The Guru is Within You
Updated: Jan 18
There is a belief within spiritual teachings that one should always have a guru. The word "guru" means teacher of certain knowledge and is synonymous with tutor, sage, counselor, mentor, master and guiding light. Whoever the person is, their role is to guide their students to deepen their understanding of the context of the scriptures and philosophies being addressed. Their role is to also be a person of high moral standard who is magnetic and intelligent and deeply committed to their own spiritual practice.
When searching for the right guru, one may start with reading scriptures, books, taking courses, visiting ashrams, practicing certain techniques like yoga and meditation, watching documentaries and films and studying through research and academia. There are the monotheistic teachings of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Judaism, the philosophical teachings of the Buddha and Patanjali, there is Janism, Native American traditional beliefs and ceremonies and many more. Sometimes the search for the right guru or spiritual community takes us to different parts of the world. Sometimes it takes us on a whirlwind of adventure into enlightenment and sometimes into the depths of dissolution. But bit by bit as we refine our intentions and deepen our commitment through effort and divine guidance, our true guru will appear: whether in human or non human form.
For me, I have journeyed many years as a spiritual seeker. There have been traditional teachers such as Jesus and Buddha and many modern ones such as Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, Meditation teachers S.N. Goenka, Osho and Krishna Murti, Buddhist nun Pema Chodron, American and European spiritual teachers/authors Adyashanti, Ekhart Tolle, Marianne Williamson, Jack Kornfield and Shinzen Young. I have studied the shamanic teachings of Michael Harner, Sandra Ingerman and Gerry Starnes and have taken courses and initiations with many wonderful shamanic teachers including Norwegian Sami Ailo Gaup, Mexican Huichol tradition David Wiley and Náhuatl indigenous tradition teacher and sacred fire community founder Sherry Morgan.
What I have come to know while walking this path, is that my teachers are everywhere! Finding a guru is synonymous with finding experiences in life that teach me something deep and profound. Exploration must be a solo journey but my tribe is definitely out there! I've also realized that it's ok to examine and practice all of the different traditions and teachings because there are jewels within each. And while the teachings may vary in their dogma, the essence of them are basically the same- to cultivate awareness and love we must practice being present to every moment without judgement. While the inner journey is a solo one, we don't have to do it alone. There are beautiful and authentic teachers out there. Our intuition will never let us down- even if the lesson is a painful one of relinquishing our power to a deceitful teacher only to eventually take it back (like the "Me Too Movement"). Trust comes from experience.
This experience of connection with whatever we deem to be sacred eventually takes us to prayer. Prayer is about relationship. Connecting to a mountain, for example, opens us to nature and the vastness and mystery of life which develops awe and ultimately faith. But it's important to "be" in relationship with this guru energy- to speak to it, confide in it, ask it for assistance and to always respectfully honour and thank it. The way we view the world profoundly affects what we do in it. It also affects our minds and bodies which is why meditation and yoga are so important. When we recognize the gifts presented to us by life itself, it's easy to connect to the guru.
Everything wants to be in relationship! I am connected to others through my sorrows and my joys. We all are alone and we all are united. Understanding that my own personal healing heals others by default has been the biggest discovery on my spiritual path. It's the reason why I'm driven to cultivate gratitude and exchange. For me, finding ways to be in service seems like a good pay-back. This might mean offering my services for free, volunteering my time for a cause, picking up garbage on my walks (as a form of blessing of the planet) or simply listening to a friend who needs a sympathetic ear. Being in service also means dropping my own agendas and taking on a higher cause whenever possible.
Recently, I was partaking in a shamanic sound journey to the upper realms to meet my spirit guide. In my imagination, I traveled upwards on the back of a seagull. I then flew in a white seashell saucer to a snow covered terrain. There I met my sage. He was an elder guru- kind and wise with crystal, blue eyes. He greeted me by saying, "Well hello, it's been a while..." I asked him my question, "How do I find love?" His answer blew me away... He said, "Become
love and it will find you". So utterly profound and simple and pure. I thanked him and journeyed back home to ordinary reality. I didn't have to go anywhere but within to meet my wise sage nor did I have to seek outside of myself for the the answer... It's absolutely possible to ask for help and to receive it. We just have to be willing to trust and open ourselves to the experience. We have to recognize that seeking for the truth means seeking in our hearts.
The guru is within you.