I am drawn to Sri Aurobindo because he was an independent thinker and did most of his spiritual work on his own. On my spiritual journey I have been a bit of a loner, always sidestepping teachers who told me what to do or how to think. It is not that I do not want instruction, but I have never wanted any teacher to try to fit me into a mold. In other words, I do not like a cookie-cutter approach to teaching. I have always sought out teachers who would not try to make me accept their way of thinking, but instead would support me as I struggled to find my own spiritual values. While learning from teachers has been very important to me, it has been my direct experience of the Divine that has been my greatest teacher.

My most important mediumship teacher, Brenda Lawrence, has always told me that she is not really my teacher, but that Spirit is my teacher. She has made it clear that she does not expect me to be like her; I need to be my own medium. I have had other teachers who were too bossy, and I was not able to work with them.

Sri Aurobindo did not receive his deepest spiritual teachings by studying spiritual texts. While the ancient Indian teachings are important to him and part of his spiritual education, from his writings, I perceive that it was his direct relationship with Divine Consciousness that had the greatest influence on his spiritual evolution.

He says that each man has a different spiritual journey, depending on his nature. (I wish he would say "man or woman" or "person," but then he is a product of his generation, like any of the rest of us.) When I read letters to the disciples, I see time and time again that they are not being told what to do, but are encouraged to find out what to do themselves. Sri Aurobindo says in many of his books that to do Integral Yoga, such and such is required, but that a man may follow a variety of spiritual paths and still find God. He is not saying that his yoga is the only path to God; instead, he says IntegralYoga is his path of spiritual development, and if you want to join him, he will lay out quite clearly what is expected.

Sri Aurobindo is like a good parent who teaches a child how to think, not what to think. In this excerpt from On Himself (Sri Aurobindo Ashram 1972), he tells about his spiritual education. It is important to note that Sri Aurobindo fought for the independence of India, and so before he and the Mother founded the Ashram, his life was involved with political struggles, which included some time in jail.

I began my yoga in 1904 without a Guru; in 1908 1 received important help from a Mahratta Yogi and discovered the foundations of my Sadhana; but from that time till the Mother came to India I received no spiritual help from anyone else. My Sadhana before and afterwards was not founded upon books but upon personal experiences that crowded upon me from within. But in the jail I had the Gita and the Upanishads with me, practiced the yoga of the Gita and meditated with the help of the Upanishads; these were the only books from which I found guidance; the Veda which I first began to read long afterwards in Pondicherry rather confirmed what experiences I already had than was any guide to my Sadhana.

I respond so strongly to his statement that when he began to read the Veda, what he read confirmed his experiences. For me, having a particular kind of spiritual experience and then afterwards reading something that confirms my experience is so much more powerful than reading about a particular kind of spiritual experience first and then having an experience.

Author's Bio: 

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