Yesterday, being the appropriate full moon, was Guru Purnima, a very special day to honor your teachers, lineage, and spiritual pedigree in the Indian tradition. Being a bastardly work-a-holic lately, I started my work/crash weekend sleep schedule, and was unable to observe formally. In fact, if we are talking truth talk, I totally forgot about it as I randomly dozed while stretched out on the floor.
But today is another day, my friends, and today I will sing to you of the glory of your teachers!
Teachers, especially to we who dwell sideways from everyone else, are like parents. Sometimes awesome, sometimes awful. Either way, like parents they are the necessary preceding link in the chain of spirituality right before ours. Traditionally, the Guru is thought of as more important than your parents, more important than anyone, because it is they that train you for liberation/power/what have you.
I almost agree. The Guru, to me, is like someone who pulls you from the fire, who gives you the needed piece of the puzzle, or teaches you to find it. They push you out of the way of traffic. They teach you a livelihood. Just as important, just as pivotal, but different. Meeting the teacher, either in person, or through their words/deeds, is a turning point. A place where your life literally takes new direction, even if only a jump to the left. The teacher, in some sense IS the crossroads.
We will always be indebted to those who came before us in our traditions, weather bastards or blessings, because they are so pivotal. That said, we are not obliged to be exactly like them, totally understand them, be worshipfully slavish to them, or put up with them if they are cruel, unjust, abusive, or otherwise injurious to ourselves or others.
The Guru helps us become spiritual adults, people that can take care of ourselves, and make our own profound contribution to the world. If we are only trying to be a carbon copy of them, using our mouths to parrot only their words.. we fail. We fail to truly carry on our tradition, and what's more we fail both teacher and self, by simply hearing the words and not witnessing their meaning.
Now, is it possible to get along without a teacher? Yes. Yes it is. But even going it outside of an earthly tradition we will still have the Spirits and Nature herself to teach us. God Herself if the Great Guru, and if nothing, and no one else we should be thankful for the constant self revelation of Divine Reality.
A real Guru isn't there to help you realize how awesome they are. They are there to help you realize how awesome YOU are.
To all my teachers, living, dead, and other, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.