31 January, 2013
Amy Winehouse was 27 years old when she died. I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news, partying in a dodgy Bricklane pub in London with my closest friends. I recall that gutless feeling of total dis belief mixed with a lost kind of sadness. Poor Amy, how prescript was her fate in the end?
In my life I can count the gurus I’ve had on less than two hands.
Those rare individuals that have touched my heart, quickly, professionally, summoning a deep passion from within. That love that lives in everyone I suspect.
Although a galaxy from the perfect symbol of health and wellbeing, I count Winehouse among my select group of personal gurus.
The signs tell me. I cried when I heard the news of her death. I never get tired of listening to her music. During my twenties I wore jet black wing tip eyeliner every weekend. I have her black and white photo on the cover of an NME magazine framed in my living room. She was who she was, and fuck everyone else.
Of course these days the word ‘guru’ is flung around like a wet towel. One only needs to open the yellow pages and scroll through the tradies and hairdressers to witness how snazzy marketers have used the word to suit their commercial interests.
But is your window cleaner really a guru?
What do you have to do to be called a guru? What far reaches must one climb! Can you simply claim the title, stake in the ground, defend your definition? Or is it an honour like knighthood, gifted by the masses?
The dictionary, which is always true and never wrong, says that ‘Guru’ is a Sanskrit word that is most commonly interpreted as ‘teacher’.
Many people say to be donned with the ‘guru’ hat, you have to be realised or enlightened.
I’ve heard recounts of such people, devoting their life to self realisation, living in caves, meditating for twenty years, comprehending the cosmic joke of it all and living life in bliss ever after. Dropping bodies, walking on water, levitating, healing the sick…
Like so much that I dream about, I’ll see it when I believe it.
You might be wondering like me, how did Jesus make his way to India and all the way back to Jerusalem. No low cost carriers in those days.
Apart from these seriously holy people, the guru can also do it’s work through ye lay folk like you and I, influencing those around us as a cosmic force and opening our eyes to the beauty of the world.
Like dear Amy, far from enlightened, but a force of god nonetheless.
One of my main squeeze yogis is Cronulla surfie Mark Breadner the Director of Yoga Coach, his personal yoga education empire. Mark respectfully describes himself as the ‘yoga education guru’, and after training teachers for over 20 years and graduating more than 800 in that time, the figures seem to calculate true grit.
Despite the stats, many of my fellow students agree that learning from Mark is opening yourself up to a very revealing force.
Unlike other courses that might teach you a parroted sequence, major muscle groups, and a shrapnel of philosophy, Mark taught me how to make yoga my lifestyle. Something that I can refer to in good times or in bad.
Not just when I’m in a forearm handstand in sparkly Lululemon attire quoting Sting.
No disrespect Sting, I’m sure you’re someone’s Guru.
When you find a guru, that person that helps you to see the whole universe inside of yourself, all the answers to all of your questions, all the love to all of your longing – I would recommend hanging out with that person as much as you can.
Read their books. Listen to their music. Absorb their stories. Marinade the senses in the frighteningly truthful reflection.
Of course at our very optimal we are all capable of being gurus. All one must do is remember their purpose, be grateful for their blessing and let it shine.
Easier said than done in the rat race so many of us find ourselves in.
Guru on reader