Guru Purnima

I am in the habit of noticing that everything seems to be connected. That often I am listening to something initially different but inevitably the same. I find this interesting. It cues me in to how simple life is, despite our practice of complicating it. Maybe we do have all the answers right in front of us and the outcome lies in what we choose to do with our knowing.

To illustrate this further: Yesterday I was in consultation meeting at my job, Portland DBT, and a fellow therapist, Brian, was leading us through a mindfulness practice, which we rotate weekly. He spoke about our “teachers” in life and asked that we envision all of the people who have shown up in our lives- in a pleasant or painful way. We then tried to see our more “difficult teachers” as “Buddhas,” which is just to say that we tried to see them without judgment, and embraced whatever lesson they had for us. A belief that is held in DBT and shared by other mindfulness practitioners is that finding meaning in pain, “making lemonade out of lemons,” is a key component of coping with life’s difficulties effectively. I really agree with that.

Then later on in the day I made it to a yoga class at Love Hive with Jess, one of my most favorite occurrences, and she sat and told us that we were going to sing the ‘Guru’ mantra in honor of ‘Guru Purnima,’ which is a sacred festival celebrated in the Hindu tradition. The purpose of this holy day is to honor the Gurus or teachers in our lives…

Now- first, I highly doubt, although I could be wrong, that Brian from work knew it was world Guru day aka Guru Purnima. I think he was literally just reflecting on his year, as he said, and thought that it had been a particularly shitty one and that that had to be about something- that there had to be a teaching, a lesson in his pain. So, there is one significant link or perhaps coincidence… but also- the second link is that the Guru mantra I mentioned Jess sang is one that I learned years ago from one of my teachers named Jeffrey in NY at Sonic Yoga, and I have not heard a teacher repeat that mantra since then.

And what is my point? Well, one is to honor your teachers… because positive or negative, we learn something from every single person we come into contact with- and seeing especially the people that challenge us as teachers is a less miserable way to be in the world. And also, that it seems to be important to notice the inter-connectedness, inter-relatedness of life’s occurrences- because it reminds us that we are not alone, that we have wisdom, that we know what we need to do and how to navigate our personal storms, and that maybe the purpose of our lives in a blanket statement is to have experiences together and learn and grow and create a reality that is worthwhile to us.


Happy belated Guru day! I am grateful for all my teachers- the gentle and the tough.