8 Tips for Finding The Right Spiritual Teacher

Spiritual teachers can be helpful. I know this through my own experience working with some great teachers. Here’s a little guide that might help you find the right teacher for you. Keep in mind this is only a perspective. It is not a definitive or objective guide.

  • Find out what Enneagram type your teacher is. If you are not familiar with the Enneagram, I suggest reading up on it. The Enneagram divides personalities into 9 types, and each type has a core woundedness and a way the ego behind the type survives psychologically and emotionally in the world. Not knowing your teacher’s type can blind you to his or her unresolved issues that are often embedded within the teaching itself. You can essentially inherit a distorted view of reality by blindly following a teacher’s words or instructions without knowing his or her type. For example, some teachers are very anti-authority, even going so far as to put down all other teachers with broad and sweeping generalizations. This may be coming from the deep seated fear behind the Enneagram six type, which feels threatened by authority. It may not be an enlightened view at all. Or perhaps your teacher looks very peaceful. This may make you assume he or she is resting in a very deep peace. And he or she may be. But if he or she is an Enneagram type nine, the peaceful posture of the teacher may be coming in part from an ego that has suppressed anger and fear and has an attachment to peace along with an aversion to conflict. All teachers fall within some type or types. Explore the types. Ask your teacher what his or her type is. Or better yet, talk to his or her loved ones. You are likely to get a better view of it all that way.

  • Avoid extreme views about teachers and teachings. An extreme view is that “all teachers are ego-maniacs” or “I must have a teacher – no one gets enlightened alone.” These all or nothing kinds of viewpoints can be examined. You might find that you are holding onto an identity behind that viewpoint. As that identity is examined and released, the extreme viewpoints can relax. Then you can decide which teacher is right for you or whether a teacher is right for you at all. You can decide based on each teacher rather than using extreme generalizations.  There are some really great teachers out there. Don’t rob yourself of some help they may be able to give you. Also, don’t rob yourself of recognizing that a teacher can’t do it all for you. Taking responsibility for your own investigation is key. A good teacher merely helps you with that.

  • Avoid teachers who hold dogmatic or extreme views. The ego is the ego, no matter how you slice it and no matter what its content is. If a teacher is holding onto a viewpoint and demanding that he or she is right all the time, I would move to another teacher. One of the hallmarks of a strong ego is the need to be right and a lack of openness in examining the belief in one’s own thoughts, no matter how enlightened they appear to be.

  • Don’t assume teachers ought to give their time and resources for free. Thousands of years ago, teachers had less expenses. People often came to them. Many teachers have given up their day jobs in order to travel and teach. They have expenses too. Not only household expenses but website and other expenses. Instead of holding an extreme view like “no teacher should charge,” look to whether the charge or suggested donation is reasonable given travel, lodging and other expenses of the teacher. Some teachers are already fairly wealthy from jobs they held before teaching. Don’t confuse their lack of a charged fee for some enlightened view about money. They may just be wealthy. I respect a teacher who charges so that his or her spouse doesn’t have to pay all the bills of the household. That shows responsibility and integrity.

  • Ask your teacher about embodiment. If he or she says its just a concept or that it is nonsense, then watch closely. Is the teacher presenting any unresolved trauma, self-defensiveness, anxiety or addiction? If so, embodiment probably needs to happen in the teacher. The body holds so much. Watch out for teachers who start teaching right after an initial head awakening. They may be in a sort of infancy stage with their awakening. Years from now they may start realizing that their bodies didn’t come into alignment with that initial awakening at first. Stick with those teachers who have “sat” with realization for many years and have worked through a lot of issues.

  • Don’t assume a teacher is enlightened just because he or she is nice. And don’t assume a teacher is not enlightened just because he or she is direct or even mean sometimes. Sometimes an overly nice personality is a people-pleasing personality, with a teacher experiencing a deep desire to be liked or loved. Might be good to throw away the word enlightenment altogether and just look at how issues are resolved or not when they arise. A teacher who is really direct can come off as being mean, when in fact they are merely being direct. Look behind any facade. If you feel the teacher is getting angry or afraid, ask him or her about it. A teacher who is really honest about what is coming up is a good one. A teacher who appears outwardly to be psychologically and emotionally stable may have resolved many issues or may be putting on a facade. A teacher who gets self-defensive all the time might have a lot of issues to resolve. Best way to tell is to spend time with the teacher outside of meetings or ask loved ones.

