Upaguru. If you are reading this word for the first time, it may seem like it should be a
character from Willie Wonka right next to the Oomphaloomphas! But get used to it; allow the word to roll off your tongue a few times, because it's a good one!
So, yogi Pat M. shared with me an article by Joyce Rupp about her Upaguru. Since I am using it
as my theme, that makes Pat my Upuguru!!!
Let's start with the word Guru. Those more familiar with the Americanized use for this word may see a Guru as a supreme expert or someone who is enlightened, untouchable. Broken down, though, the word actually means going from darkness into the light. So , a Guru is someone who
leads you from dark (unknowing) and helps you into the light (knowledge).
The word Upaguru means the teacher nearby. Since everyone and anyone that crosses our path does so for a reason, they all should be looked upon as an Upaguru with something to teach you.
Some of our Upagurus flit through our life for but a moment; literally, minutes. Others seem to stick around until we have caught on to the lesson and maybe then they move on.
Elizabeth Goodman writes, "Sometimes we meet a stranger just for a moment, but the stranger in that moment exhibits such grace, that the stranger is one of our teachers for life. It is by being open and spacious that we get the opportunity to recognize those who have just one perfect teaching for us. When we are closed off, we can miss both teachers and teachings."
Lessons don't necessarily come in pretty boxes with shiny paper and trailing bows. Some people we
have to deal with don't either! They are Upuguru's as well. How are you going to deal with them?
If Upuguru means the teacher nearby, does it have to refer to a person? Christopher Page writes, "The upaguru means that whatever is happening in my life at the moment, can be my teacher if I am able to open to the lessons my circumstances have to offer. "
This is a lesson in contemplating everything! What about the objects near you? I found a website that pictured a fan, a reminder to be cool. It showed an arched roof on a house, a lesson to aim high. A mirror teaching us to reflect before taking action. The clock to remind you that every
moment is precious. Think about that! What if, tomorrow, every clock or watch your eyes settle on brings to thought every moment is precious? How will that change your actions, your words, your day? I feed a chipmunk outside my front door every day. He is a definitely a lesson in patience and being still.
From the article Pat gave me by Joyce Rupp:
"It took awhile before my Upaguru revealed itself. Surprisingly, this teacher had been there all along, almost directly in front of me, but my senses had to become alert before I could receive its message. There it was: a healthy, young birch tree. Midway down its trunk dangled a completely dead branch, still tightly affixed to the tree. Even though death was firmly fastened to the young birch, at least a dozen healthy, green-leafed branches stretched outward from other parts of its trunk.
"The longer I sat and gazed at the birch tree, the clearer the teaching became. “Live with the brokenness and keep on thriving. Let the deadness of the past or the present remain if it must, but turn toward what longs to be enlivened. Choose to focus on what matters. Do not allow your own
or another’s apathy, resentment, disappointment, hostility or any other negativity to consume the nutrients in you that feed love. Be a conduit of loving energy just as the trunk of this birch tree is a conduit of life for those green-leafed branches.”
" ...If I could summarize the teaching I received that day, it would be this: “Focusing totally on the dead branch results in a narrowing of vision and a tight, empty heart. Releasing that focus and opening up to the possibility of growth does not deny the dangling branch. It simply lets it be
and nurtures what can still produce life. For the human heart, wounded yet resilient, much remains. Always it can be touched by divine grace.”