If you want to reach enlightenment, a state of ecstasy and joy, then the way to get there is only with a guru. That is at least what all ancient and more recent yogic texts are teaching us. However, where do you find a guru? Moreover, how do you know if that guru is the right one for you? Does it have to be a bearded old man sitting in a cave?
What is a guru?
The Sanskrit word “guru” is often translated as “teacher”. Looking at the root syllables of the word it could mean remover – “ru” of darkness – “gu”. A guru could be someone or something that is bringing more light into the darkness; that is why it is sometimes referred to as the enlightenment principle. It could be your parents teaching you how to eat, your school teachers teaching you maths or your yoga teacher guiding you through some rounds of sun salutations. The Sanskrit term also holds the word heavy in it, meaning that a guru is something with gravitas, something important. It is any force that brings out your inner light, which is your inherent infinite potential. Everything and everybody that is supporting you to remember your true Self could be considered to be a guru.
Do I really need a guru?
Yes. At least that is what I think, what I learned from my teachers, and what you can read in almost any yogic text. Let us get back to the example of maths. Probably most of us have the potential to add 1 and 1, but somehow we needed some guidance to find accessible ways to do it. Our excellent math teacher at school was able to shed enough light on this topic for us to use our inherent numeric potential. Maybe that also included times where she gave us feedback on how our approach was not bringing us closer to a solution. Our beloved math teacher was mirroring our behavior and way of thinking, meaning reminding us that in the system of mathematics 1 and 1 is not 3. The same goes for a yoga teacher. If we want to reach yoga, meaning our natural state, most of us need some guidance and reflection of our behavior to remember that state.
How to find one.
Keep in mind, that a guru is there to support you. Like using a blanket in shoulder stand or blocks in a standing forward bend. You choose to have a guru, as you decide to use blocks or not to give you a deeper understanding of an asana. It is up to you to find a guru and then to keep it present in your life. How? If you want the guru to act as an enlightened being, then you need to treat and see her or him like one, by all means. If you want someone to mirror you then you need to give everything from you, you need to offer up your whole being. Only then can the teacher support you to switch on your inner flashlight so you can then securely walk the path towards infinite joy.
Leave your guru!
Do you remember learning to walk on your own two feet? You probably used some standing around furniture to hold yourself up or the supportive hands of your beloved ones. They might have even let you go from time to time, and maybe you have fallen, cried and stood up again as you got motivated to do so. One day, though, they let go of your petite hand for good, and you had to stand up and walk on your own. Moreover, you did it. Until today. Only because you trusted them, unconditionally you were able to let go and leave your teachers, your parents, your first gurus.