Guru, self, connection, attention
Ancient tale retold:
So long ago that today’s world would be almost pure magic to them, two monks were close friends in the river side ashram of their guru. In that age, one would see something in the eyes of the guru, and from that point on, one was a dead duck, a total goner, in-the-cult-fer-shur, done deal, and cooked goose. One would wash the clothes, tend the garden, sweep the floors, and do anything to be of a help to the ashram’s community of spiritual adherents, and so be allowed to hang around with the guru.
Over time, by psycho-alchemy and osmosis, the very personality of the guru would be imbued into them-especially those with open hearts. The days passed in strict routine. Same food, same work, same study, same rough cloth robes, same lecture hall, SAME! It won’t take much to imagine how boring it could become-especially to those two young monks I started off telling you about.
They were, ah, so young. Young enough that, despite their love for the guru, their deep understanding about the tenants of spirituality, and their almost desperate need to become enlightened, they still could be had. Yep, had.
Oh let me tell you, brothers and sisters, had. Yes, brethren, Had. And that started with H back then, and that didn’t rhyme with T, but it stood for trouble just the same, right there in River City. You know, HAD! No matter how much you get your life together, no matter how structured your environment, no matter how deep your intellectual grasp of how evolution works, no matter how spit polished you can get your sandal straps, you CAN BE HAD!
And so it was that the monks would stand aside under a tree between tasks and talk with each other about the life on the other side of the ashram’s walls. And, of course, a great L of a longing arose in their hearts to know something more about the wicked world-especially the warm, soft, cooing parts.
Finally hadness was fully risen, and they determined to sneak out at night and sample the hereinaboveaforementioned wares of those who would willing provide the exact increase in temperature they sought from cuddly cooers.
But, ah, even hadness is not absolute. Yeah, you’re gonna get it leaking into the most retentive communities, but even a heart fully aflame can sometimes weasel out on ya, and the next thing you know, you’re back in the fold without ever having had even a whiff of the fragrances that cloaked the cooers. And so, get this, there they are at the fence, the evening lecture is about to start, and one monk stops hearing the call of the wild.
“I can’t go. I must take a hold of myself. I’m going to lecture.”
“I understand, but I’ve got to go. I’ll be back tonight.”
And over hopped one, and off to the lecture hoped the other.
Now here is the strange part. During the lecture, the hoper imagined the hopper’s exploits.
“Oh, by now, surely he is …… And, I’ll bet that rascal is…… I just know he’s……”
Now, at the end of the lecture, questions and answers were allowed, and this nightly dialogue was where the community would touch upon any issue mundane or spiritual.
But, at least one young monk was mentally asking himself.
“Why didn’t I go with him? Ooooo, I wonder what he’s doing right now?”
Finally, as the night was closing, at last, this young, lone, monk stood and asked.
“Guruji, please help me understand the ways of my heart. Tonight, one of us is missing. I saw him go straight to town, and I know what he was planning on doing, for indeed, I was planning on going with him. But at the last, I knew it was right to stay here. And now, I find I cannot forgive him. It seems such an affront to all that we do here and our great love for you and your life’s work. He’s been gone for hours now, and, alas, I can only imagine what now cannot be undone.”
All eyes were on the guru’s face. All knew who was missing. All knew what the town offered. All knew that the guru would know how to properly separate hopers from hoppers, and guide them.
And, lo, it was so. This guru wasn’t faking ANYTHING. Infinity was his middle name. If turned into a human being, Righteousness would have been found supplicating before him. We’re talkin’ GURU here!
Just as the guru was about to speak, everyone could see that the his eyes had become focused on someone just arriving at the back of the room. Without even turning around, all knew that only one person could possibly be coming there at that hour. It was, indeed, the wayward monk.
The guru spoke.
Without hesitation, the young man spiritually sank to his knees, and looking downwards began to describe his exploits that evening with complete honesty. And soon they all knew that, now, fully entered into the history of ALL THIS, all that their uppercase F Fear could have trepidated about had happened. After he stopped speaking, the silence in the room went from not-a-sound to not-a-thought. Everyone waited for the guru to speak before they would think again.
“How did it feel?”
Can you imagine the one single thought everyone in the room had next? Well, I can’t, but it must have been a doozy, eh?
The young man sank even further, and now, whatever had kept his body standing evaporated-flaming to nothingness-in an inner conflagration fanned by shame. He collapsed to the floor with a sigh, and again, recounted his actions and told how it had felt to be tortured all night, how, he could not stop seeing the guru in his mind and imagining what the guru would think, and what the guru would do, and what the guru would say to him. Well, you get the picture -this kid could have been a human balloon for all the eating-himself-up-inside he had done that night.
The guru spoke:
“How many here knew he was missing tonight?”
All hands rose.
“So, for this I give thanks-that one of you spent the entire evening with me.”
With that, he stood, and the evening was over.
Just what do I pay attention to all day long? What’s the message here? What’s my “top ten list” look like?
What’s the moral of this story? Really now, do guilty thoughts constitute love? Is attention in any form, well, attention? Could I feel angry at someone I love and yet that would still be love?
When I consider all the evil of the world that I DO NOT pay attention to, just what am I doing when I see some itty-bitty speck in the eye of another?
What’s worse, me putting the almost absolute inner power of my nervous system on an evil concept, or for a few seconds, physically and mentally “messing up a bit?” How do I compare “the time consumed finding fault” to the spending of a much lesser amount of time and thoughts actually being at fault?
When I AM single-minded, well, am I REALLY single-minded? Just how many thoughts in a row about ANYTHING can I have? What’s my record-like six maybe? If a monkey was jumping from branch to branch looking for the sweetest piece of fruit, would that remind me of my attention span?
What about this guru stuff-do I have anyone or creed in my life that could “HAD” me like that monk? How dangerous would that be to have something, anything, mean that much to me? Something external? Does that sound right to me?
This whole guru business-how do I fit with that? Is truth universally available or not? Is everything important already inside me right now, or do I need some holes filled in? Do I have a hole in my head? More than one?
Do I have a Guinness Book of World Records number of holes in my head?
Okay, let’s say that I “allow” a guru to be a living embodiment of eternal truth to me? Can I justify that since I am, after all, the one who’s interpreting the poetry of the guru’s life, and that certainly whatever meaning I come up in that process will have to have had its origin from the “pool of verity” that we all contain, right? Right? Only truth from within will resonate with its reflection found without, right? Right?
But, if I really believe that, then why would I choose to “read guru poems” instead of diving right into the pool itself and finding out what he’s writing poems about?
Pool? An ocean really, right? Am I spending my life on the beach “looking good” or am I “hanging ten?”
Am I a surfer or turfer?