Photo: Bob With
Over the years as the East has met the West there has been an influx of spiritual teachings from Eastern religions and thought. With this emergence, the idea of a guruhas become more and more commonplace in our language and culture. And, it has predominantly been the Eastern gurus that have introduced to the West the ideas of enlightenment, self-realization, meditation and zen living.
Likewise, many have followed the guidance of a guru in order to take a faster track towards enlightenment. Appropriately so, the Sanskrit word guru means that which dispels darkness.
When you imagine a guru, you may think of an 87-year old, bearded man with a thick accent. But, your guru may look very different. Your guru may be your yoga instructor, therapist, minister, healer, your dog, or even a non-physical angel or guide. For a time, my guru was my home. It taught me how to sell a home using feng shui during the house market crash.
Either way, it is those people, or perhaps, situations that have helped us along our journey of dispelling the dark to find the light. But, there comes a time when we simply outgrow our guru.
Our guru is simply an outer reflection of that which already resides within us. In other words, we have what they have, but we need their help in finding it within ourselves.
That could simply be finding our light or authenticity buried beneath the layers of darkness. Or it could be a missing aspect of ourselves that we are seeking, i.e. our shadow side.
Similar to a romantic relationship, we unconsciously seek out a guru that represents some aspect we are seemingly missing within ourselves. Thus the actual relationship with the guru can be as important as the teachings themselves.
Once that aspect has been healed or revealed, there may no longer be a need for that particular guru. Continuing the teacher-student relationship beyond this point may actually become a hindrance to one’s growth. Likewise, ending the relationship can be the most difficult and rewarding opportunity for personal growth (for the teacher and student).
At that point it may be time to find a new guru that takes you to the next level of your journey. Or, it may be time to become your own guru. In fact, our true guru is not a person, but our own heart. This inner guru will guide you to the person who will assist you next on your journey. Or it will simply be your guide – your inner guru. In Sanskrit, this principle is called the upaguru, or the teacher within.
The benefits of the teacher-student relationship can be extremely beneficial to our personal growth and cannot be understated. For this reason, it has become entrenched in the Eastern spiritual traditions and spreading through the West. A true spiritual teacher knows that the upaguruis our ultimate guide to which we should ultimately and permanently connect.
Honor and be grateful for the teachers that come into your life. But, know that your greatest teacher is your inner guru. And so honor and be grateful to yourself as well just as you would a guru.
Tisha Morris is a feng shui expert, life coach, yoga instructor, and the author of Feng Shui Your Life: The Quick Guide to Decluttering Your Home and Renewing Your Lifee. For more information, visit www.tishamorris.com.