Finally, with just a couple of us left to go, he came to me. Stepping in front of me, his hands folded, he looked at me, quizzically, for the longest time. The room fell silent. And then he said, “Why are you here?”
This was not a question he’d asked anyone else. “I’m here to learn meditation,” I said.
He shook his head, smiling, and said, “No. Why are you here?”
“Uh, because… I… I want to learn how to meditate?”
“Why are you here?” Now he was stern.
I had no idea what he was looking for, what answer he wanted. I tried to start a sentence, “I… uh…,” but I had nowhere to go with it, so I just shook my head. Tell me, I wanted to say. Why am I here? Maybe that’s why I’m here–so you can tell me why I’m here. But the little monk just shook his head again, rather sadly, I thought, and moved on to the other two or three people still left to talk to. And I had missed my chance. For healing. For release. For relief.
Many years have passed, and I have had many teachers, the Thai monk included. Some in the flesh, some from books; some teaching by example, some by challenging me, some by loving me in spite of myself. Many gurus. Many who have helped remove the shadows in me.
Then there is the true guru, the constant guru, the one that lives inside each of us. That is the Higher Self. Spirit. Soul. The heart of me. That place within where I know myself to be at one with the Divine. And the mantra given me by my teacher that guides me there, again and again, meditation after meditation. This is my guru. This mantra, and this place within. The remover of shadows that I never need question, never need wonder about, never need distrust. It is as much a part of me as my breath, as my heart. It knows more about the essence of me than I know myself. It brings light where light is needed. It brings me where I need to be. It is the greatest gift I’ve ever been given, because it has given me myself.
Today I will acknowledge the teachers in my life with gratitude, and I will allow their presence in my consciousness, along with my meditation, to disperse the darkness within me–to take away the shadows of the day.