Guru – finding your way

Guru means teacher, at least on a simple level. More often, the word guru is synonymous with a master who is followed by devotees. It is a term that is often associated with eastern religions and spiritual practices, but it can also describe a wider range of teacher-student relationships, where there is an intense bond or loyalty. Guru-devotee relationships can be wonderful and a true source of transformation. However the guru/teacher has a tremendous responsibility and power that needs careful attention. In any transformative relationship there is much to be learned and mastered by the student, but ultimately the goal should be to gain independence from the teacher.

The absolute best teachers/gurus to follow are the ones that do not want or need followers. They encourage you to find your own source of power, your own well of creativity, your own revelations. Guidance is great, but learning through living is better.

The problem with seeking a guru is the process of turning over all your independent thought to another in the hopes that their wisdom will fix all your problems. It is seeking external approval when the true need is internal.

It is very important to choose a teacher wisely. Learn, study, but do more. Study them. Listen to the internal Guru. What does your inner wise one say? A great teacher will echo the words in your heart. There is an upliftment, a great freedom, an inner peace from wise words.

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Peaceful planting

Spending time pressing new roots into old pots. Carving a nourishing bed for tender shoots. Fragrance of green and earth and soft sun blankets my skin. Working hands and arms, sowing. I pressed my fingers against the warm earth, pulse. Perennial wisdom welcomes my mind to follow her pace, stillness.

Buzzing

I heard an author, I think it was Cheryl Richardson, say that everyone needs to identify their five top priorities in life. When opportunities and offers and requests come along, you can look at your five priorities are and base your decision on how close the activity is to fulfilling one or more of your top priorities. A great guide for learning to say no appropriately.

My five are not activities as much as feeling states. They are: Joy; Peace; Teaching; Learning; and Alignment. If what I am doing is not one of those things then I need to make a different choice.

I had the amazing opportunity tonight to fulfill all five of my priorities at once. I’m buzzing. I thought I would be exhausted after a full day of work and a full night of teaching, but I’m not. I’m buzzing. I love it.

I say more of this Universe!!

How wonderful to arrive at a place where every activity has opportunities to feel joy, to be peace, to learn, to teach, to be so easy and flowing. I’m on my way.

So I buzz, buzz, buzz with the ride this hummingbird is on. Love it. 🙂

What would you do to change the world?

Question #3 of 10 of Ten Questions to Know Someone: If you had unlimited power, what would you do to change the world?

My answer to this question is much harder than I thought it would be. I’m passionate about so many causes, the environment, social justice, peace. The list is long and I immediately wonder if one person, even with infinite power, could really do it all single handedly. For change to stick, it requires the agreement and cooperation of many people, organizations, businesses, and governments. Massive, worldwide change does happen, though, when an idea takes hold of people’s imagination. Behavior that was once acceptable becomes unthinkable. Solutions appear where once their we’re only problems.

The idea that I keep returning to is to help children who are at risk. Children living in poverty, children who are abused, children who are forgotten. These precious ones are the world’s most valuable resource. They are tough and resilient and are the source of the solutions to the problems they face. A lot has been done by adults to solve the big problems, like poverty and war, but has anyone really asked the children who are living it what can be done? If they have asked, has anything been done? My guess would be no.

We all too quickly dismiss the ideas our children have and arrogantly assume that we have all the answers. We jump to the conclusion that because their language is simpler and they are small that they couldn’t possibly know what the world problems are, much less know how to fix them. But I’m convinced that children are more clear, more in tune, and more wise than most adults truly understand.

So I guess I would ask the world’s children what they would do to change the world, and then I would do it.

Moonglow

Sliver reflects halos off the sweet round curve of your cheek.MOON
Silent shimmer and traces of hands follow your grace full step.
Swirl your opalescent cloak over my window.
Let the soft silk slide sideways into my skull.
Slippery ribbons smooth the stillness as they pull me,
spiralling into the gravid core.

