“Everything in the world was my Guru.”― Ramana Maharshi
Lately the Inner Teacher or Guru has become very popular as an idea of self-empowerment. People believe that they already know the way or that something will guide them to the correct path. So things that they are attracted to or things that make them feel like they are in the flow are the correct decisions based on their intuition. And things that they have aversion to are signals of the wrong way to go, thus protecting them from the wrong path. Here we need to consider who or what is feeling attraction and aversion. Is this type of intuiting any different from the attraction to sweets, junk food, or intoxicates that make you feel good for a short time, or aversion to things that challenge us or push us to go beyond our comfort zones that may aid us in maturity or development.
Upon direct investigation one can see that Life or Source is simply open to everything. It is all playing out, the most sublime beauty and the seemingly heartbreakingly tragic. Life is and allows it all. And as one really relaxes, becomes more open and receptive then one notices that this sense of attractions and aversions naturally soften or even disappear. This place is closer to what people think is their intuition or inner teacher. So clearly, if one is still having strong attractions or aversions it is one’s personality masquerading as intuition. If one takes an honest glimpse at their inner functioning, they may realize that this is happening most of the time within the mind structure. In most cases, it is just people innocently maintaining their comfort zones and patterns of pleasure seeking, or feeling and aversion to impending challenges. After all we are human and this is not unusual behavior. This is not to say that this inner guide never manifests but that in most cases the personality coopts it and also takes credit for it. In order to have access to a deeper intuition, as first one needs to go beyond the impending whirlpool of the mind (chitta-vritti) through a process of undoing so that decisions can come from a place of soft or gentle clarity without a sense of aversion or attraction, or any sense of correctness. It is simply a choice that is spontaneously made. However the personality can start to fake this as well. Then one might ask how does one know for sure when a decision is coming from the place of Truth. In this case, one might ask, who or what needs to know. That which needs to know or be correct is the personality. It is kind of a dilemma. The best thing one can do is to be radically honest with oneself and avoid having a sense of correctness. This is kind of a surrender and natural humility. Just do your best and have no need to be correct. Learning to live without correctness while still having a sense of openness, love, respect and humility towards all things.
On the other hand, this kind of self-empowered idea of the Inner Guru also seems to negate one’s openness to receive help from people who have taken the journey and know the way. When people say that their inner self will guide them, I scratch my head. If that is the case, then why are they not realized or enlightened by now? In my personal journey I have only met two people who have attained a high level of realization at a young age without the aid of a physical teacher, they of course had guides and teachers beyond the body. Even the Buddha studied with teachers before he was enlightened. It is interesting that these same people would take for granted that one would need schooling and the help of teachers to become a doctor, engineer, or a nuclear physicist. But when it comes to something far more rare and difficult as realization they would not need guidance of someone who already completed the journey?
When I discovered the inner guru it was probably the most profound thing that happened in my life. Through inner investigation, I understood and knew that the teachings of selfless love and compassion, openness, receptivity, humility, truthfulness and neutrality/equanimity etc. are not just teachings to be a nice person, or to promote inner and group harmonies, but that these were the qualities of one’s True Nature itself. One just had to be That and these qualities would naturally bloom and arise by itself. Ultimately, there is no inner or outer Guru. All of manifestation and beyond is the Guru. When one becomes truly small, soft and humble then this grace of Knowing and Being is always there.