Guru on the Mountain
Why are gurus in high altitudes? Maybe the air is better up there. Maybe it is closer to heaven and the voice of God is heard more clearly in relation to our ears’ proximity to heaven. Richard Branson might make yet another fortune teaching meditation classes in “super high altitude” classrooms soaring at 35,000 feet through the atmosphere. Not, of course, because it would provide a benefit, but because people, especially those searching for answers, are gullible.
Personally, I have never traveled to a mountain top to speak with a guru. In this day and age, there seems little need to travel around the world and then trek up a mountain to ask questions that Siri or Cortana can answer in an instant. Even in lower altitudes. Teachers that cloister themselves away offer no better a perspective, but a different perspective. Even so, especially now, people need the advice of those who do not have the trappings of worrying about a busy, materialistic, “only more“, way of life. Here are some things that are important about gurus on the mountains.
It Is the Journey
What makes the wisdom of a mountain dweller seem wise, is that by the time a pilgrim or seeker makes their way to the mountain top, the pilgrim or seeker is more able to hear the words of a guru. This is why people are changed by speaking to those living apart from the valleys of the world. And while we tend to think only of the journey towards the top of the mountain filled with our questions as being of worth. The journey down the mountain, filled with our new perspective, and hopefully just as many, but different, questions is just as important.
Gurus at the Gas Station
Until we see every person we meet as a guru, able to teach us something on our way through life (even when we stop for gas), we will not be ready to learn from the very wise. Even the crabby attendant. Even the person that cut you off to take your “next” spot in line to get gasoline. Even the old man we see each and every time we buy a soda or fill up our tanks, that has, “a sick grand daughter that just got out of the emergency room and needs to get a prescription filled”. We need to pick who we learn from, but we need to realize that everyone can teach us.
Someone Wants to Be You
I never found much solace in the notion that “some people don’t even get to drive a car” when I was upset about having a flat tire on the interstate. I never was compelled to eat more Brussels Sprouts because another child in China did not have food that night. Life has taught me, however, that no matter what problems we create or imagine for ourselves, there is another person that most likely would view what we are going through as a blessing, not a woe. If the opinion is out there that even our troubles are worth the joys we experience, why not let that opinion be ours?
You Are the Guru
Live in a mansion? You are the guru. Live in a tent? You are the guru. Live on a mountain or below sea level? You are the guru. Nothing made available to the Dalai Lama, Gandhi, any number of Popes, Jesus, Mohammed, Moses, your teacher, the Buddha, or a man or woman secluded from our experience of the world, is any more or less than what is offered to us. It is for us to learn. It is for us to do. It is for us to teach. Anything that leads to peace. Anything that leads to love. Anything that leads to compassion. Good luck and good teaching.
There is no secret. There is only what we need to learn (which is hard to determine) and what we need to unlearn (which is hard to admit). These things can be done on a mountain, in the streets of Calcutta, in a big bath tub in Beverly Hills, or anywhere we close our eyes, take deep breaths, and smile for no reason at all.
My wife’s cousin who is in 8th grade this year asked me the question, “Why can’t dinosaurs clap?”
I said I did not know.
He said, “Because they’re dead”.
There is no great commentary on death here. Just a joke to show that all our searching and seeking is no more than a punchline to a joke the Creator told many years ago. Be happy. Be at peace. Be for others what you needed when you found yourself there. Happy Sunday.