old.

Yet, I did not do the work necessary to complete the works. Oxymoron-ish I know πŸ˜‰

Of late, however, I’ve been reading much more.

Knowing vs. Believing

Sufis maintain that knowing is key, rather than believing.

If you see it, or experience it, then you know it, in a sense.

Therefore, there is no reason to believe.

You just know.

And it’s not because someone told you that such and such is so, or set up expectations of a super power coming your way.

Sufi literature is written so that the reader is taken through many levels of thought.

It is complex, and not for those who are looking to be entertained and achieve “enlightenment” instantly.

While other “teachers” might proclaim they can take you there, fast, it pays to remain cautious.

Idries Shah maintains “Enlightenment must come little by little or else it will overwhelm.”

And the Sufis say “A student gets the teacher he/she deserves.”

Defining Sufism

I can’t do justice to defining Sufism.

Yet, it’s real. And it feels “right” when reading books by both Idries Shah and my father.

When so doing, everything begins to make complete sense in my life and beyond.

In the words of Doris Lessing, who has written many introductions to Shah’s books, she had the following to say:

“Sufis claim that their “way,” or discipline, predates Islam, and is as old as humanity itself, is coeval with humankind’s beginnings, and is the inner core of every religion. We are talking here not of a word or even a vocabulary but a way of looking at life, and at the human story. Sufism is not to be associated with any one practice or belief, for Sufis may use any relevant method to convey their message and often without ever using the words “mysticism,” “Sufism,” “spirituality.”

This is the essence that appeals to me. While it might not be every seeker’s fruit. It tastes sweet to me.

When the Fakirs Seek to Teach Me

So I smile inside when the fakir teacher seeks to teach me.

You see, I see.

With that sentiment, I circle back to my introduction.

When the “would be teachers” offer service, because they seemingly know more, or believe they can provide something, I am reminded.

Reminded of how many mountains I’ve climbed and how far I’ve come.

It’s these cues that put into perspective every stop sign, u-turn, and yield sign I’ve encountered along my path.

When I’m reminded, it always helps me to remember to trust in my own knowing.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Sean Michael Kelly

Well spoken and with softness, not sharp edged words. I’ve seen, experienced, studied, read, and practiced an awful lot in my life to conclude only that is often those who confess how little they know are often the masters over those that think they’ve got it all figured out. It’s so much richer to share an experience and to delight in the experience itself than to tell/teach/preach to/at someone else a dogmatic teleology of their personal journey.

Thanks again for the thought-inspiring reflection!


Melody Jean

Thanks so much Sean. I love how you explained it, too. It’s such a delicate balance. While it’s disheartening that there are so many lead astray by sometimes well intending self-appointed teachers, again I maintain what the Sufis say “the student attracts the teacher he/she deserves.” That’s not said with ill intent, it just is. I’m not here to preach and teach, and I enjoy meeting fellow seekers. I just have to take stock and remember who I am when false teachers start telling me things that they “know” about me or what they “see.” Or what they believe or know to be the true essence of me. I become a blubbering idiot sometimes. It’s mostly because I don’t think it’s necessary (for me) to reveal what I know. So I listen to them and then sometimes find myself trying to justify in a practical way but feel awkward afterwards. From here on out, I will just say “thank you for sharing.” And then turn inward and remember who I am.


Sean Michael Kelly

“”From here on out, I will just say β€œthank you for sharing.” And then turn inward and remember who I am.””

That right there is some mighty powerful stuff, ma’am! πŸ™‚


Melody Jean

Ahahahaha, Sean, thank you. This is why I share. Appreciate your feedback as always fellow seeker πŸ™‚


Gordon Rasnic

I would like to just comment that “knowing” rather than “believing” reference has already made an ah ha moment for this seeker. I stumbled upon your website and find your site to be informative and useful for those of us seekers. I believe in energy and light but I continue to seek more while traveling this spiritual journey. Thanks again.


Melody Jean

Gordon, thanks for sharing your ‘aha’ moment, truly appreciated! Always good to know when another ‘aha’s with me! So thanks for seeking on Contemporary Seeker, too!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: