What is a Guru?
Finding an Authentic Guru
If you are a seeker, then you may be asking how you can find a guru to help you. But before you go any further, you have to be completely honest with yourself. What is it you want? The answer to this question is the key to whether you are looking for happiness, a better life, to relieve your suffering, to help others, or to become a guru yourself. But there is only one correct answer that will make an authentic guru helpful in finding what you want, and that answer is that you are only seeking the truth and nothing more than this. You have a strong, burning desire within you to know what you are.
There’s a cliché that says when the seeker is ready the guru will appear. But this definition of a guru cannot be a preconceived idea of an exotic teacher who sits upon a mountaintop and showers you with inner gifts. The guru does not even have to be a person. A guru can be an experience that is good or bad, happy or sad, pleasurable or terrible. It can be a wonderful dream or a nightmare. It can be an adversary or a friend, or it can be a situation or an event. A guru is nothing more, and nothing less, than that which leads you to this ultimate truth about your true identity that you seek. In essence, the guru is anything that removes your ignorance.
Qualifying the Guru
The world contains a marketplace of people who claim to be gurus and awakened spiritual teachers. Some sit in auditoriums in front of hundreds of people and speak for hours about enlightenment and realization. Others hold classes, seminars, and programs that cost thousands of dollars. Several have tremendous followings of thousands of devotees. Listen to what these people are promising, claiming, or offering. You need to qualify the guru, and he/she needs to qualify you as a seeker. This means that you must know what the guru is offering you, and the guru must find out if you are sincerely looking for the truth. Both parties must be authentic. If the guru does not know you and your desire then he/she cannot help you. It is a very rare thing for a seeker to wake up suddenly in the middle of an audience without any personal guidance. And it is unlikely to find a sincere guru who tells those in his audience that they are candidates for awakening.
The path of awakening is not for everyone. (Refer to our page What is a Mature Mind? http://www.meditationerfan.com/what-is-a-mature-mind.html). The guru must find this out through personal contact with you, because not everyone is ready.
If you are only looking for the Truth, it means you are looking for yourself. If you just want to run away from problems, avoid your suffering, resolve your relationship issues, silence your mind, become enlightened, or become a guru yourself, these are not going to lead you to knowing your own true nature. The guru needs to evaluate you to find out what it is you want.
Evaluating the Guru
- Gurus may talk about the truth and then teach techniques about how to be more aware. This is nonsense, because there is no such thing as being “more aware” or “more conscious.” There is just the truth, there is no more or less of it.
- Gurus who want to put you in a specific state of mind or feeling are not helping you. Avoid them, because this path is not about feelings or mental states.
- Gurus who want to show you certain steps to get you through, or lead you to, specific experiences so that in the end you can become awakened. These people should also be avoided. This path has nothing to do with experiences.
- Gurus who help open chakras to help you have a kundalini or bodily experience should be avoided. You do not need to open chakras to know who you are. Awakening to your true nature has nothing to do with energy, energy work, or the physical body.
- Gurus who have you meditate to kill your mind and thoughts are misleading their followers. Killing the mind is not the goal, nor is it important to learn how to breathe or how to focus.
- Gurus who teach you to use your imagination are misleading you. Avoid them, because the Truth has nothing to do with the power of the mind, visualizations, conjuring up mental images, or using your imagination.
- Gurus who teach followers about light and sound, or any other phenomena, are not qualified, because the Truth is not about phenomena.
- Gurus who reportedly have “good energy,” big auras, or supernatural powers should not be considered right for you on such bases. Awakening has nothing to do with feats of the mind or body.
- Gurus who need or require something from you, such as your time, money, or devotion. A seeker of the truth needs direction and support, not to be exploited.
- Gurus who talk over your head or sit on a stage wearing a distant and dreamy expression are not for you as a serious seeker. Knowing the truth does not make you superior, other worldly, or dreamy.
- Gurus who teach people they have to remember who they are are teaching an absurdity. You are only the truth, and this does not require remembering anything.
- Gurus who are supposed to be able to transfer enlightenment to you through their gaze or their very presence. This is nonsense. There is nothing to transfer. Truth is a matter of knowing, not of getting, transferring, remembering, or practice.
An authentic Guru does not need anything from you
If a guru is awake, he/she does not need followers, things from this world, money, devotion, or anything else from anyone. When you see a guru who wants something from you, that means he/she is in need of something. A realized person knows that there is nothing to need; all is complete.There are many gurus who want to sell their time, programs, and books. Or they may want money or your body, regardless of your gender. Many manipulate women, and you have to be very careful about this. There are sick people in this world who are not awake, who know your weak points, and how to take advantage of others.
There are many gurus who do not know that they do not know what the Truth is. They are misguided people who think they are gurus. This is a common situation of the blind leading the blind. These people frequently talk endlessly about states of bliss, duality, enlightenment, and awareness, but these are of no importance to a realized being nor a seeker who is only in search of the truth.
The Guru must evaluate you
When you evaluate a guru, make sure the guru, without prompting, evaluates you, because if he/she does not tell you if you are qualified, and tells you that everybody is qualified, you should leave this person and keep looking. Not everyone is ready. Most egos are not ready to understand the Truth, because it is very ordinary. If you are not mature, you will not appreciate this simplicity.
What do you want?
If you are sincerely looking only for the truth, you will find it, because you are already the truth. However, if you just want to change your state of mind to find bliss or joy, you will never wake up, because this ego that you have identified as you is not real. You have to know this world and people in it do not make sense to you, and you have no choice but to find out what the ultimate is. Nothing is more important to you than to know. You have no choice; you have no plan B. Plan B for most people is to keep fooling themselves.
You should know during the first session with a guru whether that person is qualified. It should not take six months, a year, or 20 years. The guru must assess you and let you know what you need to work on in certain areas. There is no long-term plan, initiations, weekend seminars, books you have to read, or special words to know.
The Guru’s perspective
It’s difficult to be a guru, but so easy to talk about the truth. I am here for someone who is an authentic truth seeker. Because I know this is painful, and because i know how difficult it is, I dedicate my time to just help. I am like a lit candle from which you can light your own candle. I don’t need anyone’s money, attention, time, or devotion. And I don’t have a magic wand. Your awakening belongs to you, and has nothing to do with me. No guru can transfer some special energy to anyone else; this is impossible. Your knowingness is your own.
There is no guru who can bring you to a state of mind or feeling so you can be awakened. It doesn’t work like that. An authentic guru helps reveal your ignorance so you find out who you are, and that you have always been the Truth. You have to be ready and know what you are looking for, which is the Truth only. You do not know your identity, and a real guru can help you wake up. That guru is going to show you your actual identity, but if you are not mature enough to see it, you won’t appreciate it. Appreciation for the truth needs maturity. If you are not mature, you are not going to appreciate this.
With special thanks to my dear friend Mr. Vic Shayne for putting together this message regarding the role of the Guru.