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Advanced Yoga Practices
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Lesson 389 - Why Won't You be My Guru? (Audio)
New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why This Discussion?"
A: By all means pursue your desire, but know that there are some pitfalls in it. There are always pitfalls when we seek spiritual knowledge outside our own inner silence. In time, your desire will lead you inward, where the eternal truth lives.
Ego is just a concept, a word to describe consciousness identified with the objects of perception. Or, as the Buddhists say, "attached" to the objects of perception. The mind itself will not become dead until we are dead. It goes from being a tool of identified self (small "s") to being a tool of unidentified Self (big "S"). What becomes dead in this life is identification of our awareness as self with all that appears in time and space. That is not death of the mind, or even of the "I thought" we call ego. We just come to know it for what it is, through the increasing presence of abiding inner silence (witness) cultivated in spiritual practices. It is the illumination of the mind in a divine outpouring, which then can awaken the unending joy of Oneness in time and space. It is the same thing that has been talked about by the sages of old, and modern ones too. It is the same experience. Only the words describing it may be a little different.
Descriptions of "enlightenment" may be colored by culture and language, but it is the same opening that happens in everyone when the appropriate means are applied. AYP leads there gradually. Some claim it can be instant. I agree that it can be instant, once one is ripe (living deep in witness), but becoming ripe is not instant. We can play a word game by claiming that our awakening is instant, but it is only instant when we become ripe, which takes dedicated time in practices.
I am not a personal guru to anyone. If I become that, I cannot continue in the role of a researcher and author on spiritual tools and their practical application. My point of view is largely western science, and that is what is driving my role in AYP, which is very much an "East meets West" endeavor. The concept of personal guru is not attractive here, because it is so much about personality cult. By now we are well familiar with the pitfalls of that. It is not what a guru is in the ultimate sense. But in the world, that is what gurudom is - personality cult. It has become so much about codependent relationships, where the disciple needs the external guru, and the guru needs the external disciple. Invariably this leads to a sense of entitlement on both sides and a resulting instability and loss of credibility. Then sacred knowledge suffers a setback.
I believe that documenting a comprehensive and practical open source knowledge-base is far more important. It will outlast all personalities, all scandals, and reach many more people over the long term. With clear knowledge of human spiritual transformation universally available, everyone can know how to cultivate abiding inner silence and awaken the divine outpouring from within themselves. Then we will have real change in the world, instead of so many chasing after a few enlightened people in every generation. Even with many enlightened people around, it will be up to each individual to apply tried and true methods for their own benefit, and for the benefit of everyone.
Whatever you may find inspiring in me (or in anyone) is, in truth, inspiring in you, and that is where your real guru is. If you are looking for it in your own silent depths, you are looking in the right place. If you are looking for it outside, and holding on to it outside, it will be lacking. I do not control where your spiritual desire (bhakti) goes. That is up to you. I can only encourage you to internalize external inspirations and knowledge as you move ahead. We are all rising from the same source, Oneness, so there is never any question of an inner connection. I see it as a collective Oneness, rather than an individual Oneness. So who can ever be an individual guru of ultimate Oneness? No one. There is no such thing. There are only those who can point us to the inner Oneness that we are. The true guru is in us. See Lesson 57 for more on this.
Which is not to say gurus are not important. They are very important. Rightly utilized, they are like stepping stones along our spiritual path. Practical spiritual knowledge does not come out of a vacuum. It has been accumulated over time. Our spiritual desire (bhakti) is like a magnet, and knowledge is drawn to us from our surroundings, from everywhere, and sometimes in the form of an external guru. We can benefit greatly from that. However, it will not be perfect. Those who assume a perfect external guru end up disappointed. Either that, or in denial when the imperfections become known. It is the seeker who creates this unfortunate situation with the expectation of perfection on the physical plane. It does not exist, even among the enlightened. Perfection is an inner condition, not an outer one. We may see perfection mirrored in life. But this is only a reflection, subject to distortion at any time. It is the nature of life. This does not mean we cannot benefit from external gurus. We certainly can. We must gain knowledge from somewhere to move ahead. It is about separating the wheat of knowledge from the chaff of worldly imperfections. It can be done. See Lesson 260 for more on this.
As I have always said in these lessons, it is not about me, or any particular teacher. That is a key element in the evolution of spiritual knowledge in the 21st century. We are moving away from personality cults to direct individual experience of the essential truth that is found within each of us. We are in an accelerating transformation of human consciousness on the earth. Practical methods for cultivating human spiritual transformation are emerging from the shadows of the esoteric into the full light of day. That is what AYP is about. The technology of the information age is playing a major role in this, just as it is in many fields. So don't expect a traditional guru relationship from AYP. Some find this disappointing. But, actually, you should be relieved. It is all in your hands.
What genuine personal gurus have been about throughout history is taking on the karma of their disciples. In other words, doing for others what they could do for themselves if they had the determination and the means. It has been a help in times of great need, but not enough to lift humanity out of the darkness. Traditional gurudom continues to be a costly proposition for both parties - a constant outflow from the guru and a constant dependency for the disciple. To create a true spiritual paradigm shift, more self-directed participation from everyone is needed, not more reliance on personal gurus.
An interesting phenomenon has been noticed in taking on the AYP global work here in researcher/author mode. Taking on the karma of the world as a researcher/author is pretty much the same as taking on the karma of a single person. Little difference. Taking on the karma of the world plus the karma of one individual person is about twice as much. So having 10 personal disciples is a much larger task than working to spiritually empower humanity by developing a baseline system of practices like AYP. The only explanation I have for this is that each of us is a reflection of the entire cosmos, like a hologram, with each part containing the whole. So taking on the karma of one person is like taking on the karma of the cosmos. Taking on the karma of the world in an AYP way is also taking on the karma of the cosmos, but it is not more than the karma of one person. This is why I said earlier, if I become your personal guru, I will not be able to do the AYP work anymore. It is twice as much!
For me, creating a useful body of knowledge and the means to perpetuate it into the future is what it is about. There is not room for personal gurudom in that. It isn't my thing anyway. I am only a researcher and author - a technician. You are much more than that, and I bow to you.
Collectively, through our practices, we have the ability to leverage a vast flow of spiritual energy that can quicken the whole of global consciousness far more spiritual power than any single guru can wield. The dynamic has changed. By the millions, spiritual practitioners of every stripe are bringing humanity to the tipping point, simply by their presence. It is the quiet revolution going on within. It is stillness in action.
The guru is in you.
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Note: For detailed instructions on the practical utilization of spiritual desire, see the Bhakti and Karma Yoga book. For detailed instructions on building a self-directed daily routine of practices, see the Eight Limbs of Yoga Book. Also see AYP Plus.
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