One Sunday morning at church, a visitor gushed with excitement about being there and meeting me. After the service concluded, he thrust paper and pen at me.
“I want you to write something down,” he said and proceeded to advise me about how much I could learn from a local guru.
At one point in my life, I would have taken his words personally, imagining that I’d said or done something “wrong.” But instead, I realized that he was a spiritual seeker and wanted to share something which inspired him. He reminded me of my younger self, when I was discovering my own spiritual path, sometimes gushing unsolicited advice about someone or something I thought others needed to follow.
During that time, when I sought all my answers in books, classes, and gurus, I learned a sacred truth from a blessed teacher who said: “Jenn, maybe you could put all the books in a box for a while and stop searching so hard. Listen to yourself. Then, you can be your own guru.” Her words are some of the best advice I’ve ever received.
Especially during this season of uncertainty, adjustment, and ceaseless information streams, we need time to hear the still, small voice within, our own inner guru. This listening process is the kind of back-to-school work we can do anytime, anyplace, anywhere, because it always starts with us.
One of the best ways to begin is by contemplating some questions about our lives now:
- What, of our true heart’s desires, have we enjoyed from our bucket list? What are we doing to enjoy more?
- Which books, newsletters, posts, and feeds do we think we should read, especially if someone else recommended them? Do they provide the education and enlightenment we need? What would we love to read, study, or follow instead?
- What projects and activities must we do for our own and our family’s well-being? Are we taking enough time for our own self-care? Are we trying to do other jobs or complete tasks which someone else is better equipped to handle?
- Which people truly listen and encourage us in living our dreams and passions? Which people try to catch us in their webs of drama and gossip?
- When we request advice, do we understand what is said? Are we assisted in determining our own needs? Or does the advice-giver act as if they are the “only” expert, following the “only” path, offering the “only” product there will ever be?
- What feels like a drain on our time and energy? What do we truly love doing?
While these questions may take time to consider, the answers will help us learn new truths about ourselves as we begin a new school year, return to the office, or re-set our minds to new opportunities that fall often brings. As we keep listening faithfully, we allow our inner guru to guide our discernment. And better than any gold star is the sense of ease and peace of mind we feel in how we choose to live now.
Previously published in the “Faith” section of Peachtree Corners Magazine, “A Back to School Message from Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks,” Summer 2020, livinginpeachtreecorners.com