  • Examine any projections towards the teacher and ask the teacher to examine projections towards you. Usually if there is a mutual investigation, this can open the door to a mutually beneficial relationship. It is easy to project all sorts of positive things onto a teacher. In those moments, you are not seeing the teacher as he or she is. You are seeing him or her from your own filter of projections, usually coming from your own deficiency story, such as “I’m not awakened” or “I’m not good enough.” Once you examine all projections, it is hard to think of a teacher as being better than you. Inquiry is the great equalizer. Use it often during meetings with teachers.

  • Leave a teacher that is abusing students in any way. No matter how awakened the teacher seems, abuse is abuse. It often comes from unresolved power and control issues within the teacher.

  • "Working with Dan has been nothing short of transformational. His open heart, honesty about his personal experience and permission to be real and not hide have helped me unlock those qualities in myself. And that has been a total game changer. I've been truly blessed, not only to have him as my KI Facilitator, but also as my mentor. Without a doubt, working with him has helped me to show up authentically, helped sharpen my tools and made me a better facilitator than I would've been on my own. I can't recommend him enough."
    Darby Totten
    Certified KI Facilitator

    Dan McLintock is a Certified Facilitator, Trainer and the Co-Developer of the Kiloby Inquiries method/approach the New Model of Recovery along w Scott Kiloby. 

    A Jacksonville, Florida native, Dan graduated Flagler College in 2004 with B.A. in Theatre Arts and English Literature and has played music professionally in bands for over 20 years. But his true passion lies in sharing the context, possibility and practicality of healing, awakening and release. 

    Dan has worked one-on-one with clients in and out of the Kiloby Center since 2017 and has an unconditionally loving and earnest approach to healing trauma, dissolving the drivers of addiction/suffering and unhooking long-held toxic beliefs about ourselves, others and the world at large. 

    He’s also worked intensively, side-by-side with Scott Kiloby for the past three years to develop the transformative tools of the Kiloby Inquiries as well as the principles and approach of the “New Model of Recovery” rooted in unconditional love and non-judgment. Much of this approach was borne out of Scott and Dan’s work with each other on their own personal traumas as well as their work with clients at the Kiloby Center. 

    Scott and Dan have simplified, demystified and condensed some of the principles and practices of eastern/non-dual spirituality into an easily accessible set of tools most anyone can understand, learn and utilize to free themselves from their own suffering. 

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    What is a Clarity Call?

    A clarity call is a free 30-minute introductory call with a Certified KI Facilitator. During a clarity call, you can ask any questions you have about KI and see whether a particular facilitator is a good fit for you.

    To book a clarity call, select your preferred facilitator (hover over their picture and click the “Meet” button). Then, enter your email and click “Book Your Call.” From there, you’ll be able to select your preferred date and time and schedule your clarity call (please double-check your time zone before booking).

    Valerie Vinger is a thriving survivor of life’s painful challenges and growth opportunities. She has worked with 12-step programs and is currently a 13-year stage-III cancer survivor. Her cancer recovery journey started with the traditional “cut, poison, burn” approach but eventually led her down a natural path to healing her body, her pain and suffering, and her buried emotions.

    Valerie first stumbled upon Scott Kiloby at a workshop of his in Boulder, Colorado in 2012, which she says is one of the most transformative experiences she’s ever had. She is filled with gratitude for the person she has become through her journey with cancer recovery and with the Inquiries, which she describes as “coming home to myself.” She loves working with people who are ready for relief from their pain and suffering.

    Julianne Eanniello is a Certified Trainer and Facilitator of both the Kiloby Inquiries and the Unfindability Inquiries (formerly called the Living Inquiries). She is also a Certified TRE Practitioner, and the developer of the somatic movement process called Natural Flow Movement. She works with clients all over the world on virtually any topic, including spiritual seeking, stress, anxiety, depression, pain and health related issues, traumatic experiences, repression, relationship issues, and general unhappiness with ourselves and our lives. She does this through online sessions, deepening courses, workshops and facilitator certification training.

    About Julianne:

    For most of my life I’ve wondered who I am and why I am here. As I was growing up, no one else seemed to be talking about these things, or even thinking about them, so I buried it deep inside and tried my best to fit in the way I was “supposed” to, all the while feeling like there was something desperately wrong with me and that I needed to fix it.

