There wouldn’t be such a thing as counterfeit gold if there were no real gold somewhere.
~ Sufi Proverb
Everybody is your guru. That’s the focus of today’s chat. In our society where we often create pedestals for the rich or the famous or the spiritually aware or the gurus and saints and teachers around us, I want to offer a different tack.
Part of the difficulties we face in our culture is that we worship golden calves, if I can borrow a term from the Old Testament. We idolize false gods.
I would argue that we have created a fake and shallow cult of celebrity as or cultural milieu. And this isn’t helping the spiritual poverty that we see so rampant around us.
Just the other day I happened to turn on the television only to find that spiritual wasteland known as Entertainment Tonight running. ET as many of you will agree is nothing more than tabloid TV candy that rots your brain of critical thought.
The focus of that 2 or 3 minutes of my life that I wasted was on Kim Kardashian and her failing marriage. A marital farce if you ask me. This vacuous and self aggrandizing popcorn princess was making no sense as she dripped of insincerity.
This is the empty spiritual calories on which we feast nightly. A damning indictment to our culture of carelessness and carnival frivolity.
I don’t want to waste any more precious time on things of that nature, after all this is about becoming better and more holistic in a society that is struggling with a pandemic of poverty in all its many forms.
The thrust of my argument is to persuade you to seek out a deeper and more authentic life and in doing that, learn from the many people that you come into contact with each and every day. Everyone can be your teacher or guru if you observe and listen and learn.
Even the aforementioned Kim can teach your lessons. Lessons that you might want to avoid. Lessons on how not to behave, how not to weigh the values in an authentic and deeply spiritual life, but she can teach you much like any guru can.
There is no need to seek out the self proclaimed “gurus” if your thirst for a deeper understanding of life and its myriad mysteries is sincere. Most of these gurus are false idols anyway. Just look at the recent trial of James Arthur Ray. Guru from The Secret fame.
Everything around you has the ability to instruct and teach. For example, trees have taught me the virtues of patience and perseverance. They stand strong, mighty but not haughty through all the trials and tribulations that the weather and the environment can send them.
Children are some of my favorite gurus. I owe a deep debt to children for their wisdom and instruction in the art of happiness and present mindedness.
My son has been my most diligent and patient mentor as I learn from him and his interactions with me. His patience and understanding and empathy are deep and succinct aspects of his teaching that will live with me forever.
Real gurus and teachers are around us all the time. Though we miss them because they don’t wear robes or other saintly garb.
So please friends, learn to listen and to look and to feel and to absorb the lessons of the gurus that are all around you. Our bosses, colleagues, family, friends and even strangers are offering lessons right now for free, right where you are.
Some of these lessons are not ones we will embrace but they can teach us at least how not to be. How not to engage with people. How not to let anger get the better of you.
And in brief moments you get a glimmer of a guru’s lesson in love. The way a policeman might smile and befriend a small child removed from an abusive environment. The tender kindness that a doctor might show to a rape victim. This is where the gurus come out to shine. We learn from each other and we can light the way for others. Try it.