It was a sweltering summer’s night, and the humidity in the air was so thick you could almost cut it with a knife. Young people in leotards and tights filled the second-floor dance studio, eager for the class to begin. Taking his position in front of the students, the teacher led us through warm-up exercises and movements. Soon everyone was feeling exhilarated, though dripping with perspiration.
I had always loved studying dance and had been in classes since childhood. Two of my friends and I had signed up for an advanced dance class held in the evenings at a local university, and were enjoying the physical challenges and creativity that the gifted teacher brought.
“Watch the movements I do across the floor, then line up, and repeat the pattern individually,” he instructed. This was always a challenging part of each class, because it required the ability to concentrate and inwardly tune in to different sequences that he demonstrated only once.
That evening after the teacher had moved across the floor in a particularly complicated pattern, I realized, as we lined up to repeat his steps, that I hadn’t been paying close enough attention. I had no idea how to repeat the movements. Continually moving to the end of the line to avoid the embarrassing moment when I would freeze up in front of everyone, I finally was the last one left. All I could do was say helplessly, “I’m sorry, but I didn’t get that pattern.”
The teacher smiled, took my hand, and slowly led me through the steps, turns, and leaps. “Now,” he said, “do it slowly on your own.” I was able to do it, although haltingly. “Okay, now feel the movements within, and do it in a flow.”
I could do it! What a joy it was to feel the freedom of moving in a pattern that had completely eluded me a short time before, and to make it my own.
Recently we were sharing with some friends about how a true guru demonstrates God-consciousness through his actions, and guides us inwardly to find that state ourselves. The experience in that long-ago dance class came to mind, with these take-away points:
1) Be attentive to the guru’s guidance and teachings.
2) Feel the flowof his consciousness, not just his isolated words, to inform your actions and thoughts.
3) The guru wants you to succeed. If you come to a karmic block that you don’t know how to get past, don’t be embarrassed to ask for help.
4) Follow his lead and, more importantly, his inner guidance to move past the tests that come to you.
5) Persevere until you feel assured that you’ve tuned in to the guru’s consciousness.
6) Use this awareness to build strength and confidence for the spiritual journey ahead.
Swami Kriyananda once said these words about attunement with the guru: “True disciples may leave outwardly for a time, but they are never really gone. They always have Master in their hearts, because this connection is put there by God. This loving soul-contact is the essence of what Master came to bring into our lives. You can get spiritual teachings from books, but what the great masters really bring is their consciousness and grace. What we must try to do as disciples is tune in with Master’s consciousness, his loving presence and guidance, in every act of our lives.”