The Importance of Having a Guide, Mentor, or Therapist

Do youThe Importance of Having a Guide, Mentor, or Therapist - ATH Blog have a go-to person you trust for their wisdom and guidance? If not, you might want to put your energy into finding one. We’ll explore “why” in more detail in this article.

Join me in asking this question — why do you think we’re here on earth living this life?

As you look for your simple answer, let it be no more than a sentence or two.

This is not just an abstract question, as I’m asking you to give your answer before you read on.   

We are here to live our greatest potential considering the conditions that we were raised in. I believe we are here to do what we can to develop our hearts, wisdom, minds, and whatever other capacities we individually are inclined toward. 

You may think this is a moral statement, but it is a statement of what I’ve observed has the greatest effect on our quality of life that frequently goes unnoticed. It is as if it is a law of life.  If we don’t care about much, not much caring will come to us, and vice versa. We often miss this pretty obvious consequence because Western ideals toward success and security are promoted as #1. This all too often results in a common emptiness that isn’t able to be identified clearly. 

If we learn to think and question life for ourselves, it frequently makes a large difference in our life choices when it comes to who we seek as friends and colleagues and how we treat others. For some, this extends to the greater world as well. My experience is that those in life circumstances where they have the potential to reach beyond themselves are rewarded by simply being more purposeful, inspired, and fulfilled.  

One of the least understood priorities in my life, and in the lives of people I know well, is the benefit of having at least one person to go to for guidance in significant parts of our life. This is a potential that frequently results in increased gratitude and internal peace. 

It is not uncommon that many of us don’t have a person to go to when facing the many deeper challenges of life. Unfortunately, this leaves us more vulnerable and less versatile in our options to deal with life’s predictable challenges.

I believe this is more important than having a good school teacher, our education, or even the pleasures that we most prefer. It isn’t high on many lists passed down from prior generations to ensure you have support when you most need it. It reflects the emphasis on traditional values, like success, marriage, and a so-called “normal” relationship to religion. On the contrary, it also highlights how little focus there is on the uniqueness each of us faces in navigating a world that is getting increasingly complicated and facing unchartered challenges. The frequent exception to this has been in aboriginal tribes where there were and continue to be elders who are sought out and defined by the wisdom they have learned in their life.

So, what kinds of areas might be so important to be able to receive timely guidance? Interestingly, the areas so focused on success, marriage, and religion could almost universally use support to see if there are drives, pressures, and feelings of inadequacy that are causing pain. 

In addition, many of us, especially at this time, are feeling helpless about how we create a life of deeper purpose or meaning in a world revealing so many areas of separation and danger. This may show up in ways (like I emphasize in Chapter One of Awareness That Heals) that only have fleeting awareness or quick flashes of insight that don’t last. It may be an area we don’t want to focus on regularly because seeing areas that are conflictual that we don’t know how to change creates too many feelings of helplessness, emptiness, or inadequacy. 

This priority to have a mentor for life needs to be encouraged by your inner voice to yourself, your parents, and school teachers of all ages, as the emphasis on growing and facing the challenges of the 21st century, is likely going to be a key to our very survival. This question of ‘How do you find a way to contribute and make an impact in your country or the world?’ is an existential angst that is more common in this generation than any that have preceded it.  

The question of “How can I help in a way that will make me feel I have done my part?” is so subtle and unique to each of us. That’s why we might be better assisted by someone we respect rather than relying solely on ourselves or existing colleagues.

This specific need requires finding someone who is already responding to the world’s challenges and is activated to do what they can. This, for many of us, would be the key guidance necessary to improve our personal quality of life and the quality of life for humanity each in our capacity.  This requires humility and courage as we would need to face feelings of inadequacy, emptiness, or confusion and be motivated to explore how we can best take care of ourselves.

Some of us might need encouragement in the area of taking good care of our bodies as we might have tendencies to overeat or not eat healthily, not exercise, or have a lifestyle that we could enhance greater well-being. This often requires more than just a good doctor, but also someone who comprehensively knows us individually and challenges us to face what will bring our bodies and psychologies to a maximum chance of enhanced health.

Another area that is often overlooked is the need for having a great friend or two and the encouragement to deepen relationships or seek out new ones. Most importantly, a good mentor will help you develop intimacy, truth-telling to yourself and others, and a caring nature with your new and existing friends.

As we look at just some of the areas many of us could use support, it becomes evident that we need to be discriminating as to who we put our trust in. An excellent way to evaluate who would be trustworthy is to find someone who has extensive experience caring for others, is honest, and recognizes what we are currently facing in the country and the world.  

I can hear the protests of the so-called “self-sufficient individuals” that would say, “I do this for myself.” Although it is certainly possible, we would all do well to give this greater attention, even if we are content with where we are in life.

What do you think as to how this applies to your life?  

I suggest you narrow down the most important area of your life that could benefit from having a confidant and guide. Then, see if you can recognize that it is familiar for this to fleet in and out of your awareness. The stakes are high for anything that has to do with improving our quality of life.

Here are some questions for you if you don’t have a guide or don’t feel like you need one:

  • How much do pride, denial, distraction, and feelings of inadequacy stop me from being open to pursuing guidance?   
  • Can I glimpse or see that this might be the most critical move to enhance my quality of life?
  • What are the guiding thoughts that will most help me to dedicate myself to the outreach?

When we ask the question, “What else could matter more?” We will see that it is hard to find a better source of inspiration; by finding someone who can help us live uniquely true to ourselves and seeing through time, we can become wiser. All this by recognizing and acting on our need to grow and be supported by the individuals that would best suit us.

It is natural to have skepticism in the world we live in, and I consider myself to be a skeptic myself. However, I also am skeptical of my skepticism so that it doesn’t rule out everyone. One of my favorite quotes comes from Krishnamurti’s definition of an authentic spiritual leader’s qualities. They have “continuous skeptical investigation.” This reveals a sincere interest in finding out your most honest limitations and the best options for different aspects of your life that you face while not being naïve at the same time.

It would be helpful to look at where you are on the continuum of skeptical or naïve. It is clear that if you are naïve, you might already be empowering one or more people whom you’d have to be lucky to find with the character, qualities, and life experience needed. On the other hand, if you are on the skeptical end, it is worth looking closely at being more receptive. It’s a good time to let life teach you that we can all use a hand at times of need and even more frequently to deal with the limiting life patterns that we virtually all seem to have which are not being noticed or dealt with.

This encourages you to find and value a guide that will help expand and enrich your life. If you already have a good one, consider using their wisdom more frequently. At this time in world history, more than ever, we all need to consider new ways of prioritizing our life to face the new world in which we’re living.