Wake Up! ~ Hillary Rubin.

Via elephant journal
on Jun 14, 2010
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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.


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33 Responses to “Wake Up! ~ Hillary Rubin.”

  1. PurpleB says:

    I was a guru for someone once…it was very honorable. I believe it is what you make it; I have had many followers over the last year, learning to love myself has been the biggest challenge. I have started and stopped many blogs sites but keep my book site for personal reasons (obviously because I want people to read my books) thanks for sharing.

  2. claytastic says:

    Hillary, well said as always. I am with you. Having one guru has never felt right. I have spiritual advisors, but not a single guru. I learn from life and the universe. Either way you have to open to change and want a better way.

    Also, I love your new bio. You rock.

  3. Lori Latimer says:

    You have no idea how timely this is for me. Not two hours ago the universe gave me a big wake up call. Like you, I've always lived by the guru principle.

    Time to listen again.

    Thanks, Hillary.


  4. hillary says:

    you are so welcome. we are all the teacher and sometimes we don't even know it. I am sure you made a difference in their lives. thanks for stopping by and sharing. 🙂

  5. hillary says:

    Thanks Laurie for stopping by. It is a feeling and you went with that which is great. Happy you liked it and the new bio… You rock too! xo

  6. hillary says:

    Cool Lori that you found this helpful. Funny how the universe shows up and happy to be of service. Be kind and let the lessons be revealed. xo

  7. hillary says:

    Hey Jeanine, You are so welcome… keep getting quiet and listen… you may even want to ask what it is you have to learn from your challenges this is very helpful to do. You are a gift too! xo

  8. Anonymous says:


    One must be careful when they choose teachers or "gurus." Not all teachers have your back, but the universe sure does.

    I do believe that the answer is within us, and all we have to do is listen. Sometimes that jolt of being broken, separate or lost provides us the opportunity to wake up, pay attention and discover the lessons of life…What an adventure!

    Happy to be on the path with you!

  9. Fia says:

    "When you think you are broken, or separate, or lost, you are actually in the perfect place for this blessing of waking up." This really touched me. There is always hope, and even when times get rough we learn, we see, and hopefully wake up. Thank you Hillary!


  10. hillary says:

    Well stated from the heart! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your wisdom… glad to have you on the journey too!

  11. hillary says:

    Thanks Fia and glad this touched you. We get in in our minds and then it is the shift to live this way…. We all wake up a bit each time we open up to our greatness inside the challenge. xo

  12. Jess Webb says:

    Hi Hillary!
    Beautifully written, and a message that really spoke to me this morning. I am becoming more and more aware of how everything does work together to mold me into the person I am meant to be. The universe is amazing in it's complexity and simplicity. 🙂

  13. hillary says:

    Thanks Jess for popping by. Glad it touched your heart and you can see how amazing this principle is. Enjoy the universe as your teacher. 🙂

  14. LasaraAllen says:

    Beautiful piece, Hillary! Thank you.

  15. amypalko says:

    Oh Hillary, you have just tapped into one of the major questions I find myself asking my heart at this exact moment in time: whether I should be looking outside of myself for guidance, or trusting that the universe will provide guidance without the service of an intermediary. I strongly believe that the divine spark exists within each individual, and I think this belief more than anything will keep me steering towards the universe as guru. Stumbling upon your post after only just posting about this question of faith, and whether to look within or outwith, feels like confirmation that I'm on the right track for the time being.
    Thank you so much for sharing your words with the world

  16. BeyondTheMat says:

    Beautiful and touching. Thank you for the reflection.

  17. Susan Mazza says:

    Beautiful Hillary. Thanks for having me take these moments today to be awake to my commitment to continuing to wake up as I travel through this life.

  18. hillary says:

    Thanks Lasar for stopping by glad you liked it.

  19. hillary says:

    Amy, you are so welcome. No matter what teacher you choose again it all comes from within. There is nothing anyone can give you that you don't already have – remember that. I love all my teachers and always go within to digest the information before trying it on. So, keep it up and enjoy being the teacher and listening to the whispers of the universe. xo

  20. hillary says:

    You are so welcome and thanks for joining in the conversation. 🙂

  21. hillary says:

    Thanks Susan for coming by to share… It is a blessing to share with you and wake up together to our light. 🙂

  22. This is such a great post, and mentions stuff that's really important we ALL remember. Thanks so much for writing this Hillary!

  23. Julie says:

    Lovely post, Hillary, I really enjoy the discussion. I am of the many teachers model, and have never really understood (from an inside perspective) devotion to a guru — so that must not be my journey! The universe wants us to wake up – I love that.

