You may have met your guru without knowing—teachings from the late Baba Ram Dass show us how.
Everything, everything, everything, is composed of love. God is in everything, and God is consciousness, and love. Just love. God is everywhere. God is just where you are at the moment, and each of us has God within. Everyone you meet is God, who has come to teach you something. Maharajji said, “The best form in which to worship God is all forms.” You begin to see that everybody and everything in the universe becomes your teacher.
You probably walked right by your guru. She may have stopped you and given you a traffic ticket. You probably didn’t even give him a quarter when he was asking for a handout. The next true being of Buddha nature you meet may appear as a bus driver, a doctor, a weaver, an insurance salesperson, a musician, a chef, a teacher, or any of the thousands of roles that are required in a complex society. Do you think the guru’s going to be someone with light streaming out, wearing a sign that says “I am your guru”? When you’re ready to see, you’ll see your guru. You will know them because the simple interaction between you will strengthen your faith in the holiness in humans. It’s as simple as that.
A Guru is like a perfect mirror for oneself, so that when you’re with them you only see your own stuff; that’s all you see, you don’t see your stuff mixed with their stuff, because they don’t have any stuff. Since they themselves are not attached to being anybody, who you see them to be is merely your own projection. Being around such a being allows you to see the way in which you are creating the universe. That mirror helps you gain the perception of your own attachments, which ultimately allows you to become unattached to any models you have of the universe. My guru was a mirror that was showing me my own beauty. The guru is none other than God, who is none other than self, which is the unmanifest, absolute.
A teacher is a little different. With the teacher, you never know what you’re getting, because part of what you see is their stuff and part of it is your stuff. You can certainly pick very prominent teachers. I mean, I’m a teacher, obviously. I give talks and lectures and write books. I’m not a guru, but I’m a teacher, and the only way you know a teacher is by your intuitive heart. My suggestion is that the only thing you owe a teacher is for you to get yourself free. You don’t owe a teacher loyalty. A lot of them say, “Well, I’ve been teaching you, now support me or take care of me, or sign and promise me you will be my student,” and I think that’s all nonsense. I think you should take what you can from every teacher, and then go on.
I think that the idea should be to focus on teachings not teachers. All I know is when I need a teaching of some sort I go toward somebody who’s teaching that, and I take the teaching, and I keep taking the part of that which feels intuitively right with my own heart. I do not take any teaching from somebody that goes against my own heart. I must trust that more than I must trust somebody else telling me what I need.
You may hear someone say, “surrender to God or guru.” Surrender is an interesting word. When I say I’m surrendering to my guru, I’m not surrendering to that man; I’m surrendering to the God within that man, to the One and to love. And so for me it’s not hard to surrender to that, to the light, to pure energy, to pure love.
My guru said, “I am always in communion with you.” And I deeply understood that to be the case and in fact, that’s who he became for me. When I talk about my method being guru kripa, meaning grace of the guru, it means that his consciousness is present with me all the time. He is a being who is with me always, and sometimes he’s with me so closely that I am him. And this reminds me of the higher truth that God, Guru, and Self truly are One.
Adapted from You Are the Universe: Ram Dass Maps the Journey by Amy Beutens and Julie Weinstein, published by Mandala Publishing/Love Serve Remember Foundation, copyright © 2022. Reprinted with permission.