Mirror Loop: The Inner reflects the Outer

BALTIMORE MUSEUM OF ART

Image by spike55151 via Flickr

The old alchemy texts say “As above, so below”, Meaning that any phenomena in the outer world mirrors an inner aspect of ourselves. Anything that we rail against, that gets us fired up and steaming mad, has its roots in our own pain. Criticism from others only sticks to us when it echos something our inner critic also says. If it didn’t, we would laugh it off as ridiculous.

It also works when we have wonderful experiences too. The great time we are having has its roots, not in the events or people surrounding us, but in our own joyful nature. When we are primed for a good time, that is all we have.

This way of looking at life can provide some great insights when seemingly random things happen to us. When life seems to be heaping turds on your table, it might be wise to see if you have been having shitty thoughts lately. Maybe you have or maybe you haven’t, the important thing is to look.

It is in looking at our lives as an extension of the self that the true magic happens. If the outer mirrors the inner, who can you be angry at? It propels you toward peace with spurs of compassion. Wanting world peace is a noble wish, but always ask yourself, “Who am I at war with?’ Every punch thrown curves back and hits you in the face.

Of course we can equally look at the beautiful things in life too, as part of our inner landscape. A great friend can only be in your life if you are also that great. A beautiful piece of music can only be appreciated by a willing ear. Somewhere within you, your inner composer delights in hearing the creative vibrations.

This kind of gentle questioning can lead you to all kinds of interesting answers. Whether the answers are right are not is completely unimportant. What is important is the act of questioning. Turning inward to find the answers, we allow our own wisdom to unfold. The longer we look into the eyes of another, the sooner we find we are looking at ourselves.

Free your spirit

Lotus

Image by petrichor via Flickr

Unforgiveness is the sticky bond that ties us to painful memories. Energetically, whatever we focus on, good or bad, gets a dose of our energy. The more hate and anger we harbour puts more fuel into the energy ties that keep the person in our experience. Forgiveness is the ultimate act of freedom for your soul.

We often confuse forgiveness with saying “It’s Okay”; somehow excusing the person or letting them off the hook. This is a mistake. When we  are harmed by another, intentional or not, it does not serve us or them by just forgetting the incident happened. What do we learn from the experience if we just cover it up? But equally, we cannot make the other person ‘pay’ for their transgression if we hold hatred and anger in our hearts. It only poisons us.

If you acknowledge forgiveness as a feeling of freedom and releasement, then you can easily experience the power of forgiveness to transform your life. Try these steps to find your freedom:

  1. Write a list of people you need to forgive. Make sure to include yourself on the list.
  2. Pick one person on the list to forgive. Since forgiveness is an internal shift in your feelings, you do not need the other person to participate in the process. In fact I would advise against it in most cases, because ultimately it does not matter what they say or do, it only matters how you feel.
  3. Repeat the affirmation “I am willing to forgive _____” several times. Notice how you feel. Pay attention to any tightness or clenching in your body. Tightness in your muscles indicates resistance.
  4. If you feel anger and contraction, or any sense of resistance at this point, you can back up a step and say the affirmation “I am willing to think about forgiving ______”.
  5. If you still feel contracted or angry then visualize yelling at the person. Tell them exactly how you feel; do not go into repeating the events, stay focused on the feeling. Let it all out. The time for holding it all in is over. Do this for 10 minutes.
  6. Go back to the affirmation “I am willing to think about forgiving ______”. Stay at this step until the sentence feels too long and bulky. Test out dropping the words ‘think about’. Notice what happens to your body. Use the feelings of relaxation as your guide to the next step.
  7. Move on the affirmation “I am willing to forgive _____”. Again, pay attention to your muscle tension. Where are your shoulders? Are you clenching your hands? Is your jaw relaxed. Stay here for as long as you need to. Experiment with dropping the words “willing to”.
  8. The last affirmation is “I forgive ______”. At this point the feelings of release and freedom will flow naturally.
  9. Repeat. Go through everyone on your list and forgive them in the same way. Be sure to forgive yourself as well. Naturally, there will be some people who keep winding up on the list over and over, particularly if they are still in your life. That is perfectly ok. It is ok to be angry. It just doesn’t do us much good to hang on to it. The process gets easier and easier the more you practice it.

Test it out in your life. Observe your relationships shift on their own accord without any effort on your part. What else might shift in your life, now that you are free?

Superhero Feet

I’ve been thinking about superheros lately. Most likely because my little boy is fascinated with them. He is so fascinated that he now prefers to be called Spiderman or Iron Man rather than his name. The archetype of the superhero is captivating, not just to little boys, but also to society at large. The idea of an ordinary person containing an extra-ordinary power and using it anonymously for the benefit of all, it sparks something in our imaginations.

One way to look at the superhero is that it comes from our wish to be rescued, and to have all our problems solved. Another would be that we wish we had the power to save others and solve big problems. Maybe it is a mix of both. To be helped, to be helpful, it reaches back to a time when we were small and wanted to be big.

A challenge of the superhero archetype is that it is one half of a duality. In order to have heros, we also have to have villans. In reality, there are few villans out there. Global warming is caused by the collective action of billions of people over hundreds of years. It is hard to think of a superhero that could fight that one.

The problems we face today are complex, where the causes are many and it is not always obvious which ones to fight first. And maybe fighting is the wrong approach in the first place. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said it best:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

I consider Dr. King to be one of our times greatest heros. While he may not have seen much change in his lifetime, great change did, and is, taking place.

3. Martin Luther King, Jr., a civil rights act...

Image via Wikipedia

He had the insight to see that the giant problem of racism and inequality is not one great villan, it is accumulated through many, many small deeds of villany by ordinary people. He inspired people to look at the things that are uncomfortable within themselves and within society, and ultimately to change their behaviour.

So perhaps all the problems we face in the world can be solved in two ways: leaders with the courage to sing a hymn of peace, when the whole world is chanting ‘war’; and ordinary heros, like you and me, who are willing to choose kindness over selfishness.

For what its worth

MotherEarth

I was listening to Caroline Myss‘ “Essential Guide for Healers” today and she said something that stopped me in my tracks. She said “I’ll tell you why nations don’t heal, and probably why it will be a mighty long time until they do, and that is because there is no money in peace.” Meaning that the profits of peace, the benefit of it, the economic benefit, is hidden. But the total value of peace is not something that most people need explained. The ability to be safe, to work, to raise babies, to have love and friendship, it is something that we have in common with everyone on the planet. It is priceless.

The price of war is quantifiable, it is easy to demonstrate the economic benefits of war. It creates jobs in a down economy. If you were a business person and only looked at the balance sheets you might be inclined to think that war was a good company to invest in, even better if it paid dividends. Peace is nebulous, it is spread out over millions of people, hundreds of thousands of local businesses. It is hard to invest in peace or think about profit margins. Peace’s true value is only felt when it is lost. It is felt when we come to understand that the only thing standing in the way of starving babies and food is bullets in a gun and a propped up ideology.

How many other things in our world do we only truly value when they are lost? Peace is one. But also, health, clean water, clean air, forests, relationships, people we care about. These are things that have quantifiable, monetary value only when they are gone. We intuitively know that these things are precious. That the true worth is not something that can be expressed by money alone. But the interesting thing is, that until we start making choices based on the foundation of love, we easily slide into making the choice that costs the least money, or rather what makes us the most money.

I think the most dangerous force in our economy right now, is love. If people truly cared for their neighbours, their global neighbours, they would stop making most of the foolish decisions they do. Love would crumble the system. If you loved others and loved yourself, then no need to buy the latest keeping up with the Jones’ item. It would be easy to spend more to get less if it meant you were buying local, sustainable and responsible. For a long time we have kept the true cost of our little daily decisions at arms length. It is uncomfortable to acknowledge that our decisions might have hurt the things we hold dear.

But there is power in acknowledging this pain, because it is like the cancer patient that finally stops smoking, through the realization we are given the gift, the push to change. To choose better, to choose wiser, to choose love.

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