Sometime back in the early 2000s, I had that sentence flash through my brain – be your own guru. I thought it was deeply profound and a unique insight. It had arisen in my spirit in an organic fashion, and it seemed to spring from Source itself. Surely, I was a prophet.
I briefly considered buying the domain name, writing a book, starting a movement, and being the guru that brought “be your own guru” to the people. Briefly. Very briefly.
Come to find out, a person named Betty Bethards wrote a book by that title way back in 1982 (a book I haven’t read, by the way, so this is not a plug, but it could be awesome for all I know). Then I found another book with the same title. And then several books with almost the same title — How to Be Your Own Guru, Be Your Own Change Guru, Find Your Inner Guru. It seems I wasn’t all that special.
Or, perhaps, we were evolving together and a bunch of us were getting the same message: It’s time to take ownership of our spiritual journey.
Evolutionary shifts are often messy, and the leap to being our own guru seems to have its own share of fits and starts. One of the byproducts seems to be some disenchantment with spiritual teachers. I’ve seen several instances lately of people turning away from gurus they once revered. And I’ve noticed that when people reject teachers I don’t resonate with, that is fine with me, but when they turn against those I respect, I feel an internal pushback. I want to parse the ways in which the teacher’s message must have been misunderstood. I want to bring the person back into harmony with the teacher.
But when I move beyond that initial moment, I start to accept that everyone’s journey is valid, and their rejection of a teacher is what they need in this moment, and learning to listen to our intuition, learning to be our own guru, is often a herky-jerky affair.
On my journey to self-guided spirituality, I’ve learned to hold loosely to those I revere. We’re on this journey to begin with because we’re seeking answers, and when we find someone who seems to have them, we tend to clutch their teachings with a tight grip. We become a disciple, and we want to spread the gospel of our guru. But every single time I believe I’ve found a guru who has transcended this life and the ego completely, I’ve soon been given the opportunity to witness their humanness. If I hold them loosely, though, I leave room for what rings true to wiggle into my spirit, and I stop wasting the energy of holding them hostage to my delusion of their perfection.
If we don’t hold them loosely, then when we see their humanness, we tend to reject them, call them a false prophet, and even wage our own little smear campaign. We call them narcissists and money-grubbers. We sneer when someone mentions their name. Our newfound insight into “truth” might even cause us to judge someone else’s journey just because they are currently listening to that teacher.
Please note, I’m not talking about the true charlatans. Those who have put on a spiritual disguise to collect wealth and power are their own special kind of repulsive. Preying on a person’s desire for spiritual growth is the lowest of all cons in my book.
No, I’m simply talking about the many, the increasing many, who have had an insight and felt called to share it with the world. Some might even suggest that I am in that number, and in my very small way, I suppose I am. I’ve learned some important lessons on my journey, and for whatever reason, I feel so led to make them public. So, for those who are listening, and I’m glad that you are, I urge you to hold anything I say loosely. Let it roll around in your spirit. See how it feels. Take it for a test drive. If it feels like truth, you are welcome to it, free of charge. If it doesn’t, well, I’m only human.