RYAN ALTMAN

🕯️ Find The Guru’s Grace Within You

About a week ago I returned from my month long journey in India.

It was simultaneously one of the best, yet most difficult experiences of my life.

I’ve been fortunate to go to India on dozens of trips before, but this time was different.

I went on this trip with the intention to process the really challenging growth I’ve had over the last 3-4 years.

It was supposed to be a relaxing time of meditation, contemplation, and healing.

Boy did I get something entirely different.

Instead I got more problems.

Problems on top of problems.

Accommodation problems. Food problems. Personal problems. Health problems.

I was completely overwhelmed.

I was supposed to be getting away from my problems to process them. Not getting more of them!

But something else was happening throughout all the problems that were arising.

I was going to daily satsangs with Rajivji.

I was hearing about all the most beautiful and liberating truths and practices from Vedanta and Yoga that are so dear to me.

Rajivji reminded us daily about the limitations of the ego, the importance of the intellect in controlling the mind, the essential role of god and the divine in our lives, and how the sense of permanent completion and fulfillment we seek can never be found in the world, it can only be realized within.

Rajivji during one of his satsangs.

Despite all the challenges and problems that were arising around me, some deep blockages and mental obstacles began clearing away.

I didn’t have fewer problems. That was for sure.

I had more, often basic problems like issues with running water and working electricity.

What changed then?

I had more clarity on the source of my problems.

Me.

Me and my own ignorance.

We all have blind spots.

We’re all victims of our own ignorance from time to time.

Even people who do a lot of inner work are not immune. Sometimes we’re even more susceptible than others.

This is why a teacher is so important.

The teacher shows us the parts of ourselves where we’re blind.

It’s those parts of ourselves that we’re unconscious of that trap us and cause us to suffer the most.

We simply can’t see them on our own.

It’s in those dark unconscious areas that we get lost, in those black holes that we tumble into, that the teacher, the guru, reveals his ever-flowing grace.

We hear the word guru thrown around all the time.

In fact, it’s seen as a derogatory term in many cases.

‘The marketing guru.’ ‘The fitness guru.’ ‘The finance guru.’

But what does guru really mean? Who is a true guru?

A true guru doesn’t really teach anything.

The Sanskrit word gu means darkness and the word ru means ‘dispeller of.’

The guru is a dispeller of darkness.

He casts out what hides the ever-present truth.

He reveals what’s always been there by dispelling ignorance with the light of knowledge.

Reality is total and complete as it is.

It’s only our ignorance about reality that prevents us from ascertaining true knowledge about it, not a lack of ‘truth’ in reality.

This is the essence of the ancient philosophy of Vedanta.

Despite all the challenges, problems and difficulties on my trip to India, I accomplished my goal of reconnecting with my Heart.

When it was time to leave, I felt sad to go, even though I was completely worn down and exhausted from the experience.

The light of the guru principle is within each of us.

You don’t need to go to India, you just need to open your mind to the words of a qualified teacher who can help kindle that fire within you.

The question is, do we care to listen to that voice of wisdom? Do we have an interest in nurturing it with our attention and love?

Or, is it clouded over by the mind’s perpetual thoughts, desires, and outward activity?

The grace of the guru is ever-flowing as higher intelligence and expansive love.

Yet, it’s so easy to lose our connection to that inner wisdom in the activity of the mind and ego.

Meditation, learning about Vedanta and self-knowledge, love of the divine, being quiet in nature, selfless service, the paths of yoga… all of these practices help us to purify and empower our mind, so that the guru‘s grace becomes available to us through discriminative wisdom and divine love.

Don’t neglect the power of the guru principle within yourself.

It’s easy to dismiss that such a power exists in our world ruled by reductionist materialist thinking.

Something bigger has to take over.

Something beyond you that requires surrender to awaken.

It’s in that place of powerlessness and surrender that we align ourselves with universal forces far beyond the power of our little, limited egos.

The ego is like a flame in the face of the sun of divine consciousness. It ignorantly assumes, ‘I illuminate this world.’ When in reality it’s the sun’s light that shines and makes life possible.

Paradoxically, it takes a great amount of effort to surrender. An army must battle to the point of exhaustion before it surrenders in defeat to a greater force.

It’s the same with our egos.

Until the ego exhausts itself and gains knowledge of the futility of its efforts, it’ll keep fighting. Keep ruling over us.

This isn’t to say we can’t find purpose in the world and through the ego’s activity.

Pursuing our purpose in the world is important. But it will never give lasting happiness. We’ll always need to achieve more, gain more, do more in an endless quest to satisfy the mind.

How can a limited action ever give the limitlessness we seek?

It’s a game that always ends in suffering and disappointment.

Happiness without an object IS you. You can never do anything to gain what you are.

You’re completion itself. Peace itself. Happiness itself.

This is the timeless, liberating wisdom of the guru.

It’s up to us to do the work of realizing it for ourselves.

I salute Rajivji, all gurus past, present and future, the universal principle of light that dispels darkness, the guru within you, and the guru within the Heart of all.

May the guru’s grace always be with you 🙏

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