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Searching for the Guru

by Linda Cucurullo

A guru is a teacher. Someone who points the way, that unveils clouds of darkness and exposes the light. In business and academia they say “find a Rabbi,” a person that knows the ropes and can guide you through the maze to success. A guru is known as an enlightened master who derives his / her knowledge from experience and study.

I dreamt of having a guru, a wizardly looking man or a wise woman that I would recognize immediately. They would suddenly appear at my first request for help to gently and lovingly guide me through whatever I was going through at the time. In my emotional immaturity and my earnest desire to grow spiritually, to become wise, whole and at peace, I was hot on the path to meet my idea of a guru. Since I was so eager I was bound to meet some fakes along the way. I sometimes idealized those I thought to have God like qualities. They were of flamboyant spirit, dressing and acting the role of a great guru. In my enthusiasm I could have been prey for cult leadership and brainwashing. Being raised to be a practical spirit, having been instructed to keep my feet on the ground, I relied on my firmly established street smarts (God given intuition, for a better name) and was saved from going off the deep end. I came away from these encounters disappointed, a little frustrated but on the move again to find the truth teller, the dispeller of all darkness. They would talk, I would listen, do as they said without question and I would be enlightened.

Did I think it would be hard work or that maybe I wouldn’t listen or that I wouldn’t recognize the guru? Never! I thought it would be crystal clear. Did I ever think that I would have many gurus and that they could come in the form of someone I didn’t like, someone with less education? Could it ever be possible that that this mystical teacher could come in the form of my own bad behavior, or addiction, an illness or accident, the loss of a job or a lover. NO! I wanted it much clearer then that. Those things had nothing to do with my actions, or did they. Was some of that Karma? One time I was really angry at my son for treating his sister badly. I was filled with indignation until he reminded me that I did not get along with my sister either. What an eye opener! I changed my ways quickly. My son was the guru that time.

I wanted a great and mystical teacher to enter my life, be magical, loving, gentle and always there to point the way. Did I think I would have to drop old habits and that it would be hard or seemingly impossible? I never once thought I would have to be willing to change my thoughts, my living conditions, my friends, that I would have to give up my firm opinions and long held ideas. Did I think I would have to become humble? I had to empty myself of so much before I could be receptive to the teaching I so craved. I had to admit I did not have all the answers, even though I thought they were brilliant.

It wasn’t so easy giving up my ideas of self importance, empting myself of my pride, ego and list of self gained accomplishments. I would have to quiet my intelligent scientific analytical mind to hear the inner messages. I would have to give up my own viewpoints. I did not like that I would have to surrender my own will and my habits that I was so fond of so that I could allow a larger force work on me.

Unless I could come clean and let it all go I would not recognize the most divine teacher even if they were brought to me from a stream of celestial light and herald in by angels. First I would have to empty myself of me, and surrender my very willful nature.

When all my efforts and manipulations to make my life work the way I wanted it to, when the pain in my life became unbearable, when worldly pleasure no longer gave the happiness and inner peace I so desired, I gave in. In desperation and exhaustion I finally gave up my own mental maneuvering and surrendered my self to the teaching. Did I ever think I would have to surrender this much to hear my gurus speak? Never! Never! My guru’s were speaking but I wasn’t listening. I was spiritually deaf and blind.

Divine wisdom speaks to us through many forms. I was once in a struggle to make someone change to what I thought they should be. Of course I knew it was for their own good. While in this futile struggle a woman from church kept trying to be friends. I wasn’t into it. I was too wrapped up in my struggle, besides she just looked like a little old lady to me. I avoided her at all costs. Without knowing what I was going through she handed me a slim booklet and said she had read this and thought I would like it. Annoyed I looked down at it. The title was ‘Acceptance’. I wish I could say I got it right away, but I was much to focused on what ‘I wanted’. It took a little while before I tried acceptance and much longer before I got it. Was she one of my guru’s? You bet. By the way, I never saw her again.

Another time I had been silently angry, brooding not saying what was really on my mind and wondering why I kept getting acid reflux. Oh I went from medicine to medicine. Why couldn’t I heal this? I was getting frustrated and angrier until my best friend said she heard anger in my voice. Of course I said “ME ANGRY, NO!” She gently said it again and asked me what was bothering me. When I opened my mouth and finally accepted that yes, I was a little angry at some things that were going on. I talked for an hour and poured my heart out. No more acid reflux, but when it came around again I knew enough to ask myself the questions that would heal me and be honest about my feelings. My guru shows up again.

If you are looking for your guru keep your eyes, ears and mind open. Be willing to learn from every situation. Be willing to let go of your fixed ideas and opinions. Open yourself more fully to the wisdom around you, especially in painful times, in illness, when things just don’t work. The relationship between you and your guru is a transformative power if you are open and willing. Be a student of life. Listen to the subtle messages and you will be always in touch with your inner guru.

Linda Cucurullo

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