July 15, 2011

A Love Letter to my Teacher

My teacher never lets me call him guru.

Sometimes I secretly wish he would because I love him so; because he appears to know more than is humanly possible to know and that awes me; and because I sometimes secretly long for an all-knowing, wise, guru-dude to give me the answers when I don’t know them.

But no matter how I may try to insist, or inveigle my teacher to stand on that guru pedestal for me, he will not.When I call him teacher, he calls me bud. When I look to him for mandates, he gives me back my freedom.

And of course I love him all the more for it. The only teachers you should ever offer your sovereignty to are the ones who will never take it.

In the yoga traditions, gurus are a big deal. They are revered, and likened to the sun. Like the sun, a teacher’s wisdom generously illumines the student. The student is as a moon–reflecting the light of knowledge that has been bestowed by the teacher.

Today is Guru Purnima, the guru’s moon. Tonight, the full moon is at its brightest, thus most fully reflects the sun’s brilliance. Today is a day marked for honoring teachers.

Parents. Various teachers. Friends. Lovers. You have been guru to me. Thank you.

As for my teacher? Almost everything good in my life today can be directly traced to his feet. Sound melodramatic? It’s not. My passion, my profession, my friends, the direction I have chosen for my life–all results of a meeting ten years ago that, oddly, I just can’t remember.

Today, for just this one day, I knowingly disregard my teacher’s preference, lay it all at his feet, and call him guru.

Sri Gurubhyo Namaha.

Salutations to the gurus.

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

SusannaHarwoodRubin Aug 29, 2011 5:08pm

BB – How did I miss this one by you? I was just returning from my travels, but still – yes. exactly. beautiful! I just wrote this & it linked us – no surprise! xo, brilliant one! -susanna

tanya lee markul Jul 17, 2011 1:35pm

Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

Read Elephant’s Best Articles of the Week here.
Readers voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares:
Click here to see which Writers & Issues Won.

Bernadette Birney

Bernadette Birney is a dyed-in-the-wool, freedom-loving tantrika. When she’s not busy conquering the world, taking hostages, feverishly freelancing, working on her book, and posting on-line essays, you can find her practicing the art of life-on-purpose, and teaching in Connecticut. / Bernadette has had the good fortune of studying with the great ones: she’s a certified Anusara yoga instructor, and has long pestered her Rajanaka Yoga mentor, Douglas Brooks. Known for her poetic and precise articulation, she insists that you can maintain a hard-core yoga practice and a sense of humor, too. Her classes, immersions and trainings are steeped in a life affirming philosophy that will invite you into the exploration of your own potential. / Bernadette was one of the earliest Certified Anusara yoga instructors in CT, and continues to mentor the local teaching community, leading trainings and retreats. She has contributed to Yoga Journal, Fit Yoga, Elephant Journal and Srividyalaya Amrta. She is also a Lululemon ambassador, and the author of the quirky, award-winning blog berniebirney.com .