Contemplations from the 14th lesson on the Shiva Sutras.


The Guru is the means/the way/the path.

In this sutra Shiva is saying, in an unequivocally firm but caressingly gentle way, if you want to have success on the path to spiritual liberation/self-realisation/enlightenment; if you truly seek to free yourself from all mental limitations and constrictions; if you wish to embody your blissful, authentic, unbound Self; knowing and experiencing your truth beyond separation, narrowness and ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘mine’… then in no uncertain terms you will HAVE to follow the Guru. This, says Shiva the true Teacher, is non-negotiable. It’s as intrinsic an aspect of spiritual growth as sunlight is of a flower’s blooming. Herein the questions arise: Who or what is the Guru, and if we are supposed to follow this Guru along the path, where do we find said Guru in the first instance so that we might begin to follow it along the way?

So simply put, the Guru is the guide. The Guru is our means of navigating a way through the often dense and confusing jungle of life experience, toward an open space of clarity and truth wherein our deepest, highest Selves dwell in tranquil dignity. This guide or means of navigation, Shiva says, is within us all; an internal, innate reference and orientation system cast from eternal, infinite and immutable truth, and happily situated smack bang in the middle of our chests in that chamber of pulsating stillness we call the heart-space.

What we’re being told by Mahadev is that all our truest, deepest wishes and the foundation to the meaning of life itself are eminently realisable, if we only follow an illuminated guide along a specific path to glory. And what’s more is that guide, that heavenly Sherpa with the unerring fidelity and laser like verity, is located right here within us! Just 12 inches, that’s 1 imperial foot, south of the noodle, right in the centre of downtown Heartsville, in our very own thumping core!!

 But in order for us to ‘meet’ the Guru at the outset, to find it and tune into it you might say, we first have to be prepared to hear its unobtrusive guidance and subtle urgings. The Guru won’t shout to get your attention or compete with a noisy mind to pry your focus away from the conditioned mental habits which are largely the human lot. No, the Guru will simply sit patiently, serenely and non-judgementally, just emitting wisdom and truth regardless of whether it is received or not. No hullaballoo, just wisdom and truth, honest and clear. For this reason it’s often the case that we only become aware, or in need of our inner Guru when circumstances in life exceed a critical threshold, past which we begin to doubt the way our minds have been running the show, and we seek a deeper alignment than perhaps has been available in surface level, psychological ‘normality’. At this point (sometimes a crisis or loss is a precipitating factor) the established forms appear unsteady and unreliable, so we are forced to dig down into our fundament for a more profound and natural truth. It’s in this dig for freedom that we begin the great escape (cue the music!) it’s now we find the Guru, sitting silently in full lotus underneath the floorboards with shovels, picks and candles galore, wearing an ‘I’ve been expecting you smile’ and a glint in their eye. The Guru has a plan, maps, know-how and an indomitable certainty that it knows the way. And so gradually we begin a relationship with this indwelling Sage… the most important relationship we can ever have.

So the Guru is within. The Guru is the truth teller – our higher Self, a knowing force inside us. It’s clear – it can see – it’s not in confusion about stuff.

Yet as mentioned we do have another force inside ourselves. The conditioned mind. It’s a louder voice which is reluctant or down right obstinate in its refusal to open its ears to the truth teller. And so we have this game at play inside us. A game which sees the noisy, stubborn, pseudo authoritarian voice who claims to know better and best, desperately trying to drown out the steady, consistent, assured tones of the Guru’s voice which bellows not. The Guru’s voice gently issues forth with effortless credence and veritable wisdom at a subtle volume which remains constant; needing not to be heard, proven or even believed. This voice is chiselled from robust, enduring veracity and it’s unshakably secure in this.

So this dramatic tension exists in us all as the game plays out, the mental know-it-all trying to out-manoeuvre the intuitive solid Guru. And this is ok! This isn’t a problem, indeed it’s a true blessing that we’re able to identify and heed the subtler truth teller at all under the din. So the recognition of this latent underused faculty is the dawning of the higher intelligence in us; non-psychological and totally divine, sweet subtle Satya (truth) and valuable virtuous Viveka (discernment). Truly gifts of indescribable beauty and incomprehensible worth. Thus after some time and some success at tuning into the inner guidance system of the Guru, and finding that life unfolds like a wild orchid under the Guru’s stewardship, rather than the intermittent shower of broken bricks and sawdust which was life under the dubious guidance of mixed-up mind, our connection to Guru intelligence grows with our courage and trust in it. More and more we start to live boldly in openness and receptivity, and less with a sense of isolation, fragmentation and ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘mine’. As we progress without selfishness, fear or need, gradually the path unfolds ahead of us and we move toward the reality of oneness; so grateful for the day we met the Guru, the flow of wisdom, truth and love.


The Guru is the means.

Find the Guru.

Trust the Guru.

Follow the Guru.

~  by Elliot Donnelly.


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