How to be Your Own Guru

You have all the necessary equipment to illuminate your own path toward spiritual enlightenment.

This post comes from our FPAustralia Contributor, Miann Scanlan.

I’ve been absent from the Free People blog recently…I’ve been in one of those lulls. I find when I’m lacking creative inspiration, direction, or I’m not working toward something in particular, I flat-line. For me, what’s worse than going neither forward nor backwards, is going nowhere.

The feeling of stagnation consumed me. I began to look everywhere for inspiration. I tried learning a new language, read biographies on inspirational women. I even picked up my favourite spiritual book The Power of Now which was a major catalyst for my spiritual awakening a few years ago. While I felt excitable moments of inspiration, I found that the effect didn’t last beyond those moments when I was reading. Why isn’t it working? Why can’t I get it back? These unanswered questions constantly floated above my head like an unhappy grey rain-cloud.

Then my phone buzzed with an email from a yoga mailing list containing the following story:

Once upon a time, all human beings were gods. But they abused their divinity, so Brahma decided to take it away from them. Brahma called a council of gods to help decide where they should hide it.

“We will bury it deep in the Earth,” said the Gods, but Brahma thought humans will dig into the earth and find it.
“We will sink it into the deepest Ocean,” the Gods said. Brahma suggested that would not do because humans will learn to dive into the ocean and find it there.
“Then let’s take it to the top of the highest mountain and hide it”. Brahma replied that would not do either, because humans will eventually climb every mountain and take it back.
The Gods gave up and agreed they did not know where to hide it because it seemed that there was no place on earth human beings would not eventually reach.
Brahma thought for a long time and then said — “Here is what we will do. We will hide their divinity deep in the center of their own being, for humans will never think to look for it there”.

Like Brahma described, I was looking in all the wrong places.

I didn’t find it until I began reading over old blog and Instagram posts, scrolling so far down my own feed I felt like I deserved a prize for “Insta-stalking” myself. But, buried deep within my own digital archives I discovered that I was, in fact, the very inspiration I was looking for.

You have all the necessary equipment to illuminate your own path toward spiritual enlightenment. After all, you were born with a heartbeat and a soul. Like Swami says, “there is no other teacher but your own soul.” Everyone loves a self-made success story, and here is how you can blaze your own trail:

Clear the clutter.
You don’t set out on a weekend hike without first assessing the supplies you are going to take with you. Given the road ahead is uncertain, there’s no need to take excess baggage like negative relationships (including toxic friendships), weighty self-loathing, high expectations and negative self-opinion. All of this needs to just go out the window. You won’t want them where you’re headed, plus you’ll need to make room for the little enlightenments like self love, gratitude and nourishing relationships you’re going to pick up along the way.

Become a sponge.
Devour all of the spiritual content you can. Yes, every guru has to start somewhere, so become your own teacher’s pet. While your Amazon shopping cart may overflow with all the books Oprah recommends, remember that these costs can add up, so don’t be afraid to head to the self-help section in second-hand bookstores. There are also e-books, blogs, online communities, tweets, et al!

Be mindful, not mindless.
While you’re in the midst of your spiritual buffet, it’s important to approach each lesson, concept, and even statement with a healthy dose of skepticism. Let your intuition be your test for validity. Not everything you read is true, nor is it true for you. As I have demonstrated, sometimes inspiration just doesn’t feel right, or even right-now. If an author is telling you something and it doesn’t sit right in your gut, simply lovingly disregard it and move on.

Don’t be intimidated.
Comparing yourself to others is a waste of your radiant energy. Rather than feeling paralyzed by comparison or feeling the need to mimicking another’s ideals, let the mere fact that they’ve accomplished something be your proof it can be done and get inspired to accomplish your own something.

Heed your own advice
Personally, I’m remarkably good at feeding relationship advice to the friend who’s crying into her phone’s mouthpiece. Dr. Phil-style nuggets of wisdom sometimes seem to come from nowhere. But, put me in her shoes and I wouldn’t have the faintest idea of how to handle the same emotionally difficult situation. This is because it’s always easy to give advice when you aren’t emotionally attached to something. So next time you’re dishing out advice to a friend, write it down afterwards. Then, you can revisit it if/when you require an inspiration pick-me-up. And just like, that you’ve just become your own guru.


+ How have YOU become your own guru?

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Thank you so much for this article, it is just what I need right now. Hope I can say I’m my own wise Guru one day !
Love xx

This is really inspiring and motivating.

:: This came at the perfect time! I am reminded of a saying, doing=mind, being=soul. When we can just BE everything seems to begin to flow again. Thank you for this beautiful post. It serves as the reminder I needed today, I AM the Prayer :) ::

That quote is very beautiful. Extremely soul touching.

Great advice. Love the idea that is is already inside us as so true. I think we have so much potential we don’t tap into as often too busy, wrong head space and life in general. Thank you for the reminder. Can you imagine if all of us starting mining what we have inside! Incredible.

Very motivating and inspiring post! I really liked the story, its one that will always stay with you!

This was a complete eyeopener for me. Going nowhere is exactly why I was feeling a bit down and not on top of my game, until recently. I just didn’t know where it was coming from: I had everything I needed, right? And was surrounded by amazing people and animals, my jobs were fine, etc. But it was merely the fact that nothing really changed and I continued to just live life, but not really experiencing it to the fullest. Most of the time this made me feel tired and even a bit bored and restless at the same time… Read more »

I am feeling this lull in inspiration right now. I think this happens when I try to hard. My best times of inspiration are garnered from time spent alone in nature. Mother Earth is my balancing.
I am so blessed to live in a forest of White Spirit Deer. We have become so close that I need just to call them and they join me. You can see them on my blog.
She Who Walks with the Deer