xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement

Dize: Influential spiritual leaders have certain characteristics in common

What characteristics do ordinary people have in common that make them influential spiritual teachers? See if you can figure out the common characteristics with the following four examples.

Fourth on the list of the Watkins 100 Spiritual Teachers is Eckhart Tolle. After a phase of severe depression, he experienced a deep spiritual awakening overnight, which instilled a sense of peace and bliss in him. His first book, “The Power of Now” was recommended by Oprah Winfrey and sales shot up to make the New York Times Best Seller list. It has been translated into 33 languages. Next, Tolle partnered with Oprah to start webinar sessions, based on his next book, “A New Earth.” These sessions attracted millions of followers. Tolle was selected as one of the speakers at the Vancouver Peace Summit, with dignitaries such as the Dalai Lama. One interesting note is that the list changes each year and the Dalai Lama, who was No. 2 on the list, has dropped to third, being replaced by Oprah Winfrey who is now second.

Advertisement

Fifth on the Watkins 100 list is Desmond Tutu who was a South African Civil Rights leader who worked to end South Africa's strict racial segregation policy, known as apartheid. Because of his courage and perseverance in his continued quest for equality of all races in South Africa, especially black and white, he was awarded the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize.

Sixth on the list of Watkins 100 and Time Magazine’s list of 100 “people who shape the world” is Rhonda Byrne who is well known for “The Secret” book and DVD. Byrne advocates the belief that we can all transcend our suffering by not falling prey to negative thoughts.

Advertisement

Eight on the Watkins 100 list is Edith Eger. At age 16, she was sent to Auschwitz, where she lost both her parents and was forced to dance ballet for the infamous Josef Mengele. When the camp was liberated, she was pulled from a pile of bodies, barely alive. Today, Dr. Edith Eva Eger’s internationally acclaimed psychologist’s book, “The Choice” explains how many of us live within a mind that has become a prison and shows how we can free ourselves. Tutu says her book is a gift to society.

Here are some characteristics that identify these spiritual leaders:

  • They lead others into their own encounters with God. One of the most effective things about Jesus’ lifestyle was that He didn’t switch into another mode to introduce His disciples to the reality of God. His interacting with the Father was so natural that others around Him could not help but do the same.
  • They lead others to discover their own purpose and identity. A spiritual leader genuinely wants others to fully discover who they were made to be.
  • They lead others into transformation. Followers discover that their own transformation can happen.
  • They impact their surroundings. Spiritual leaders recognize that they can change the atmosphere of a room or a relationship; they can restore vision and hope.
  • They help people see old things in new ways. Jesus called people to look at old beliefs through new eyes. One of my favorite hymns explains this: Open my eyes that I may see, Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me; … Silently now I wait for Thee, Ready, my God, Thy will to see; Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit Devine.

Spiritual leaders gain a following not because of a position held, but because of who they are. They intuitively recognize they are serving something and Someone larger than themselves and their own objectives

Thanks be to God that spiritual leaders possess an innate perspective which enables these characteristics.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement