One of the things I focus on in my work is the importance of helping my clients expand their toolbox. In fact, I'm always doing so myself. Having an extensive toolbox is a cornerstone to growth, in my opinion. So, when I recently read some work by other coaches/writers suggesting that we shouldn't listen to others, and only listen to ourselves, I got concerned. Here's why:
We all need tools on our journey. Everything you learn along the way that propels you to your next lesson is a tool, regardless of where it comes from. To not listen to others is to deny yourself the gift of others' wisdom and experience. It limits your toolbox. Tools are what strengthen your connection to your inner knowing and voice, and provide for your growth. These tools are what allow us to progress.
Similarly, we all need teachers - someone to say "Hey, this worked for me, and now I'm sharing it with you." You'll know when it's someone to listen to, or someone to walk away from. A good teacher will help you strengthen your voice, not silence it.
Therefore, to dismiss tools and/or teachers as a vehicle of silence is to do yourself a disservice. Nobody came to their inner knowing, their connection with Source, without learning along the way and filling their toolbox, often from exposure to others' voices and experience. Nobody.
Not every tool is right for you, that's for certain, but every tool has its purpose: to help each of us, in our turn, as we continue to elevate our consciousness and ascend on our path in our vibration; to reconnect with our Self and Source.
I believe each teacher along the way is a steward; there to shepherd you through whatever pasture you find yourself in. No one teacher is THE teacher. Everyone is there to share and help each other along the way. As Ram Dass said, "we are all just walking each other home."
I get concerned when I read other thought leaders either dismissing the importance of tools/teachers or encouraging the use of ONE tool above all others. Neither is the path to Self. The path back to that power, that inner knowing, that connectedness, is paved with everything you pick up along the way. Nobody can tell you what to pick up, but the offering is what matters. It's there to support you in your journey, not withhold you or provide obstacles for you. If it is doing either, it's not the best for you, right now.
I agree entirely that the ultimate goal is inner knowing and connectedness, and therefore an ultimate independence from tools and teachers. This is the goal, whether it's a reality is another question. Think of it this way: even the Dalai Lama meditates, and meditation is a tool.
From my own experience, and knowing that I am human, I am certainly incredibly grateful for my extensive toolbox and the extraordinary stewards I have met along the way. Without them, I wouldn't be where I am. Their guidance helped me find strength in my voice, in my Self.
Furthermore, because I am human, I know that life will get messy sometimes. I take great comfort in knowing that I have a toolbox that I have built, that can support me through challenges and create opportunities. And if you think you don't have a toolbox of your own, I beg to differ. Here are just a few of the tools that I have available to me at a moment's notice. I suspect you have some of the same:
Breath Art Reading Walking Playing with my dog Workshops Holistic doctor Trusted friends Manifesting Affirmations Supplements Water Music
Without tools and teachers in your life, your path to connectedness would not be possible. There is no magic teleport that will take you from your humanity to your divinity without at least a few lessons along the way - no teleport other than bodily death and the transition to spirit. Tools make the journey. Teachers provide companionship along the way.
So, if you come across tools and teachers that share their wisdom with you, feel grateful, stop, take a seat, and listen. If it's for you, you will know. If it's not for you, you will know. Then you can exercise your free will and power of choice to move on to the next.
Finally, tools are there to help you co-create with Source, and there is nothing more powerful than that. So, frankly, why wouldn't you use tools?