Book Review: The User’s Guide to Spiritual Teachers

New Book Explores the Virtues—and Dangers—of Spiritual Teachers

A spiritual teacher isn’t an ordinary member of the clergy. They are a perceptive, caring, trustworthy human being who provides one-to-one, in-depth spiritual direction.

Celebrities such as Madonna and Russell Brand, and writers such as Elizabeth Gilbert and Deepak Chopra, have all worked with spiritual teachers. So have millions of people from almost every major religious tradition—as well as millions of others who are spiritual but not religious.

A new book, The User’s Guide to Spiritual Teachers, provides invaluable guidance for anyone who is curious about spiritual teachers—or who wants to work with one but doesn’t know how or where to begin.

This user-friendly book also offers practical wisdom for anyone who already has a spiritual teacher, and wants to make the most of that relationship.

Still more important, The User’s Guide to Spiritual Teachers helps readers spot and avoid the predators, narcissists, charlatans, and cult leaders who call themselves spiritual teachers—and who have ruined many people’s lives.

The book’s author, Scott Edelstein, has studied happily and productively with spiritual teachers for the past four decades. He has also served as editor and literary agent for several spiritual teachers. A longtime practitioner of both Judaism and Buddhism, he is a committed proponent of serious spirituality in all forms and traditions.

The User’s Guide to Spiritual Teachers was published on March 21 by Wisdom Publications. Wisdom also published Edelstein’s previous book, Sex and the Spiritual Teacher, which examines the all-too-common problem of sexual misconduct among spiritual teachers.

Edelstein’s website on spiritual teachers, http://www.thespiritualteachersite.com, provides more information on the subject, as well as book excerpts, related articles, and links to media interviews with Edelstein.

The User’s Guide to Spiritual Teachers
By Scott Edelstein
Publisher: Wisdom Publications, Somerville, MA
ISBN-10: 0861716108
ISBN-13: 978-0861716104

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Publishers Weekly: “In this short handbook, Edelstein guides readers through choosing and working with spiritual teachers. Drawing on his four decades of experience working with spiritual teachers as an editor and agent as well as a student, Edelstein addresses a surprisingly wide range of topics to help readers make the most of their relationships with spiritual teachers.”

Kathleen Dowling Singh, author of The Grace in Living: “A small book with a big message.”

David Rynick, author of The Truth Never Fails: “A wonderful resource. This guide is down-to-earth and offers a broader perspective about what to expect and not expect from spiritual teachers.”

Tim Burkett, author of Nothing Holy About It: “Finally, a well thought-out, easy-to-read guide to help folks assess whether a given teacher may be prone to abuse his power over them or is genuinely interested in empowering them.”

James Ishmael Ford, author of If You’re Lucky, Your Heart Will Break: “Scott Edelstein’s guide is simple, practical, and useful. It cuts through most of the confusion in seeking a spiritual guide with the clarity of someone who has been through it all. I recommend it to anyone embarking on the spiritual path, or thinking maybe they should be looking for a spiritual guide.”

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