The Three Tests

The Three Tests

The Question:

There are three major tests to apply to a spiritual teacher before he should earn any of your trust for reliability. Can you guess what they are?

Here are some comments received:

– Has soul contact

– Teaches principles rather than facts

– Does not claim to be infallible, an absolute authority or incapable of mistakes

– Stimulates students’ soul contact/self-trust

– Teaches knowledge rather than beliefs

– Presents new rather than rehashed teachings

– Does not draw attention to himself or herself or demand a personal following

– Service is the primary motivation

– Strives to practice what he or she preaches.

– They don’t look for credit.

– Their goal is for the student to join the teacher in wisdom.

– The teacher knows that he has as much to learn from the student.

– The fruits of their teachings are displayed in their students.

These are all worthy of consideration. We will leave their value up to your own souls. In addition there are probably more we have not thought of, but let me present to you what I consider the top three.

(1) Take the things you have learned to be true with reasonable certainty (especially from soul contact) and compare them to those of the spiritual teacher. If there is a high degree of complimentary thought this is a sign that you have a good starting point and a certain amount of trust is beneficial.

If the teacher is able to shed interesting light in areas of that were mysteries this would be an indication that there is something for you to learn here.

Objection: What if my own beliefs are wrong? That would mean the teacher is wrong also.

Answer: Yes, it would but at least you have a starting point and if you start on the path and continue with a pure heart you will discover your errors and correct them. If you do not at least make a start then you will never finish.

Consider people who come to this group who feel in harmony with my teachings. In almost every case they report spiritual growth and progress in their search for the truth.

Now consider others who have felt that I am deceived. Have any of them reported any learning or growth from their experience with me? A rare occurrence indeed.

This indicates that a starting point of harmony of thought between two souls is an important ingredient for progression upon the path. Notice I say “starting point?” This is because the student and teacher who start in harmony together will eventually meet conflict that must be resolved. In that resolution comes greater soul contact and vision of higher truth.

If the conflict is not resolved and the teacher possesses the greater light the student will then carry the conflict within himself and often hold a lifelong grievance toward the teacher.

(2) Examine the teachings of the potential earned authority over a period of time and range of material. Then ask yourself these questions:

Are the teachings consistent without major contradictions?

If there are seeming contradictions is the teacher able to explain them to your satisfaction?

Has the teacher made a number of predictions that did not come true?

Comment: One or two mild predictions that are wrong does not necessarily mean that the teacher has no light to offer, but a number of outlandish predictions that are far removed from reality is a sure sign that you should take your losses and run.

Does he copy the teachings of others and claim them as his own or does he seem to be bringing in new insights through the soul?

Do the teachings stimulate my higher thought and cause me to think in new directions that register positive with my soul?

Do the teachings seem to be relatively free of ego stroking?

If you study the teachings and resolve these questions to your satisfaction then you have additional reason to trust an earned authority.

(3) You prove many teachings to be true by applying them in your own life. Overall application of the principles taught brings you closer to your own soul and you sense a stimulation that brings you greater light. You find that this proven authority actually makes you less reliant on outward authority.


Name three earned authorities in your life who have assisted you in attaining higher realization and briefly give the reason why you have reasonable trust in them.

If you find yourself in disagreement with an earned authority why is it wise to take a second look at your thoughts to make sure they are accurate?

Even though earned authorities are helpful, why is it an error to consider them infallible?

July 8, 2000

Copyright by J J Dewey

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