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Mentors and Teachers All Around

Originally Published February 4, 2008

Montauk Kundanasana

Montauk Kundanasana

Invocation to the Guru
Guru Bramha
Guru Vishnu
Guru Devo Maheshwara
Guru Sak Shat
Param Bramha
Tash Mayishri Guruvey Namaha

-Patanjali

For many years, this mantra has been a part of my daily practice. I chant it to myself after my yoga practice and anytime when I am feeling overwhelmed (which is often)…before you go running of, passing judgment and calling me an eastern religious freak, you must first understand the translation of this mantra….its meaning is universal regardless of your dogma.

Literally translated, the invocation to the guru has a profound meaning-

I bow down to all of my teachers
the teacher which is the life that I was born into
the teacher which is this life that I continue to lead
the teacher who is all hardship and difficulty set before me on my path
the teacher who resides within and sits without
and the teacher who is beyond all of this, formless and supreme
I offer all of my efforts, bowing down with love, respect and devotion.

Who are your teachers? The answer is “everything and everyone who you have ever encountered in your life, especially those who you disagree with!” I have always held a special place in my heart for this mantra. It is really important to me in my discovery of whom I am and who I aspire to be. As human beings, we tend to get caught up in situations without taking a moment to look at what each situation is teaching us about whom we are and its impact on our lives.

Recently, I was debating with a friend about dating and relationships. Both liberal and independent women, we were debating our ability to date, or consider, a long term relationship with someone who had opposite political views (for example, conservative man with liberal woman). Playing the devils advocate, I said that for me, as long as they are willing to listen to and respect my viewpoint, that dating someone with differing views was not always a deal breaker for me…she begged to differ. Our conversation really went in a circle and our evening out ended shortly thereafter. Contemplating the context of the situation, I truly believe that there is a lot to be learned from people who are different from you. I guess, for me, growing into my liberal views in a sea of Conservatives, has been a great teacher for me. This current administration is one of the greatest teachers on how NOT to be…

A few weeks ago, my grandfather passed away. The man lived a life that American Dreams are made of…..some of you already know his story, and for those of you who don’t, on the surface, the 2 of us have the most opposite views about everything. But when I actually dug deep and looked back at this man, his life, and the impact that his conviction had on the people around him, I quickly realized that all along, regardless of his views, he was always a great teacher and a mentor to me. Unwavering in his values and conviction, he lived his life in great devotion to family and friends, enraptured in love with my grandmother, faithful and spiritual, an entrepreneur and businessman, and dedicated to charity. Once I was able to single out his values as actual values, rather than the fluff surrounding them, I realized that each and everyone of these traits was something that I aspired to incorporate into my life…he has been my mentor and teacher all along.

Politics aside….My point being…everyday and in everyway, we meet people, celebrate life in its glory, encounter hardships, and listen to our inner guidance….my challenge to you is how can you learn from these situations, the good, the bad and the ugly. Maybe it’s your choices in relationships….healthy or unhealthy…what can you learn and how can you change so that you break the energy draining and venomous ones and foster the healthy, glowing, brilliant ones? Possibly, it is what you are putting into your body or how you are treating yourself? So if your daily vocabulary includes words like, if I only had this or if I was just a little better at that, why can’t I meet the right guy/ girl or I am not good enough….maybe you should take a look around you, acknowledge what your teachers are telling you and reach out to the positive teacher….replace those phrases with words like….celebration, love, admiration, abundance and gratitude. You’ll notice the shift right away!

When you are walking down the street, embrace what you see….enjoy what feeds your soul, acknowledge that which is different and not in line with your values (and learn from it) and create your own mantra….today mine is love, abundance and laughter…I’ll be dancing my way to work…I’m sure!

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