I’m reading this lovely, spiritual text from a beloved Guru Ram Dass. Maybe you have heard of him, maybe not. The book is called “Polishing The Mirror.” The point that I’m at, and I’ve put the book down to really take this in, talks about Gurus. Now, maybe you think a Guru is someone who has to be in white, flowing robes with a long beard, smells like incense and chants all day? You know, someone you have to travel to India to visit? Could be, doesn’t have to be! Gurus are accessible and available, each and every day; each and every moment. The way that Ram Dass describes a Guru is anyone or anything (inanimate objects included) that holds up “the mirror” and reflects back a higher level of yourself. Now, by higher level, I certainly don’t mean that the level that you are currently at is too low. It means, without judgment, a more evolved, untouched or awakened level of yourself. In other words, a Guru could be a garden, a cake, a yoga teacher, a spiritual guide, an experience, words and….. your Guru can be YOU! Right, your Guru can be you, just in case you didn’t get that the first time around.
For almost four years, I’ve struggled with “should I teach yoga or shouldn’t I?” I’ve tried it. I actually am pretty good at it. I’ve taught at a local VFW building for my community, I’ve taught through the parks and recreation department in town, I’ve taught at my beloved friend’s studio, which have all had one thing in common. They were all safe places. Least likely places for me to be “found out.” There weren’t other teachers there who could potentially come to one of my classes, or that I would compare myself too. I didn’t have to be seen as “too spiritual” or “out there” or… or… or… It was safe. Until now….. I have been getting called, being asked and people reaching out “are you teaching yoga right now?” The very question causes my stomach to seize up. I say, “oh no, I’m not teaching right now, I’m a student.” As if that is much safer……being alone on your mat can be pretty interesting at times!
I had a conversation with my yoga teacher today before class started. He was sharing a story with me, and I decided to ask him about this crazy idea of really exposing myself (in a spiritual way of course) and shining my true nature mine around teaching. Also, I shared with him the fear about not being a good enough teacher. After all of the details had been laid out in front of him, he said “oh, I see so let me get this straight, you were teaching at places where the students were creating a safe space for you, not the other way around.” C R A P!!!! How’s that for holding up the mirror! I didn’t even know that, secretly, or not so secretly, that is EXACTLY what I was doing.
He then shared how he loves when someone becomes emotional during his class, be it, anger, frustration, sadness, fear, or whatever. It means that he has done his job as a teacher. He has held up the mirror for his student and his student has had a shift. THAT’S YOGA!!!! Sure the bendy poses and arm balances rock and make us feel good, and are a vehicle for internal shifts, the container if you will.
I’ve been lucky in my life to have many many Gurus and I want to thank yoga, my teacher and the mirror today for showing me something I couldn’t see. Who are the Gurus in your life, who holds up the mirror for you?
Now back to teaching yoga…….. I’ll keep you posted 😉
Peace and fearless reflections!