    In my early thirties, the death of a young relative left me feeling hopeless and helpless, wondering what is the point of life if we’re all just going to die anyway? This launched me on a search. I didn’t even know what I was looking for, I just knew that there was a longing – a desperate longing for something that actually made sense about life. I learned several alternative spiritual and healing techniques. I meditated. I read books and watched videos. I eventually learned of non-duality teachings, and I read more books, watched more videos, and even sat with several ‘awakened’ teachers. Yet I was still searching, something still felt missing. I was looking for the key that would unlock the mystery of me and of life.

    In my early forties, I developed a chronic health condition that left me unable to work for several years, and most days barely able to get out of bed due to extreme fatigue, brain fog and pain. I lost my banking job, and eventually lost my home. I saw a multitude of doctors to try to find out what was wrong with me, and used every tool in my metaphysical and alternative medicine toolkit to try to heal myself. My seeking became even more intense, and I was looking for a way to escape my pain.

    In 2009, I met Scott Kiloby. Since I started working with him and doing the Living Inquiries, the seeking for enlightenment has stopped, and the question of ‘who am I’ is no longer relevant. My victim stories around my health started falling away. Once I started looking at my experience through inquiry, everything changed. I stopped chasing something ‘out there.’ I no longer seek some future state of happiness or peace. This is not to say that I don’t have problems, or ever experience pain. Quite the contrary. I still use the inquiries regularly, and now there is much less avoidance or resistance to what I’m experiencing. I experience more and more freedom in the present moment, exactly as it appears.

    Having trained with Scott, I was one of the first to be certified as a Senior Living Inquiries Facilitator and Trainer in early 2012. In 2014, I moved to CA and became a business partner with Scott at The Kiloby Center for Recovery, where we worked with people suffering from addiction, anxiety, depression and more for the next 8 years.

    I can’t imagine my life without these inquiries. They saved me from myself. If you are still suffering, searching, longing… I encourage you to give this a try.

    As a young child I saw a picture of Jesus gazing lovingly at some children around his feet. I immediately longed for the unconditional love I saw in his gaze. At the same time, I was being read fairy tales, like Cinderella, and came to believe that romantic love would satisfy that longing for love.

    So, I married my handsome prince at age 19. But then, by age 29, I found myself alone, as a single mother, with four young children. I was devastated and convinced that something was terribly wrong with me, to have ended up in such a predicament. 

    I had learned to love and please others, but not how to love and respect myself. I was a “good girl,” and repressed my urges to have my own needs acknowledged and met. A wise teacher later told me, “We need to love everyone, including ourselves.” This was an amazing revelation for me!

    Learning to meditate helped immensely to bring moments of peace, while I was sitting still, though I was still being triggered regularly in my relationships. Finally, the Kiloby Inquiries taught me how to turn my attention inside in daily life – towards the trapped thoughts and emotions I’d been running from – so that I could face and release them. It was like some tender, lost children began coming home, to take their rightful place in my inner world. 

    I am honored and excited to be able to facilitate these wonderful inquiries for others.

    Sumitra lives on the Hawaiian island of Kauai with some of her family. She has four grown children and six grandchildren. For many years she lived and worked in a yoga retreat community in California, and has taught yoga, meditation and Compassionate Communication in addition to facilitating the tools of the Kiloby Inquiries (since 2013).

    Sumitra also loves working with couples and others with relationship challenges in a simple (though not always easy) deep listening practice that allows each person to be truly heard and acknowledged.

    Alina is a certified KI facilitator & a founder of Presence Alchemy – An advance mindfulness platform dedicated to liberating suffering & limiting core beliefs through Kiloby Inquiries & non-dual awareness. Presence Alchemy was born eight years into Alina’s embodiment journey of an inner shift from ego to wakefulness. Alina works one-on-one with clients, hosts online intensives and training, and organizes local retreats & workshops.
    Alec Rodrigues has been certified to facilitate inquiry since 2015 and brings a keen sense of intuition to his work. He believes that in connection, the deepest healing takes place, that the mirror of relationship is the best crucible for transformation. Through rest and inquiry, Alec has found the empowerment to meet others authentically and stop running so damn fast from the seeming “ordinariness” of life.

    He currently lives in Washington state with his girlfriend and works as a training assistant for the KI Personal Mentorship Program, where he empowers enrollees by teaching them the KI tools.