Tuesday, August 16, 2005


In my relentless pursuit of learning who I am and what this journey of discovery is all about , people are beginning to show up in my life who are in what I have been callng "purposeful alignment". Yesterday, I met with an old friend, Andrew Barber-Starkey, who has now built himself a very successful coaching and seminar business. We shared "war stories" about what it's been like to be in business with self-styled western world gurus and where our business is today without them, as the captain of our own ship .

His experiences and mine with individuals who ride the roller coaster of fame and fortune and are quite eager to take those of us who are willing participants along for the ride, are quite similar. We have all met them and in our desperate need to accomplish something GREAT in our lives...whether it's financial freedom or being recognized as a leader, we are willing to give up body and soul to follow them, dsspite the fact we know that these individuals are totally ego based and narcisstic in nature.

They are known to the western world mistakingly as "Gurus". Western style Gurus come in many forms: Self Help, Spiritual, Medical, Sales, Marketing, and pretty much for every category of human and business life. The challenge we face as human beings , is that we generally feel we need someone to help us get from point A to point B. Maybe it's the fact that our parents did it for us and so we turn to others for that guidance once we grow up. The truth is that we are by nature "lemmings" when it comes to anyone who even remotely appears to replace our parent/s...it's like we all need a "Moses" to take us to the promised land of milk and honey.

And so these people continually show up on our radar screen , until we learn we can actually do it without them and be really at peace with our own sense of integrity, truth , and we are able to design our own destiny. We don't need to live someone else's dream, vision, or reality. As this friend and I began to share these stories of what it's been like to live under the shadow of our personal western style "Gurus", we realized that the common theme is one of being dispensable when the Great Guru no longer needs you. The moment of truth is when you realize that he/she is neither a guru, your father, your mother , or the person you think can take you to the top of the mountain. The minute your loyalty and allegiance is in question ...he/she will remove you.... like a surgeon with a knife removing the cancerous tumour.

So what's the point here in my rambling today. Well, I have been in search of personal gurus my whole life, and interstingly enough they have found me. Every time they have found me I have been in a state of need, and looking for answers and meaning to my life. So rather than look within ,I chose the easier route of having someone else look after me...someone else who I perceived to have all the answers. And I was willing to pay big bucks to follow this galavanting guru to the promised land and take me out of the darkness and into the light. Because no one wants to be alone in the dark.

The lesson learned for both Andrew and I was that we can essentially keep all our ideas, maintain our self respect and integrity and venture forth alone to accomplish what we were meant to accomplish, what we love to do, and empower others to do it alone. We are merely guides and mentors. And for that reason we need to abolish the term "Guru" in our western society and replace it with the word "Mentor or Guide". I believe strongly in only using the term "Guru" with reference to the Eastern religion defintion of the "true" Guru:

A guru (गुरू Sanskrit) is a Hindu religious teacher. It is based on a long line of Hindu philosophical understandings of the importance of knowledge and that the teacher, guru, is the sacred conduit to self-realization. Till today in India and among people of Hindu or Sikh persuasion, the title retains its significant hallowed space.

Guru is widely used in contemporary India with the universal meaning of the word "teacher".
In the traditional sense, the word guru describes a relationship rather than an absolute and is used as a form of address only by a disciple addressing his master. Some Hindu denominations like BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha hold that a personal relationship with a living guru, revered as the embodiment of God, is essential in seeking moksha.

The role of the guru continues in the original sense of the word in such Hindu traditions as Vedanta, Yoga, Tantra and Bhakti sects. Indeed, it is now a standard part of Hinduism (as defined by the six Vedic streams and the Tantric Agamic streams) that a guru is one's spiritual guide on earth. In some more mystical Hindu circles, it is believed that the guru could awaken dormant spiritual knowledge within the pupil, known as shaktipat.

In tantric Buddhism, a guru is essential for the initiation,practice and guidance along the path. The importance of a guru-disciple relationship, is demonstrated by ritual empowerments or initiations where the student obtains permission to practice a particular tantra.

The Dalai Lama speaking of the importance of the guru said: "Rely on the teachings to evaluate a guru: Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism."

The Guru in Buddhism represents a set of teachings and beliefs that no common man is a God or a Guru and that we are all interconnected to one another to do good and be good and to understand that it is through the collaboratve efforts of humankind that we will always come from a place of abundance and happiness.

This weblog is designed to not only share with you the writings of my book, but I hope it serves as a well spring for your own journey of self discovery. I encourage you to write your story and I will post it, and with your permission we may use it in the book. And by the way, pay attention to those serendipitious meetings with people who just show up in your life. They are either a reminder of the past, a test to see if you'll drink the Kool Aid again or have you learned your lesson, and that you don't need a GURU, you just need a fellow traveller for the journey.

I would like to acknowledge Heath Row, the editor of Fast Company Now for recognizing the work we are doing with the book and this weblog, by recommending it in the lastst edition of FC Now, which can be found at www.blog.fastcompany.com. Thank you Heath.

Buddha Says: "Grasping after systems, imprisoned by dogmas for the most part in this world. But he who does not go in for system-grasping he neither doubts nor is perplexed; by not depending on others, knowledge herein comes to be his own."

Buddha Speaks Biz

No comments: