You Are Your Own Guru
by Charles Coristine
When you think of a guru, you probably picture a teacher. A wise, spiritual person entrusted to give you guidance. It’s true that “guru” is a Sanskrit term for guide, expert, or master of a certain knowledge or field, usually a spiritual one. But everyone has a spiritual mechanism built inside them. Although it can take the external influence of a teacher to help find it, we need to remember that ultimately, we are our own gurus.
Our inner guru is the force that drives the heroic journey of our lives. We enter the unknown, try to make sense of the chaos around us, and have to come to terms with our mortality. It takes courage to find what is best in ourselves in the face of life’s trials and tribulations, victories and defeats, and joys and heartbreaks. But when we understand that this life is just another stop along a longer journey for us, the reward is a feeling of being alive, of being in unison with all that is in the universe, and coming to peace with death. Life is truly a hero’s journey, and the hero within us is our inner guru.
We aren’t born recognizing, or even needing the inner guru. We are born completely connected, one with everything. As adolescents, the external pressures of society cause us to develop egos. In spite of its bad reputation, our ego has the important job of ensuring our survival. It helps us navigate adolescence and early adulthood, giving us the drive to do things like get into college, find a job, a home, and start a family. But the ego can also make us fearful and self-involved, and as we get older our inner guru longs for something deeper.
Eventually, we reach a point at which we want to tear down the walls we’ve built around ourselves. This point is often triggered by a physical, emotional, or perceptual disturbance that leads us to recognize a profound suffering. The suffering has existed long before this event, but only after this point can we recognize it and finally push back against the ego with clear objectivity.
We then feel an urge to become someone who is “fully human,” someone who realizes the fullness of their own potential, and the inner guru hungers for integration with the universe in order to face the unknown. The path to integration is gradual and begins with observation. Once we start observing, we begin to recognize the ego as its own entity and look to quiet it when it’s not needed. We can become better at this through meditation and contemplation. As our inner guru becomes ready for a louder purpose, we become less reactive; more contemplative and compassionate.
Simply, I believe that the ego carries our soul through the early years, and when we’re ready, the inner guru takes over and guides us the rest of the way home. The more we relate to the guru, the more we realize our universal predicament and are able to truly see others. We see their suffering, we see their chains, and we become kinder and more patient. We feel more connected to everything, including animals, nature, and the planet.
As love and compassion take us to higher levels, energy begins to move around our bodies in more profound ways. Our bodies are like radios, tuned into one frequency while all around us are other stations that we just don’t pick up. The more connected we become, the more previously unnoticed frequencies we tune into. We open to new possibilities of our existence as we begin to pick up subtleties and connections between everything. Oneness, a once abstract idea, becomes possibility. Oneness means having no past or future, only the present moment. There is no space or time continuum, just eternity. There is no fear, just joy, peace, harmony, and unconditional love. We are all together, we are all one.
As we go along our journey, we also sharpen our intuition. Intuition is defined as the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. It’s something you just “know” is true. The ideas of oneness and the meaning of life are examples of concepts of which intuition has a better understanding than the practical mind. The more we use our intuition, the “wiser” and more in tune with the ebb and flow of life we become.
I believe that intuition and inspiration are our evolutionary superpowers. They are our inner guru. A teacher, or a physical guru, is very important when you are initially trying to learn a concept, but to achieve mastery it must be nurtured and developed by your intuition. When we take in teachings, readings, and new ideas, our intuition absorbs and filters the information according to the needs of our own being before allowing it to help us grow and integrate further. Our biological aging process makes it easier to develop ourselves spiritually as we experience a natural quieting. We can’t see as well, can’t hear as well, we aren’t as physically busy. It’s almost by design, so that we have more time to listen to our intuition.
Our personal hero’s journey is really a journey inside. First, we journey to find our real voice, our inner guru. We then listen, trust, and start doing the work. Though surrendering all our baggage, we finally find our stillness. Stillness is a frequency that lets you know you are close to home. Steeped in stillness, we become ready to take the next hero’s leap and transcend this experience for another on this long journey.
When wellness guides your spirit, you are your own guru.