Whose Guru are You?

I am a keen observer of life and human nature. I read voraciously and consider deeply the teachings from yoga philosophy, but also from other philosophical sources, science, psychology, astrology, new age thought, and my own practice and observations of myself and the people I come into contact with.

I believe that this helps me to be a better teacher and a better human being. I love sharing these observations and the way in which I have made sense of them. Sometimes, in sharing them, I am directly passing on ideas that have come down through the ages. Sometimes, I am sharing my own personal insights. Always, my intention is to share from a place of personal experience.

Sky at Sunset

I believe I am a guru. Now, before you form a judgment of me as one of those teachers who has gone over the edge and put themselves on a pedestal and before you raise the concern that my ego has run amok and I am a little too full of myself….. consider this: the word Guru, while usually translated as teacher and we think, master, someone who really knows….. etymologically is said be an interplay between the qualities of light and dark and that the guru could then be considered “that which brings light to the darkness”.

This is the context within which I am speaking. I believe that what a teacher, or any teaching, does is shed light into the dark. But, it can only illuminate what is already there. The teacher or teaching does not create something – it supports you in seeing it. What you are seeing is something that is already within you.

My job then as a teacher is to help light something up and to help the student see more clearly what is there to see – in them. I feel incredibly honored to do this and I know that people need this. We all need it. And we can all do this for one another. Be the Guru.

I was thinking about this in context of Living Yoga as we planned our donation event to raise money to support their programs. At that event, Noemi and I taught a class around the theme of the Inner Guru and bringing one’s own light out and then we watched the movie “Kumare” which plays around a similar theme.

And I felt really strongly into the fact that this is what Living Yoga and the volunteer teachers do for the people they serve. They bring light into the dark. Living Yoga students are in dark times within their lives. They have made mistakes and are paying the penalty or are in circumstances where they have lost their way and have been compromised. Yoga and the programs that Living Yoga is able to provide, helps them to remember their own light.

The classes they offer are so important to the people who take them. The students often talk about the classes and the volunteers as some of just a few bright spots in their week.

The volunteers of Living Yoga are the true spirit of Namaste’. Their radiant presence says, “I see you” and not only do I see you, but “I see that you are the same as me” and “we are one”. This is not the message that these individuals are getting throughout the day and they have often never heard/felt this from anyone before.

In the light of that volunteer’s service they feel it.
They begin to believe it anew or maybe for the first time.
And it teaches them, not by showing them something new, although it may feel really
new, but by bringing light to what IS – even if it had been forgotten.

What I do, teaching, I think is important work. People need it and they make changes because of it. But what an organization like Living Yoga, its supporters, and its volunteers do: that work is necessary. That work is immeasurable. That work gives people, who many would just give up on, the opportunity to change their lives. And they do.

HeartSong and I are proudly participating in this year’s Living Yoga Yogathon and I hope you will consider joining our team and becoming one of those light bringers. By joining, you are dedicating your yoga practice to bringing light to your community and being a brighter guru. If for any reason you can’t join the team, then please consider donating to my efforts.

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One Response to Whose Guru are You?

  1. Bonnie MacDonald says:

    Dearest Leslie;
    Amidst this transformation and considering what teacher and Guru mean is part and parcel to what is happening for me. So I saved this passage and found a few moments to breath it in today. Ah….
    I am amidst teaching a multitude of classes and finalizing my time with the government. Wow, what a leap of faith….
    I am so happy for those of you that will once again bring your hands to your hearts with Mary and kindred yoga sisters at the end of May. What joy I feel for you and I will be there in spirit.
    I have not forgotten my request to be in the sphere of your wisdom dear Leslie and that time will come. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now with my retirement date for May 01, 2014. But I am also seeing that my aspiration for teaching more is already coming as well. What an abundant life we have….
    Love and Light to you dearest Yoga sister
    Bonnie Mac (Faraway Sister so far away)

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