A friend's recent situation led me to address the question, "Are there really gurus in the world?"
In a word: sort-of.
The definition of guru is "a person who is regarded as having great knowledge, wisdom and authority in a certain area, and uses it to guide others".
So in that sense, yes, there are gurus out there - people who are fantastic spiritual teachers.
But often we mistake that to mean they are perfect humans. And to that I say (very politely, of course) no way.
It is so easy to picture a teacher as a perfect person. You read their writing, you see them on stage and you sit in their workshops. Look at them! They are so wise! So amazing! Oh, if only you could be just like them!
But listen closely.
Wayne Dyer is on stage, charming hundreds of us in a room. He jokes about how his daughter loves to say to him when he's not acting zen "If only your audiences could see you now!"
We all laugh and think how awesome Dr. Dyer is and if only we could be like him!
An article appears where the Dali Lama talks about how he deals with anger that comes up for him. We read it and we think, "Oh, how wise he is! If only I were like him!"
We hear Abraham as channeled through Esther Hicks talk about how she raised her vibration from being totally angry that Jerry was taking a walk while she was stuck editing audio to feeling great about life and say, "Oh, if only I were like Esther!"
And we put them on a pedestal where we can stand in their shadow and admire them in the sunlight.
But did you see it? Did you catch it?
Here it is again:
Wayne Dyer is throwing a fit.
The Dali Lama is totally pissed off.
Esther Hicks is completely frustrated.
That's right! They're human! Just like us!
Because they are problem solvers and uplifters their focus is on the solution to life's challenges. Which means we associate them with solutions. And can, if we're not aware of it, totally forget that they are human.
Or worse, expect that in order to be like them, we have to not be human, either.
They will be the first to tell you that being human IS the point. That working through our angers and frustrations and challenges is a necessary part to finding balance (for the moment) and achieving happiness (as long as we can keep it).
They will tell you it is the journey, not the destination that matters. And they will tell you that you are perfect just as you are.
Perhaps it's a matter of audience.
If a friend told you something over coffee would you find it as amazing as if someone stood on stage in front of 1,000 people and said the same thing?
What if 1,000 people told you it was correct?
Perhaps it's a matter of charisma.
Some people are very charismatic. That means they have strong personalities and they are great communicators. Some people are charismatic and they believe in something so fiercely they want everyone to know about it. Maybe they are just infinitely inspired! :)
So are there gurus?
Yes. There are people who are great spiritual teachers.
Are their "gurus"?
No. There are no perfect humans.
I don't know about you, but when I remember that I feel very relieved. Maybe I am perfect just like this, after all. :)