I hope your month is off to a great start. I just returned from 4 days in Joshua Tree where I was co-leading our 9th annual Chakra Retreat. The long weekend was incredible in so many ways but the thing that has been resonating the most in my mind is the concept of ‘community as guru’
Guru itself is not a bad word. Guru means teacher, one who brings light to the darkness, a spiritual guide or leader, a person who mentors or counsels. All of these are good things. Finding someone who can help guide us along our path and give us advice and insight is such a wonderful gift and often times is very necessary. Unfortunately, this concept has been so distorted by many spiritual ‘masters’ that it is not a title I want anywhere near me or the teachers I admire. Any person who takes away our personal power and encourages dependency is not someone I consider a teacher. Unfortunately we hear about gurus creating dependence and/or fear in their students all the time through manipulation, coercion, harassment or worse. All of this is the opposite of what a guru’s role is. To take away the negative connotation, I prefer the word teacher.
A teacher is one who supports us, encourages us, challenges us and cares for us. They teach us the skills necessary for us to figure it out on our own. They hold us accountable for our actions but in a way that makes us feel motivated to try again rather than shamed when we fall short. They believe in us even when we don’t believe in ourselves and give us tools so that we can learn to believe in ourselves and learn which actions to take to move us towards our goals.
As I watched close to 40 people uncover some of the deepest recesses of their lives this past weekend, I was so moved by the support everyone gave each other. Everyone offered the perfect amount of encouragement, listening, helpfulness and space. This is what a teacher does. This is what a good community does. Community as teacher.
As humans, we need community. We need people we can trust to hold us up when we are feeling down. We need them to encourage us when we are faced with challenges and help us by shedding some light when we just can’t see through the darkness. We also need them to celebrate with us, share with us and grow with us. A good community can provide us with the support we need in all areas of our lives while still allowing us to shine as individuals.
There is nothing wrong with having a teacher. In fact, it can be very helpful in many ways, but it is more about not relying on just one person. With dependence comes power for the one being depended on. If any one person says they can solve all your problems or that they are a master, I say beware. You are the one that has all the answers inside of you. Surround yourself with teachers and a community who will remind you of that and who will support you when you struggle to find your voice, but will also give you the space to grow and find your own song.
Our current society has been built on the concept of one having power over many. What I love about the idea of community as teacher is it takes away the power of one and gives it to many. The times they are a changing and that is a good thing. We are taking back our power and being in community with one another. Together we can create the world we wish to live in. It is not up to one, it is up to us all. Community as the new guru, the new teacher.
Thank you for being a part of the Yoga Blend community. You are what makes it so special.
Please take a look at all the wonderful workshops and events we have coming up which in some way, all celebrate what it means to be in community. Also, please mark your calendars for our annual Holiday party on Dec 6th. More details to come on that soon!
With infinite love and gratitude…