October 24, 2013

The Guru Inside.

“Surrender to the guru inside.” ~ Ram Dass

My pulse quickens upon hearing these words. I feel an uncomfortable curiosity.

Can I truly have a guru inside me? Yes, me?

After all, I am quite ordinary. I have felt the practicality of another “thing” grow inside me; in fact, two of them at two separate times. Certainly, my sons have given me a higher sense of awareness about my self, yet a “guru inside” me. Really? Me?

This idea seems as exotic as when I felt the first fluttering flips of a baby in my belly.  Hypnotizing, and weird. The beginning of a journey.

Admittedly, I am the adventurous type, so the words, “surrender to the guru inside,” keep spinning around in my head. I tap my foot, wondering how to surrender.

A guru? The word provokes an image of an enlightened being reclining on burgundy and gold pillows with sparkles in his eyes, ready to test my knowledge and my actions. Or maybe, it is a wise elder, holding the quietness of thoughts before speaking from a space of reflection.

Honestly, I know nothing about gurus. I have never studied with an official one (although my graduate advisors are gurus), so the idea of a “guru inside” sounded daunting, but I enjoy the challenge of stepping beyond my comfort zone.

I imagine what she, my guru, looks like: stubborn, yet playful; furry, but silky; smart, yet not overbearing; jingly silver bracelets with brilliantly colored clothes, but practical in design; sweet, yet devilish at times.

So why do I need her? Better yet, why does she need me? To be, she whispers.

Yes! That’s it! Move, glide, laugh, cuddle, yell, sing, hug, shout, dance, give quick kisses or long slow ones, tiptoe to the fridge for a midnight spoonful of vanilla ice cream, and then hold my hand in those moments when salty tears roll upon my lips. Sure, my guru needs me as much as I need her, or at least that is what my intuition feels.

Although, I come back to the question:  how do I surrender to the guru inside?

Do I offer bouquets of unopened roses and gladiolus spruced with a bit of eucalyptus? Should I twirl around in dance? Offer jokes?

Or is surrendering like pouring salt on an ice-covered sidewalk; a crackling as the solid piece begins to open, fault lines rippling to the edges. Shields are cracked open.Yet I am not cold, nor do I have shields; that’s not my style. Salt is not the way to surrender for me.

Perhaps I should just slow down and listen; sit under an oak, turn off the cell phone, hold that cup of tea and listen to “nothing.”

Settle into being in the moment with the moment.

She may whisper: try to ask why a little less often, and explore the “feelings” behind the questioning because it is there that I will find the answers. Me? Really? A guru inside?

Behind the question is me. What am I feeling?

Hah. Simple, right?

Of course, I must face the challenges that roll into my path. I am learning to surrender into the experiences of letting go of my ego and connecting with my heart, moments that tend to arrive unexpectedly in acts of writing poetry.

I surrender into the feelings, so that I create like this recent poem:


i wish

there was a tunnel

to the center of the earth.

one long tube constructed of glass.

of course, i know it is not possible,

but does anything possible ever happen?

at the edge of this glass tunnel with

a harness wrapped around my hips,

i belay


touching the sides,

feeling the heat of an igneous vein,

lava cutting through,

but at the edges

where it cools,

i see how the heat

metamorphosed the surrounding country rock,

the way in which some experiences

are like these veins of lava

that won’t break the surface where

your feet walk on exposed granite outcroppings,

yet i am

repelling through this glass tunnel

to the center of the earth, so

i am safe

in my observations,

especially when i reach the bottom,

or the center,

i’ll sit behind the glass,

the lava glowing in the dark

with intensity

like sitting too close to a campfire, 

as your body overheats, and

it’s hard to step away

because you’ll be chilled, yet

stepping back

into the quiet darkness,

you look up,

see the stars

that burn hotter than the campfire,

which will turn to embers,

then to gray ash,

while you dream

curled up in your sleeping bag,

which could be a tunnel to the center of the earth.

In the golden dry heat of summer, I wrote my poem before hearing the words “surrender to the guru inside.” Subconsciously, I believed that I could be “safe in my observations.”

Yet, now, I recognize that to surrender means falling into our feelings, and if we are lucky, then cultivating them into an act of art. Surrendering to the guru inside is not about being safe.

Honestly, my guru remains a bit of a mystery for me; but I imagine she loves to be feed the sweet grapes of music, poetry and paintings. And I find myself surrendering to her with each new act of creativity, especially ones that come while delving into those uncomfortable spaces.


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Ed: Bryonie Wise

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