What was your nickname as a kid? If you're like me, you had several. My dad called me "Fly," because when I was a baby I moved my hands and feet like a fly. (Who didn't?) It sounds gross, but it stuck to the point of my dad putting a custom-made fly decal on the driver's door of my first car, complete with fancy eyelashes.
My mom called me "Itsy Bitsy Guru." The origin story there is unknown, but I like to think I was a wise and knowing toddler ;)
What a guru actually IS, is anyone or anything that brings light to darkness. Gu, meaning darkness, and roo, meaning dispel. Together, guru.
The light reveals what is hidden; what is in the shadows. When we can't see in a dark room, we are prone to fear, to stubbing our toe, to standing still rather than risk walking in the dark. So we turn on a light and walk right in. It is the same with our lives. It is the same in our mind.
Every chakra, or energy center within us, has a shadow, or a dark side. It is the process of awareness and enlightenment that reveals to us how these shadows affect our life. For example, if there is unseen or un-dealt-with guilt or shame, we are cut off from delight and a strong self-esteem. This shadow can loom over friendships, work, parenting, and over our joy itself.
Shining a light into dark places is scary. As scary as a dark room can be, wondering what's lurking in there can be scarier. I have yet to experience or know someone who wishes the shadow stayed a shadow. Yes--the process of shining the light often burns at first, but it gives way to healing. The boogeyman in the dark is rarely as bad as we think it will be.
So the guru comes in the form of friends and partners who make you face a truth. Teachers and counselors who hold a safe space. Experiences that blow up your life so you can no longer hide. Or it can come as a gentle candle, lit quietly in the heart, so your eyes may adjust and you get to see better a little at a time.
The best, the brightest, wisest, guru is within you. The more time you spend there, the more your guru will awaken and begin lighting candles.
Everyone, and everything, can be your guru. Especially your own heart.
Yoga provides the spark that lights the flame of your heart.