Two fictional examples of the Teacher archetype aiding an ensemble cast of protagonists to alter their dreamlike lives so they might achieve better endings are Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings saga and Dumbledore from the fantasy mythic adventures of Harry Potter and his friends. Gandalf and Dumbledore have always seemed to me to be the same kind of mythic personage, though Gandalf is cast more for the young adult and Dumbledore more for a child’s conception of the Teacher or Mage (per Jung or Campbell) energy.
Myths are projections of archetypal personae and challenges that we all face in our everyday lives as everyman and everywoman heroes; so Gandalf or Dumbledore are—as we project onto them as readers or as moviegoers—our own intrinsic Teacher-selves made manifest. These mystical Teachers allow their charges to accomplish what they otherwise might believe to be unllikely, yet they are the hero’s own Higher Energy propelling her or him forward toward the realization of their “impossible dream.” Saving the entire wizarding and muggle worlds from a force too dangerous even to Name; returning Middle Earth to a state of balance and harmony instead of chaos: these are the tasks of an orphaned boy and of a tiny hobbit; or, you and me. But the magical Wizard Teacher is a protean shape-shifter, a transformer of pure energy into otherwise unimaginable new Forms. All is possible if we set our hearts to following the directives of this all-knowing, all-powerful Higher Self Ally of the Teacher.
Have you noticed how Wizard Teachers like Gandalf and Dumbledore conduct their novice apprentices to the attainment of their most worthy desires? Like Glinda for Dorothy, Gandalf and Dumbledore seem always to know exactly when their presence is of utmost value; they appear only when they are needed, otherwise they remain in the background, invisibly watching.
Now then, this week as I have been contemplating how the Teacher appears in my own heroic journey of Soul, I find that my Inner Teacher(s)—whom I recognize to be “as close as my heartbeat”—are always present yet they appear exactly when and how I require their precious aid. I will share a true example of a life and death situation in which I was quite literally saved by my own Inner Master (an ECK Master associated with the spiritual path of ECKANKAR, which is the belief system and practice to which I adhere). Your own Inner Teacher or Guide may take the form of Christ or Buddha or of Socrates, Rumi, Glinda or whatever archetypal—yet very real—personae you recognize, so long as you believe in and deeply value their protection and guidance.
I was living in a duplex apartment in Tempe, Arizona with a housemate who worked a four to midnight shift. One early morning while sleeping in the living room, I had heard voices outside so looked out the front window and witnessed a drug transaction involving the scurrilous group of tenants living on the other side of the duplex living room wall. They saw me witness the transaction and started terrorizing me for the next several months, making overt threats in loud voices from the other side of the thin wall separating our lives. One April or May afternoon, I was sitting in a living room chair after a hard morning at graduate school. Suddenly, as clearly as I could hear a person standing in the room right beside me speaking into my right ear, I heard a male voice that I immediately recognized as my spiritual Teacher. He stated very calmly but firmly, “Linda, lock the door.”
I stepped over to the door, which was slightly ajar, and as I was placing my right hand on the doorknob to close and lock the door, the ringleader of the neighbor gang was reaching to grab the doorknob from the other side, to come in! I just barely closed the door and turned the lock before he could enter. Then I looked out the picture window to my left—the same window through which I had witnessed the drug deal transpire. Huddled down just beneath the window frame was the bodyguard of the drug gang, waiting to abscond me if I were to have run out of the house to escape. I kid you not; this was one of the most dramatic events of this lifetime and I am absolutely certain that had my Teacher not intervened (I know him as Harji, the Inner form of the still current Living ECK Master, Sri Harold Klemp), I would not be on this earthly plane today to share this story. Oddly though, I was not afraid at all after this happened; a calm set over me like a cloak instead. And even more oddly when I look back to it now, I didn’t even call the police. I called a friend, asked her to come pick me up at the house, and I never slept another night in that duplex apartment. I slept for weeks in a sleeping bag on the floor of my Ph.D. advisor’s office until I could locate a new roommate and move into a safer space.
I ask you to be thinking about how the helpful presence or guidance of your own spiritual or inner archetype Teacher has appeared in your own life experience. I would love for you to share your own memories or stories about how your Teacher or Guide has been leading you to fulfill your own meaningful life lessons or Quest.
Finally, it makes sense why the Teacher appears most clearly in our lives only when most needed. It is because it is not ABOUT the Teacher or Master himself or herself; we are not here to simply follow someone who has already attained to all that which we seek. We are apprentices, aspirants or Learners who are striving to become Masters of spiritual essence and formations of life for ourselves; we may then become or appear as the Teacher for others as we gradually come to master our own lessons and unfold in our own awareness.
I invite and would love to share YOUR insights and stories about your own Inner Teacher or guidance. Tomorrow I am going to see the new Hobbit movie; maybe we might meet somewhere in the Middle Earth of our dreams!