Sunday, January 10, 2010

Be Your Own Guru

Quote of the month:
The greatest guru is your inner self.
Truly he is the supreme teacher.
He alone can take you to your goal and
he alone meets you at the end of the road.
Confide in him and you need no outer guru.
- Nisargadatta Maharaj

I've been wanting to write about this topic for a while. This seems appropriate timing as I recently attended a conference (sponsored by Hay House) featuring many authors of spiritual material, each sharing their own way to happiness, inner peace or enlightenment. Several proposed meditation and others prayer. Another had us dance and sing, another suggested healthy eating, still others spoke of 2012, another advocated self care and another past life regression.

In the quote above Maharaj is telling us to be our own guru. What does this mean? It means that only you can know what is right for you and spirituality is not a one size fits all type of thing. Listening to other authors, experts, friends...and ESPECIALLY my blog ; ) may have value and it may provide you with a piece (or peace!) here or an understanding there. In the end, it is more meaningful for you to develop your own sense of inner guidance on which you can rely.

This was made clear to me while listening to the last speaker at the Hay House conference. My friends had already left, so I was sitting alone. A young man (probably young enough to technically be my son!) came up and sat near me and began speaking about his weekend. He said his favorite speaker was Wayne Dyer. I shared that the first "spiritual" book I'd read was Wayne Dyer's, Your Erroneous Zones and that I had read it probably about the year this young man had been born.... ok I did not say that, but I did think it.

Since I'd read many of his books, the young man asked what book should he read first. I asked what struck him most about the talk. His answer did not give anything specific. I told him the best advice I could give him is to go to the bookstore (or look on line) and pick up each of the books, read the back and see what strikes him. There are many "good" books out there, but it would be more meaningful if he found what resonates with him. What I "think" might be appropriate to read first may not be what this young man needs to hear first.

Another recent example in my own life is with a very close friend of mine. I had given him a book that appealed to me. It was probably 8 or 10 years ago. I had forgotten that I'd even given it to him. This past month he wrote to tell me that due to a series of events in his life, he had just read it and how meaningful it was to him. I had given him the book when I wanted him to read it, years ago! It would not have resonated with him at that time the way it is now. It was not in my time but in his! This is being your own guru!

How can you do this in your own life? It is fine to listen to what others suggest, but make sure to weigh for yourself is this particular way is right for you. One way is by following your Intuition, which I wrote about in June 2009. You can do this by tuning in to your own internal voice, listening, learning to trust it and then to follow what it is telling you. Each of these steps are important to the process. I wrote much more about intuition in the June 2009 post but I will comment briefly here...

On tuning in and listening... The June 2009 post talks about the other "voices" one may hear and how they may differ from the voice of intuition. That is why I suggest practicing on every day things to learn to distinguish the voice of intuition. Some of these are listed in the intuition post. I also previously wrote that intuition is not fearful. In fact, for me, it is neutral. There is no strong feeling associated with it, which is how I have come to recognize it. Some call it the still small voice, usually more of a whisper, others may get a gut feeling or some may say it is the voice of God. Again, this interpretation may differ from person to person.

On trusting... trusting for me comes from feeling it in my body - it does not happen in my brain. I may hear the voice in my brain, but the KNOWINGNESS comes from the sense I feel - not from logic or weighing options in my head. I just want to caution here again, this is MY experience and that is all I can share with you. I hope that this may spur you to experiment in your own life and find what it is for you!

There is great freedom when one comes to trust in their own inner guidance. One no longer feels the need to consult as often with others, be like anyone else or act in a way that anyone else thinks they should. This is not permission for bad behavior.... intuition will not give that type of guidance. For me, I could only ever be the 2nd or 3rd best Wayne Dyer... or anyone else... if I tried to be like them - But I can be the first best Penelope by following my own guidance and trusting my own inner guru! Be the star in your own life! Become your own guru!

Take a look at the picture of the month in the post below. Our Ten Toes are as individual as we are and as individual as each of our paths are. It is a good analogy for being one's own guru! My good friend Kristin is doing just that! She has a photography business in South Florida called Captured Photography in which she captures the moments of our lives.

I would love to hear your feedback as well as any questions you may have or topics you may be interested in for the future. I also would like this to be a place where you can share your thoughts about what has worked or not worked for you. Feel free to do so by clicking the “comments” link below, at the end of each post. If you prefer, you may also send comments to me directly at

Until next month,
Here's hoping you keep it simple,


Penelope said...

From Daily OM, Jan. 14th, 2010

One may embark upon a search for wisdom that takes them on a journey of discovery encompassing foreign cultures, ancient spiritual practices, and the words of learned gurus. Searching for significance and a broader yet more personal ideology, one may find themselves researching concepts they might have otherwise have ignored. You may discover that seemingly disparate ideas blend together beautifully when you incorporate them into one's own experience.

Exploring a wide variety of ideologies and beliefs can help one create an individual value system that is as unique as they are. When we give ourselves permission to search for wisdom in a diverse range of philosophies and creeds, we will encounter concepts and practices that add value to our experience that we might otherwise have never discovered. One's personal ideology will begin to flow through the whole of their life, growing ever more broad and specific to their life, benefiting them in ways they never thought possible. In one's search for significance, they may discover that they can draw the wisdom they need from a variety of sources.

Penelope said...

"When you trust and act on your intuition, you increase your self-esteem, build trust in yourself and experience a profound sense of security that no relationship or amount of money will ever give you."
- Cheryl Richardson

Lifeline Counseling Center said...

Love this blog... question??? what if you have 2 voices and both feel like intuition and they are opposing ideas, what do you do then????

Penelope said...

Thank you for your good question!

In my experience, if the two "voices" are in conflict, typically only one of them is truly coming from intuition. There are a lot of "voices" in there as I discussed in the Intuition post

There is also additional information on where they come from in the post titled The Voice (you can also find links to both of these in the top box on the right column.)

As a reminder, for me, intuition is never fearful or suggesting something that may cause harm. It also does not have an "excited" charge to it, though it may subsequently feel energizing as opposed to draining. The information itself, is matter of fact.

As always, I suggest practicing with simple things that do not really matter (like buying apples or oranges) in order to better recognize one's intuition in more challenging situations where one's ego and fear may be much louder voices.

Some suggestions for making a decision:

1 - Sit with or meditate on each of them. See which one "feels" right to you.
2 - Visualize a path in front of you with a fork in the road, each representing one of the choices. Visualize yourself walking down each and see which one feels like the better option.
3 - Ask your intuition for clarification.
4 - Does one of the options make you feel tired or drained? If so, this is probably not the best option.
5 - Are they truly as in opposition as they seem? A part of intuition is to release the outcome. You may not know why you are being guided in a particular direction until after the fact.
6 - Is it possible it is a step 1 followed by step 2? (Usually this is not my experience, but may be for you. My personal experience is that step 1 would come first then later step 2.)
7 - If you do not need to immediately take some sort of action, then my suggestion would be to wait until you have more clarity. If action is needed and you do not have clarity, I would suggest using the intellect to weigh the two options logically, then move forward as slowly as you can and stay attuned to future guidance. You may start down a path and then realize it isn't the correct way to go.

Best of luck with your decision!