The best gift that a spiritual teacher can give is to show us the nature of our own mind so that we can recognize it.
Generally, what is called “mind” or “consciousness” seems to be a mass of thoughts related to perceptions, emotions, memories, and imagination.
But behind that curtain of thoughts, can we discern the fundamental component of the mind?
Can we see the pure awareness of the present moment that underlies all mental activity? What the great meditators have shared can help us to recognize the essential nature of mind and master the thoughts and emotions that, until now, have endlessly followed, one after the other, and kept us in a state of confusion.
As explained by the sages of the past, we can see that it is essential to allot periods of time in which we can fully concentrate on the process of inner transformation. There are practices are involved, either for the hermit who withdraws temporarily from the world or for the practitioner who pursues his or her spiritual journey in the context of everyday life.
We must both learn (1) to perceive the world more clearly and (2) to develop ever-expanding love and compassion for all beings.
From the masters, we can see what kind of view, meditation, and action they practiced to accomplish their goal for themselves and for others.
Source: Ricard, Matthieu. On the Path to Enlightenment: Heart Advice from the Great Tibetan Masters. Boston, Massachusetts: Shambhala Publications, Inc., 2013.