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Have you ever heard someone refer to another as a “guru?” In its native Sanskrit, the term “guru” can be defined as a “mentor,” “guide,” or “teacher” who is an expert within their field. To break the Sanskrit definition down even further, the term “guru” can be defined somewhat literally as a dispeller of darkness; the syllable “gu” meaning “darkness,” and “ru” roughly translating to “s/he who dispels them.”
Throughout the history of these different religions, philosophies, and cultures, gurus have played a pivotal role as spiritual guides, assisting others in learning and realizing truths the guru has already learned themselves. In this way, gurus allow opportunities for others to grow by instilling the importance of learning and evaluation in their individual thoughts and actions. The aim of this has traditionally been to bestow knowledge and wisdom onto those learning under them, who can then, in turn, continue this cycle for others – the passing of the baton so that the human evolutionary journey can continue through lived experiences in the mind, heart, body, and soul.
In this way, the true role of a guru is to elevate the collective consciousness of humanity. If one person’s consciousness can become elevated, their discoveries can be shared, allowing others to benefit from the same learnings and perhaps even take it one step further, creating an eternal circle of uplifting energy that elevates the human experience beyond the limitations we perceive it to have, in order to stretch the growth of humanity’s collective consciousness to deeper and higher plane.
Gurus among us
Another way to look at a guru is to see them as a master of where you want to be. Traditionally, in centuries past, people would seek the aid of gurus to help them achieve spiritual enlightenment; Nirvana, or the “promised land.” In today’s world, that enlightenment remains the goal for many; however, the means we use to go about achieving it are as vast and different as are the number of species in existence.
By training with masters in different disciplines, everyone has the ability to become a master – “a modern guru.” Let’s look at some of today’s perceived modern gurus, which we call life coaches, such as Sadhguru, Robin Sharma, Jay Shetty, and Gabby Bernstein. Each of these coaches have created for themselves, a belief system that has helped them get to where they are today. They use a system that they have created from learned knowledge and lived experience, to help others get to the same point of mastery that they are saying that they have accomplished.
Sadhguru instills spiritual wisdom to his followers through practices such as yoga and meditation, both of which have been shown to help entrepreneurs improve their cognitive abilities and heightened their performance.
Sharma’s award-winning books which include, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, uses Sharma’s own experience of leaving a career as a litigation lawyer at 25, to provide a self-help guide to help others do the same by finding a deeper purpose in the day-to-day noise of a business-centric life.
Shetty utilizes his experiences as both a former Hare Krishna monk and a dissatisfied corporate employee to help others learn practical tools, life skills, and techniques to improve their organization’s performance and meet their individual development goals.
Bernstein’s holistic approach to coaching, helps others adhere to their goals of self-development by instilling values like “self-love” to migrate through tumultuous times and uncomfortable periods of growth that every entrepreneur goes through.
I always say that the growth of an individual leads to the evolution of the collective: one cannot exist without the other. We know that when this simple but potent concept is disrupted, we experience trauma. The level of trauma that we experience greatly impacts our ability to grow, which is why some of us never move beyond a certain point. This is when we need to seek help from others — such as the guidance of a guru — because by taking lessons from examples of these gurus, we too can evolve to discovering our True North and becoming our very own modern-day guru.
Belief + Guru + Execution = Growth + Transformation
This is the formula that I use to coach my clients to make the shift from where they are, to where they want to go. Let me break it down. When you start with a belief that will lead you towards a goal, enlisting a guru’s guidance and applying their lessons to your own life will lead to growth and transformation.
Recognizing that you are meant to grow and achieve your goals, be they personal or professional, requires an open mind and a disciplined work ethic. While a teacher provides you with instruction to advance your knowledge in a given area, which is based on a structured method, (i.e., “one plus one equals two”), a guru guides you to use that acquired knowledge to multiply your understanding of that knowledge’s potential (i.e., “one plus one equals eleven”).
So, coming back to my formula – “belief” + “guru” + “execution” = “growth + transformation” — the big takeaway here is that you must at the very least, belief that you are destined for more than you currently have, and that you need to seek out someone who has what you want and to learn and action from their formula to grow and transform your life to where you want it to be.
It is at the end result of this formula after we have dedicated ourselves to achieving growth through applying it to our own belief system, that we can become our very own guru.
Raising the collective consciousness
I believe that the concept of raising up the individual consciousness in order to elevate the collective consciousness is the only way to anchor life in meaning. With meaning, there is purpose, and with purpose, there is hope, and with hope, there is an incentive to take on the pain that comes with stretching to achieve the growth that will take you to your respective state of nirvana.
In today’s world of noise and distractions, being intentional with what we absorb or excrete – and who from – is the difference between accomplishing our purpose or not.
If you’re ready to open your mind, put in the necessary work, and trust in a guru, it is the one step that will change your life. The rest can be taught by a guru, and you can use that knowledge to continue the cycle by becoming a guru for yourself and for others.