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The trouble with Guru’s or…Guru shmuru

July 28, 2006

You know, I just sometimes have to rant. The Guru thing really bothers me. Not that I think teachers are a bad thing, on the contrary. Teachers are most needed, especially on a spiritual path. But it’s how we relate to them that causes such distress. It’s the deification of teachers, the giving away of our power, the self doubt that flowers and blooms when we open ourselves up that allows others to take advantage of us.

It’s all very subtle. And in some instances it’s very sweet and innocent. When I found a teacher, the first thing I wanted to do was to give it over to this person to fix me. In that fantasy, she had to have a lot of power to pull that off. So I became small and messed up, and the teacher became savior and fixer up’er. I lost a lot of ground that way.

What happened to our own inner teachers? Our inner compass? The discernment of right and wrong? How have we, in this culture, learned to relate to spiritual teachers and teaching in general?

I think the greatest secret that we push away is the enormous power and potential that each one of us possesses. It’s really awesome. And most of it is untapped, because we don’t know how to access it. Yet, when we are quiet, still, letting the magic of “nothing” wash over us, ahhh, we feel it!! It doesn’t take living in a monestary or extreme practices to make this stuff come alive. But it does take us noticing. And remembering, and noticing again. And just holding it for a moment. And thanking it for being there.

I’ve been thinking about something the Dali Lama said about teachers. He said something like this, “Test a teacher for 12 years before taking them on. Spy on them. See what they are like in real life.” Wow, 12 years. I guess there is no emergency there!! I am inferring that as you go about testing your teacher, that you are also listening to your own inner teacher. That if it takes 12 years, it might not be about handing my life over to another, as we so often want to do. Especially along the “bhakti” or “heart opening” path. Instead it might be about growing up alongside a teacher. Being human right next to them. It might mean that I take on some teachings and not others. Accept the dark and the light sides, as it points out my own. It means that I don’t give up my self, push away my ego, but let it get polished as I see what happens. And maybe I’ll pass my own test as well. For am I not also testing myself just as much?

Sometimes I feel that I have soooo much to learn. It’s overwhelming. And then, a friend calls for support, and the most amazing stuff just pops right out of my mouth. Wise, sage like stuff. Where the heck does that come from I ask? Oh…it’s that inner guru. My inner guru shmuru again! (I just like sayin that – guru schmuru!) It makes it’s presence known to me in crazy wild ways. And it keeps me humble, for I never know when it will strike, but it always does. If I remember to look for it. It’s a relationship. We are equals, partners, moving hand in hand. Looking for ways to connect with each other.

That’s how I feel about spirit communication. The spirit world is there all the time. Ready for us to reach out and ask it to be with us. The spirit world is amazing, it’s layered and luscious, and so much fun to be with. My mind keeps being blown, cause I grew up fearing the unseen world. Even though I was totally fascinated by it. Elves, faries, gnomes, earth sprites, all these beings of my childhood captured my imagination. Somehow, my christian upbringing put notions of evil and scariness that separated me from my spirits. It has taken me a long time to reconnect. They are my teachers, my guides, my helpers, my friends.

So teachers come in all forms, inner and outer. Seem and unseen. We need to embrace them all, but with a lot of room to grow. It’s a great journey.

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