A Spiritual Quandry.
Traditionally, the place of a teacher or guru was of vital importance to the spiritual path. But these days…perhaps fueled by a more modern, democratic urge, very few of we spiritual seekers lay our devotion at the feet of an experienced master.
Ever wonder if having a Guru is for you? It’s a question I’ve asked myself for years. I do know many people who have gurus, and many more who do not. Some have teachers they regard and learn from. Either way, the bottom line is—
the universe wants us to wake up.
I heard these words while sitting with one of my teachers, Sally Kempton, for a meditation workshop on practical enlightenment. I had heard this message countless times before, but this time the words penetrated my being…there was a profound shift for me.
We live in interesting times, where spiritual ideas are offered up in car ads, and the word enlightenment isn’t weird anymore. Mainstream has caught the “wake up” bug that just keeps expanding in the same way our universe does.
What does it mean to wake up? You may be thinking, “Hey, I wake up every morning.” And as much as that is true, in spiritual terms you are probably still sleeping. To be awake, as I understand it, is to feel a connection to everything on the planet, to see no difference, and to be essentially egoless — if that is at all possible, I don’t know.
I met my first real guru in my twenties. I was living in N.Y.C. and had just gotten a job as a fashion editor. The photographer I had to work with was a devotee of a guru. I walked into her home which felt like a guru’s home — it was my first time to hear chanting in Sanskrit playing in her place, to see pictures on an altar. She had all these words from her guru written on her walls. It looked like a very cool art installation, but it was simply devotion for her guru. There was so much love in that space it was magical.
I was in awe and totally curious. I asked questions because I had grown up with a somewhat Jewish background, and the whole golden calf story just kept coming up for me. I’d been taught that you never bow or look to any statue of any kind — in that studio there were plenty of statues around to look at! I learned what a guru was and how they give you lessons and practices to wake up to your own bliss — the bliss of enlightenment — how they rid of your suffering and allow you to be in complete joy of god.
I was still curious to learn more about her specific guru. I took my first trip to the ashram, met the photographer’s guru, and was touched by a peacock feather after I was introduced to her. She looked right into my soul. I had a really incredible experience comparable to something I’d only had on drugs. I was curious if this was for me and hung out in the community in N.Y.C. and learned a lot.
I never chose to have a guru. What worked for me was to chose to learn from beings of light, beings who all spoke of love, peace, joy, connection to god, enlightenment, and of how to be awake and to live your life with great love of the divine. I am a seeker wanting to wake up.
The universe and life has become my guru. Instead of having a specific guru teach me lessons or help me work to grow past my issues or what seem to be flaws, I follow what is called the guru principle. This principle is that the universe is our guru, our teacher. It can be a song you hear in the car at the perfect time to open you up to your truth. It can be a person who says something that opens your heart. It can be a health issue or divorce that becomes your teacher. We can learn from everything when we open to this way of life. The universe wants us to wake up!
The universe brings us exactly what we need even if it seems to be more than what we bargained for. After you make it through the troubled times, there is usually a lesson. You can even look back right now and see a time you went through a breakup or injury and learned so much about yourself. This is the universe acting as your guru.
The main point I want to share with you is that if you choose or not choose to be a guru you can wake up. If you are drawn to choose one to follow and that feels authentic for you then follow that. What is important is not to judge either way. Having teachers is how we learn and ultimately we are the student, the teacher and the universe always has our back.
When you think you are broken, or separate, or lost, you are actually in the perfect place for this blessing of waking up. If there is something you want to learn, ask the universe to provide the answer for you. Then watch your breath, connect to your heart and feel the teacher within yourself. Do your best to practice keeping your mind, heart, and body open to receive this guidance, and see you are perfect just as you are.
Hi, I am Hillary Rubin and thirteen years ago I thought that my life as I knew it was over. Just beginning to achieve success as a fashion publicist with Prada, my world came to crashing standstill when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Determined to craft a future on my terms, I chose to embrace alternative therapies using Yoga as my personal Foundation to find my true path to my healing. Making the choice to work with alternative modalities led me to live symptom & medication free today. I am now 38 and I continue to rock the health and wellness industry by helping thousands of people achieve a mind/body connection that heals, reduces pain and leads you to optimal health. Great media leaders like Fit TV, Yoga Journal, LA Times, Fit Yoga, LA Yoga Magazine and American Fitness Magazines have featured my work. I would for the next life I change to be yours and want to give you a FREE gift – Reduce Stress & Begin Living Wellness Audio Series at my website.
hot on elephant
Elephant Journal’s Holiday Gift Guide 636 shares A letter to the Anger that refuses to Leave Me. 525 shares Waylon’s favorite Ethical Gifts. 9 shares Join: Elephant’s Winter 2017 Academy. 28 shares Trevor Noah just won my Respect. 2,535 shares December Forecast: Letting Go of 2016 & Leaning into 2017 with Love. 6,277 shares Year of the Fire Rooster 2017: What to Expect. 635 shares How to Say Goodbye to that almost-great Love. 1,480 share For the Women who are Trying to Do & Be Everything to Everyone. 3,028 shares How to Say “F*ck it” to Fear & Anxiety (& Start Living your Life!). 831 shares