By The Spiritual Explorer | Published 17 September, 2012
How Do Your Know When You Find Your Guru/Teacher?
Once many years ago I asked advice of the I Ching, a Chinese book of wisdom, about someone who asked to be a teacher of mine. The advice was, “Do not follow a teacher that asks you to be his student.” I heeded that advice and then several years later, I met my guru, who invited me to enter her teaching. This time I did not consult the I Ching, but relied upon my own intuition and stayed.
What made the difference? I can only say it was a feeling of knowing. I had doubts about the first teacher, but not about my guru, Ma Jaya. I felt she was the “real thing.” I still feel that way, which has been borne out by the 35 years I have resided at her ashram.
I have also known of situations where people have trusted their intuition, followed a guru and became disillusioned years later because of what they considered some human failing on the part of the guru. Was it a misstep on their part to follow this guru? While I can’t say, I can only attest that some of them had told me that during their time with him, they had made a lot of progress and grown spiritually. Does that mean all the time spent with this teacher was an utter mistake, or does one separate the wheat from the chaff and appreciate the goodness gained?
Sometimes one has very high expectations of a guru, expecting them to be perfect in all realms. That sounds like expecting guru to be “ideal mommy and daddy.” A guru is not meant to be some fantastical all- knowing, all-powerful person who can also give us the lottery numbers. They are signposts and sources of divine wisdom that have the ability by their mere presence to bring us into a place of wisdom and knowingness of our selves. The eventual gift to us is that we feel confident in ourselves to make wise dharmic decisions for ourselves.
You might ask some of these questions: How do you feel in your teacher’s presence? Do you feel elevated in some way and a sense of unabiding silence and grace? Do you feel as if you can be a better person just by knowing this person? Are they a shining example of those qualities of love and service that you revere? Once you have answered all these questions, then you might feel ready to take the risk of commitment. Know, however, that the decision is not from the mind, but inevitably arises from the heart, which has its own knowing.
I felt that my guru possessed the qualities requisite for a guru. I had never met anyone in my lifetime who had such a great and constant heart when giving comfort and sustenance to thousands of people who were ailing, both physically and spiritually. She counted them all as her beloveds, endeavoring to serve them as best she can. She was a hands-on, 24 hour guru who had devoted her life to the beckoning of her soul. I was privileged to know this Great Soul in my lifetime.
Not everyone has a physical guru in the flesh. Some receive their insight and knowing from the Spirit or other guides. I do know that if you are a true aspirant, the universe will respond with what is your particular destiny.
How do you know when you’re ready? For myself, it was when nothing “out there” seemed to be the answer, when I was finally ready to look inside.
And what was the knowing that I had met my guru? It was the feeling that I had come home.
“When the student is ready, the teacher/master/guru appears.”
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