  24. Kylie says:

    Great post. I completely agree with what you are saying about the "universe wanting you to wake up if you are open to it". I can't tell you how many times I've asked a question out loud about a difficult subject I thought I'd never find the answer to and moments later my question will be answered in the next part of the book i'm reading or sidewalk chalk on the street or a line in a song. It's amazing. And each time it happens, my faith in the universe is once again restored. You just have to notice and be aware.

  25. hillary says:

    Thanks Marian for stopping by! Glad you liked it and can see the power in this conversation. xo

  26. hillary says:

    cool julie.. thanks for the note and sharing your aha!

  27. hillary says:

    yes indeed Kylie.. we all have to be aware and notice that we are being nudged to wake up all the time. thanks for stopping by.

  28. Hillary,
    Great post, thanks so much. Growing up without a father, I sought mentors and father figures (unconsciously), yet never seemed to be able to find the one I longed for. Like you suggested, I eventually discovered that the inner guru, that connection to Spirit was really what I needed. It's been quite a journey.
    Thanks again,

  29. Abby Wills says:

    Thanks for this insightful article, Hillary. I find this topic intriguing and nuanced. During my walk on the yoga path over the past 16 or so years, I’ve met individuals who empowered me and elevated my understanding of life and love. Many of them have been in the form of children. Some of them, I never even met, like Trungpa Rinpoche. I only read his words and they pierced my heart before shattering it into pieces. Yes, pain has been an incredible guru, so have trees, rivers and stars. The list goes on and I appreciate your words about the guru principle, as I’ve experienced the Universe as the ultimate teacher.

    I’ve also encountered teachers on the path who insist that a guru is indispensable to spiritual awakening. I’ve heard the metaphor used time and time again that “bouncing between” guru’s is like digging many shallow holes rather than digging deeply in one direction. While I understand the logic, I’ve also seen how the approach of devoting to one guru can create narrow-mindedness in some cases.

    Perhaps some folks need one guru and others need many and maybe we all fluctuate in our needs at different times in our lives. Deciding either way is a just a belief system, anyway. It does not make it so.

    While I agree with you that in the West we generally don’t tend to devote to guru’s in the traditional sense, I see that we do elevate our teachers in other ways, some helpful and some not. For teachers to spread the teachings, there is a need for some level of exposure. On the other hand, sometimes there is a situation where the teacher reaches a celebrity status and the teachings can get somewhat lost in the mix. How much time is healthy for a yoga teacher to spend promoting her/his own work? At what point are we reinforcing ego?

    Not that I think ego is bad. It just is and like anything else ego can take many forms. I think ego can be a helpful vehicle when well tuned and not over charged, when it’s balanced.

    There is one point that I disagree on and it’s another topic that I’m deeply interested in: seeing difference. Rather than waking being about NOT seeing difference, my experience and understanding has led me to seeing difference more clearly, being less afraid of it and truly celebrating difference. One of my many guru’s, Swami Sivananda, taught “Unity in Diversity.” Equal vision does not mean that everything is the same, just that everything is equal in value. This concept is critical to civil rights and social justice issues as well. We are not all the same and that is such a beautiful thing! We are interconnected and equal…we can be unified in our diversity. Like a garden, we have our unique varieties that create a unified whole. Our needs are similar, and our differences are exquisite.

    Thanks for the provocative article, Hillary!

  30. Courtney says:

    Thank you so much for suggesting this article on Twitter for me Hillary! I am a firm believer that inspiration and "waking up" comes in many, many different forms. Be it a single guru or several different inspiration points in your life. There have been times where I have needed someone to guide me…to help me filter out the messages I am getting and decide on the right one. However, more often than not, I've sought out inspiration in all different places…and as you point out, it all happens when we are in the midst of a crisis. Thank you for this inspiring article!

  31. hillary says:

    Dr. Adam,

    Thank you so much for stopping by to comment. So happy you found the teacher within and saw the benefit in having teachers. And the journey never ends.

    Keep on the path,

  32. hillary says:

    YOU are do welcome Abby! Thanks for taking the time to share your heart. I love that we do celebrate diversity and right there with you. Loved this comment – Equal vision does not mean that everything is the same, just that everything is equal in value. Keep learning and teaching and growing. Much love sister!

  33. hillary says:

    Thanks Courtney for sharing. Love that you found it helpful. Keep looking inside for the teacher and around for the inspiration. 🙂