Be Your Own Guru

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.

Everything Happens for a Reason . . .

. . . at least that’s what folks say.  But, is it true?  Like many matters of faith, and this is indeed a matter of faith, it’s impossible to prove. If you could prove it, then it wouldn’t be faith.  

Not being provable, however, does not negate the value of a belief. It’s impossible to prove, for example, that Jesus was an actual person who lived, you know, right around the same time someone was inventing the calendar.  There are some theologians who contend that Jesus or Yeshua or Joshua, as he might more accurately be called, was a creation of the early Gnostic Christians, a kind of avatar of perfection, a character specifically developed to be a model and a cornerstone for this new religious belief.  But even if they are right, even if Jesus was a fictional character and not a real person at all, that doesn’t necessarily devalue his role in shaping world thought. Provability is not always the standard by which we can measure value. 

So, what value is there in believing that everything happens for a reason, regardless of whether it’s true or not? 

We tell ourselves that everything happens for a reason because we’re trying to make sense out of things that make no sense.  Sometimes life is a mystery. Sometimes it’s even a tragedy. For people of faith — whether that’s a traditional faith running as a thread through a particular religious tradition or whether it’s a private tendency toward hope — it’s important and even vital for this existence to fit into some grand scheme. We want to see a design, at first invisible, become gradually clearer, like those magic eye pictures that look like nothing more than busy wallpaper until we shift our focus, look through the picture somehow, and then, as if it should have been obvious the entire time, an image pushes through the chaos and becomes clear.

Believing that everything happens for a reason can be the reason we even start the practice of looking for patterns in our lives.  And those patterns are there. Of that, I have no doubt. I’ve seen patterns play out in my own life, and sometimes patterns within patterns, the events of my life acting as so many interconnected cogs in a giant machine. 

Believing that everything happens for a reason can also comfort us when nothing else will.  When we can’t understand anything about a situation, resting in the faith of believing there is a rhyme and reason to it can bring a kind of peace. But, the comfort of “everything happens for a reason” is a personal comfort. It can be a reminder we use for ourselves that everything will turn out okay, but it doesn’t always land quite right when it comes from someone else. 

I overheard someone at a funeral a few years back as they grasped the hands of the newly widowed woman struggling to make it through the unimaginable.  They said, “Well, everything happens for a reason,” and you could almost hear the internal cringe of several of us standing nearby.  Here’s a small piece of advice; do with it what you will. In that situation, the situation where someone has experienced tremendous loss, say that you feel for them, say you’re praying for them, say you’re carrying them in your heart — say just about anything except everything happens for a reason.  Even if you believe it’s true. Even if you know THEY believe it’s true.  Just don’t say it.  Not then. Not ever. Keep it for yourself.  

Actually, I might suggest that when people are really hurting we should set our “spiritual-ness” down and just be with them.  The hurt they are feeling isn’t in their divine nature anyway; it’s in the very human, fragile person they are, and the hurt they are experiencing is real for that person.  Any spiritual attempt to explain it, suppress it, redirect it, or enlighten it is often, in reality, acting to negate it, belittle it, and self-righteously sweep real pain away as if it was insignificant dust on an otherwise shiny life. 

Sometimes people need comfort, true and gentle comfort, not an aphorism or a spiritual sound bite.  “Everything happens for a reason” may be true, but “I’m so sorry this happened to you” is far more comforting.  And human. And real. 

And if our heart is right when we say it, no one will need faith to believe it’s true. 


Most lessons I have to 
learn more than once.
When they first come,
I see the truth.
I get it.  

And then I 

            Judgment of others 
            is a mirror 
            for my own inadequacies.

            Right action is that
            which is not attached 
            to the outcome.

            Insanity is performing 
            the same behavior and 
            expecting a different result. 

I know these things, 
but I forget because 
the world gets busy, 
the noise gets louder, 
and the distractions win. 
I forget because I’m human, 
and humans forget. 

            Do unto others 
            as you would have others 
            do unto you.  

            Fear and anger 
            cannot grow in a 
            garden of gratitude.


I forget so I can 
There is no joy 
in mowing a short lawn
or vacuuming a clean rug 
or washing a spotless dish. 
The satisfaction of the scythe
is in the tall grass.  

            Nothing exists 
            other than 
            right now. 

            The opposite of love is not 
            hate; the opposite of love 
            is fear.

            The path to awakening 
            leads through the heart, 
            not the head. 

Faith is knowing that
what we learned once
is never lost, 
and it will return
when we need it. 

            These three remain: 
            faith, hope, and love, 
            and the greatest is love.

            What we put out 
            comes back to us

            Love is 
            all you

© 2020 Deb Moore, All Rights Reserved