After my break-up from my 7-year relationship, I started to use anger to propel me forward to complete tasks. When sadness, hurt or whatever other emotion, came up, I diverted my mind to other “things”. I sorted out my taxes and receipts – if I ever get audited, well my paperwork will be the most organized thing they have ever seen. I painted my walk-in closet, threw clothes out, watched TV, among other things … it helped but I was also trying to keep my mind occupied and avoid feeling.
I have never been one to look for a Guru. A Guru is a Sanskrit word used for someone who is a spiritual teacher. Their students revere them as they help them to evolve to their highest, spiritually. They exemplify a pure life … well supposedly. This is where my mistrust comes in. You only have to Google Gurus and find a stream of articles on how some Guru was/is sleeping with his/her students or focuses on the accumulation of money.
The whole concept of thinking that I need someone outside of myself to experience some profound spiritual awakening reminds me of some age-old doctrines. Why can’t you bypass the middleman and go directly to God? What is so special about this middleman or woman?
But after my break up, I was/am on a quest to find something … perhaps there is something magical about being blessed by a Guru, perhaps there are people out there that know more. And so when a student of mine invited me to meet her Guru, I said yes (with some skepticism).
That morning I had woken up with a heavy feeling on my chest, as though someone had sat on my chest the entire night. I knew that I was using anger as a thick, heavy band of protection around my heart. We arrived at this beautiful yoga studio where an altar was set up. All the mirrors were covered and the smell of burning sage filled the room. We then recited 182 versus of the Guru Gita (which is LOOOOOONG). I did not understand a word of it and everything that came out of my mouth, I am sure, sounded like gibberish. I recognized a few words: guru, samskaras, ananda, but then followed that up with more gibberish.
After singing and chanting, we went one by one up to the Guru to receive our blessing. We needed to have an intention, something we needed help with, but we didn’t have to reveal this to her. I was told she will tell you something she feels guided to share with you for your spiritual development. As I went up, she gently smacked me with some peacock feathers – I guess cleansing me of some negative energy. She then rubbed the feathers over my heart and said: “Feel”. “Feel.” “Feel.” She repeated it over and over until tears started to well up in my eyes and this wave of sadness took over me.
Afterwards, we ate the Prasad (a sweet treat made and blessed by her) and we enjoyed a potluck together.
That afternoon, I came home and all these feelings and emotions came up. I felt every emotion and let myself go with the tears. I don’t think I had ever experienced anything quite like that before. Before I would cry or experience emotions but there would be a level of judgment attached to it or I would keep them at a distance. This time, I saw them come, I went into the eye of the emotion, with no judgment, no need to move on, and observed. I felt every part of it. It just was. I had never fully felt the depths of my emotions before. This was vulnerability and love – being so intimate with the rawness of all my emotions.
My conclusion with Gurus – I am open to the concept; although I am not 100% sold on it. After all, I was also talking to a mentor and friend around that time who kept telling me to feel my feelings and I was working with a therapist who kept saying I needed to attune to my feelings. So perhaps it was a combination of all these people sending me the same messages.
At the end, this Guru proceeded to sell us on her retreats. I also strongly warn people about blindly following another human person coming across as being more than just human.
I learnt something incredible though through this experience – emotions and feelings are not something to be controlled, judged or avoided. Intense emotions from pain and hurt are uncomfortable. But you were hurt and you are in pain, so why not experience that and acknowledge them? We go to a doctor and they want to give us pills because we are supposed to be “happy”. We go to a spiritual “guru” and they offer us this pill in the form of “happiness” and try to cleanse us of “negative energy” – making us feel less-than or that there is something wrong with us. A wise man once told me that the most powerful warriors were the ones that knew how to grieve the most. It is ok to be sad. Something magical happened to me – my healing process sped up when I finally decided to feel the depths of my emotions.