We have followed stories of prophets and messiahs, gurus and yogis, saints, angels and gods. And...to a large degree, created myths that lead to the worship of others - hoping that we will finally find the ultimate answer. So much of our energies have gone into making sure that after we die, something good will happen to us. We will float in the sky - at peace. Or...if we haven't been an exemplary being, perhaps - we'll be in an eternal blast furnace (not a good things, to say the least).
But...I tend to look at life a different way. Do good things because that's the right thing to do. Show love, because we all need it. Treat others with respect because that's how things should be. After I'm gone, well - who knows. I haven't met anyone who has come back from the dead to explain to me what does or doesn't happen "on the other side." My choice is to live as a loving, caring person. That is what I find the secret to be. Believe me...I have had my share of metaphysical experiences, but would rather view them as the abilities we all have within us, yet...too few of us have taken the time to understand, or master them.
That brings me to the point of the title of this post: "Except for one - there are no spiritual leaders...only guides." What one normally thinks of as spiritual leaders shouldn't be worshiped, because - that belittles you as an equal person to them. Too many of these so-called leaders are great at making themselves appear to be better than others and worthy of some kind of a hierarchical position, which then makes others subservient to them. Usually, that also involves power and money. However, there are some people who are certainly worth being embraced as a guide. People with wisdom and knowledge - individuals who are humble and have learned and can pass on their experiences so that you may learn as well - and those who take the time to listen and address your needs, sometimes before they do things for themselves.
Take a good look at yourself...and realize that YOU are your own spiritual leader. No one else. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. The secret and purpose of life is that you're here - to love, to care for yourself and others, to be good and do no harm, to educate, learn, and become wise. All the rest, as I see it, is a business. When it comes down to it, believe in yourself...but learn from others. You'll soon find out how far that can take you.