Teachers open the door but you must walk through it yourself.
-Chinese Proverb

From "Writing the Sacred Journey," by Elizabeth J. Andrew:

Make a list of people who have contributed to your spiritual development in simple and profound ways. Then, as concisely as possible, write down the primary lesson each person taught you.

Spiritual teachers show up at odd, passing moments and in long-term positions of importance; we know them through books, casual encounters in the grocery store, and mentorships that last a lifetime. Invariably teachers find their way into our memoirs, where we're able to record their wise words, patience, and the generous way they've pushed us to become more perfect ourselves. Whenever I read [Thomas Merton's] Seven Storey Mountain, I am reminded of the man who gave the book to me. He was a member of the board of the retreat center where I worked for a number of years-a quiet Scandinavian pastor who paid me the kindness of listening. He taught me that silent receptivity can be more influential in a board meeting than the constant expression of opinion. Life is peopled with teachers. Our spiritual memoir can pay respect to their pervasive influence.

Because teachers play a prominent role in many seekers' journeys, it's no surprise that a great number of spiritual memoirs revolve around teachers and their lessons.

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