As I prepared to enter the sanctuary one Sunday morning, a visitor I’ll call ZZ approached me and eagerly shared excitement about being there. ZZ heard about the church and about me from a church-member friend. I felt flattered, and also curious, wondering what ZZ might be seeking.
Later, in the receiving line, ZZ pumped my hand before entering the fellowship area. Several minutes later, ZZ returned, bubbling with enthusiasm, carrying a piece of paper and a pen. As I turned to him, he thrust the paper and pen at me and said, “I want you to write something down.” Before I could discern what he needed, he rapidly and repeatedly told me about a local guru he wanted me to meet. He repeated how much Local Guru could help me and about what Local Guru did.
As he continued his stream of consciousness, my belly constricted. At first, I felt confused and annoyed, wondering why he thought I needed the advice. Then, I remembered my “compassion ears,” the part of my pastoral radar system which listens beyond what is explicitly said.
When ZZ finally took a breath, I said I knew about Local Guru’s work. Then I said, “I imagine Local Guru has helped you tremendously on your spiritual journey.”
“Oh, yes,” said ZZ, again pushing the paper at me and repeating how much it would help me, too.
Still ignoring the paper I said, “Thank you for sharing your story with me. How fulfilling to find a teacher you can learn from. Perhaps there’s something you’d like to learn here too?” I asked.
ZZ shrugged and said he didn’t know. Then he thanked me and we parted amicably.
Later, I reflected on the conversation. I remembered times in my past, as I discovered my own spiritual path, when I gushed unsolicited advice about a favorite guru I thought someone else needed to follow. During that time of ardent seeking, when I thought all the answers I sought existed in books and gurus, I learned a sacred truth from a blessed counselor who said: “Jenn, maybe you could put all the books in a box for a while and stop looking for your guru. Listen to yourself. Then, you can be your own guru.”
Be my own guru? Her words stunned me. Then they sank in, and they remain with me still, years later, as I’ve journeyed through two different careers and into ministry.
I regret that I didn’t share my former counselors’ wisdom with ZZ, though I’m honored to share it with you, Blessed Reader.
Many of us seek answers to sometimes unanswerable questions, as we sort through all the facts, figures, opinions, and other assorted information which bombard us daily. Yet, with faith and trust, we can continually tap into our own inner wells of wisdom, knowing we receive the true guidance we need as we discern what’s best for us and our lives.
In Part 2: Some practical ways to begin nurturing the inner guru.
© 2016 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks. All rights reserved.