The researcher and the spiritual teacher
Since I started my PhD research on Living Transcendence a couple of years ago, I was contacted by several people who had undergone a permanent shift in consciousness / being but are keeping quiet about it. I call them "hidden mystics". They asked me if I'd be interested in speaking with them, and some of them mentioned that "there weren't that many people around who understood the kind of transformation I underwent."
This last comment surprised me, and when we spoke I asked them about it. "Surely," I said, "you are aware that there are hundreds of spiritual teachers around, whose speciality is exactly the kind of transformation you've undergone..."
From their responses I realized what the issue was. They did approach some spiritual teachers, but felt that they could not have a nonhierarchical dialogue with them. The teachers either assumed that they were coming to them for guidance or were otherwise motivated, in more or less subtle ways, to "take them under their wings" - the wings of their tradition or path and/or their personal wings.
Which just didn't work for those people. That's not what they needed and not what they were looking for.
Because I am a researcher, not a teacher, they sensed that they could have a different kind of conversation with me. And they were right.
A researcher plays a different role, of course, than a spiritual teacher. I don't necessarily have any more wisdom or insight than the people I speak with (actually, it's often the other way around). I don't guide people or accompany them. But I do know and like to listen and to ask questions, and that's often all that's needed.