October 13, 2014

The New Guru: Life as the Teacher.


In this third and final segment of “The New Guru,” I want to briefly review the main points of what I said in part two.

Is the guru dead? Not at all. How could it be? If you define guru as the process of awakening, then the guru is here to stay.

But guru in the form of a spiritual teacher who abuses his/her power and his/her students? That needs to change.The new guru is one who prioritizes being a decent human being with kindness, compassion and respect for others.

The new guru is the one who accepts the role and responsibility that comes with the seat of teacher and is courageous enough to be vulnerable and admit his/her mistakes.

The guru is the one who is a pillar of support for others in their darkest hour and time of need. They are willing to be the torchbearer of consciousness and put themselves in the way of grace to make a difference in people’s lives, to instill inspiration and hope, and to offer perspectives that challenge our smallness.

The new guru leads by example. The only way anyone can authentically be with someone else in their darkness is by doing their own deep inner work, to be with and understand their own darkness. Only to the extent you can be with your own pain, are you able to be with others in theirs. You must get to know all parts of yourself: shadow and light. This is the yoga of the new age.

Embracing your shadow does not have to be a gloomy process. But as Brene Brown says in her CD set, “Men Women and Worthiness,” which I paraphrase here, “You need to walk through the swamplands of your shame in order to get to know how it operates.”

Naming your shame is one of the ways to “cut shame off at the knees.” According to Brown, what feeds shame is secrecy, silence and judgment. What diminishes shame is naming it, exposing it and having self-empathy. The yoga of shame is the process of bringing your darkness into the light with self-acceptance and self-compassion.

In addition to the guru being the power of the universe that reveals your true nature, it’s also the power that conceals your true nature. When you learn how to stand in your shadow and face the truth of it, and really understand what’s driving your behavior, you will learn a lot about yourself.

With the proper support, environment and love, you can overcome these debilitating, self-sabotaging patterns. Often, you can learn more from your darkness than from your light. Embracing both light and dark is the road to true fulfillment and happiness.

I am very moved and touched by all of the students in my recent courses who’ve had the courage to explore their shadow with me. Like rich, deep, dark soil, the shadow is the fertile ground where seeds of light are planted. It is through the integration of the dark, that your authentic light grows brighter.

But be careful of becoming stuck in your shadow. Too much “gu” becomes “gooey.” It will swallow you whole. But also be careful of “ruing” too much, going for the light only. Debbie Ford’s book, “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers” describes how in our enthusiasm to embrace the light, we sometimes disassociate from the dark.

In the course of my 34-year spiritual quest, believe me, I’ve “gued” and “rued” to the extreme! But through that process, I’ve learned how to source my own inner guru, my own inner light. This light reveals itself when you go to the place in the middle, deep in your heart. When you access your heart you recognize you are already whole and complete. You have a unique gift to give this world. When you discover your gift and begin giving it, your life becomes a blessing.

One of the beautiful things to remember about gurus is that their highest purpose, and perhaps their only purpose, is to point the way to your own inner guru, known as the sadguru, (the true guru) deep in your heart. After all, that’s what the acronym guru means: (G) Gee, (U) You (R) Are (U) You!

The spiritual journey is never finished. It is an ever-evolving process of awakening. I am excited to be on this path of awakening together. May we support each other to embrace our shadows and bravely grow our light in community, with great love, acceptance, respect and humility. I bow to the guru within you.



Love elephant and want to go steady?

Sign up for our (curated) daily and weekly newsletters!



Editor: Travis May

Photo: Wiki Commons

Leave a Thoughtful Comment

Read 0 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Todd Norian