How To Be Your Own Guru



“When we have begun to take charge of our lives, to own ourselves, there is no longer any need to ask permission of someone.” — George O’Neil To a visitor who asked to become his disciple the Master said, “You may liv...

“When we have begun to take charge of our lives, to own ourselves, there is no longer any need to ask permission of someone.” — George O’Neil

To a visitor who asked to become his disciple the Master said, “You may live with me but don’t become my follower.”

“Whom then shall I follow?”

“No one. The day you follow someone you cease to follow Truth.”

The narrative by Anthony de Mello underlines the theme, Truth is found within and not in someone’s teachings.

We must avoid following other people’s truth, mainly when everyone is searching for answers of their own. A teacher can take you so far in your knowledge while your inner wisdom has access to absolute intelligence.

No one is infallible, by virtue of our human existence we are prone to mistakes and gurus are no different.

Now and then, you will come across a quotation in a novel or overhear a line in a film that resonates with you. I urge you to explore this further and be curious of the underlying message behind it.

At the time of writing this, three incidents related to pursuing my dreams appeared as messages. The first in a quote online, the second a passage in a book and the third in a film dialogue later that evening.

To another person, these coincidences hold little weight, though something within me resonated with the messages. Call it universal intelligence or mere coincidence. However, you describe it, our ancient elders took note of the signs in everyday life.

“You need to have the willingness to slow down, even stop, and fully digest what you hear, because ultimately, the truth of any teaching can never be found in the words. Rather, the truth is found in that which is revealed inside of our own selves. By exploring in this way, we make the teachings our own,” affirms American spiritual teacher Adyashanti.

Truth is revealed through self-exploration.

Occasionally, the answers you seek will appear at inopportune moments. Welcome these insights, for they hold significant clues to your life’s journey.

I’m reminded of the tale when human beings were gods and abused their wisdom. So God took it away from them and hid it where it could never be found.

Where to hide it was the question. God called a council of chief gods to help him decide. “Let's bury it deep in the earth,” said the chief gods. God responded, “No, that will not do because humans will dig into the earth and find it.”

Then the gods said, “Let's sink it in the deepest ocean.” Again God responded, “No, not there, for they will learn to dive into the ocean and will find it.”

“Let's take it to the top of the highest mountain and hide it there.” But once again God replied, “No that will not do, because they will eventually climb every mountain to reclaim their wisdom.” Then the gods gave up and said, “We don’t know where to hide it, because there’s no place on earth or the sea that humans will not reach.”

God thought for a long time and replied, “Here’s what we’ll do. We will hide their wisdom deep in the centre of their own being, for humans will never think to look there.”

All the gods agreed this was the perfect hiding place, and the deed was done. Since that time humans have roamed the earth: digging, diving, climbing and exploring – searching for something contained within themselves.

Wisdom is readily available and needn’t be discovered in some ancient texts. The key however, is to be silent enough to tune in to the inner counsel that communicates to us.

“No one and nothing outside of you can give you salvation, or free you from the misery. You have to light your own lamp. You have to know the miniature universe that you yourself are.” — Banani Ray

A Guru will advise the seeker from personal experience and sometimes inner wisdom. No matter how enlightened, they are human beings and cannot know what life has in store for you. They cannot expect what lies ahead in your journey, so you must trust your own path.

It was the Buddha who cautioned following other people’s teachings centuries ago, “Do not give up your authority and follow blindly the will of others. This way will lead to only delusion.”

We must own our mistakes however painful, for they hold clues to the realisation of the Truth.

I appreciate the passage from teacher and author Mary O'Malley in her book What's in the Way Is the Way, “Truth walks toward us on the paths of our questions. In other words, when you ask a question without looking for an answer, you create an opening where truth can speak to you.”

The biggest adventure you will embark upon is to discover your Truth and live it to the best of your ability. I relate it to tuning a radio station. You might dial one direction and miss reception, only to dial the other way and land on the correct frequency.

Our life’s passage is a fleeting moment in eternity, what appears as the wrong turn is life unfolding as it should.

Be wary of handing over your authority to another since they may disappoint you. This is apparent in relationships where one partner delegates their happiness or emotional wellbeing to the other, only to realise later they were deceived.

If you assign your faith in others, you may suffer because few people will live up to your expectations. Our expectancies kill many a relationship because we believe we are owed something. People will let you down when their Truth does not agree with yours.

“If you get real comfortable, it’s less likely you’ll make a lot of progress. If you’re always seeking pleasure, you’re not necessarily in Truth," affirms author Charlene Belitz and Meg Lundstrom in The Power of Flow.

To be your own Guru, connect with the spirit of life guiding itself through you.

If you’re constantly besieged by noise or other people, the voice within is drowned out. Often, the answers you seek will appear through an inner knowing, intuition or via messages or symbols.

Let go of worry that governs your mental landscape. It’s no surprise we live in a world overshadowed by news events that occupy our attention. Our brains are alerted to imminent fear because we sympathise with news stories, instead of turning our attention to our inner wisdom.

Similarly, trust your intuition to make informed choices and you will have discovered the keys to life.

Author Penney Peirce affirms this, “Common truth signals include tingling or chills, bubbling warmth, leaning toward something, feelings of expansion and energy rising in the body. Perhaps you feel something click into place or “ring” true.”

Trust in yourself no matter the decisions, for they serve your greatest good. There are key lessons incorporated within every life event. There are no mistakes, only the willingness to align ourselves with our noblest Truth.

As a final point, create space for wisdom by clearing clutter from your life like: unwanted material possessions, disempowering thoughts, harmful relationships and unfulfilled career opportunities. Simplifying life helps you let go of unwanted complications and concentrate on what is meaningful.

As the Master said to the visitor, to follow someone is to deny your own wisdom, contained within your rich supply of knowing.

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