The Local Guru

I had the chance to ponder the difference of local versus global gurus recently.

With access to global experts, artists and gurus we are loosing the ability to appreciate the events and personalities right here in front of us. Take for example the kid in school that can sing pretty well. Don’t we compare this to the kid superstar we have seen on American Idol? The standards we now set are so high that many can not live up to them who would have been a local star in the past.

A local Guru

The same seems to hold true for gurus, gurus in the widest sense as spiritual counselors or guides. Many years ago that role was taken by the local priest, pastor or shaman.

Then came radio, TV, and finally the internet and we have access to the creme of the crop. We can invite Deepak Chopra into our house even thought the communication might be a bit one-sided, we don’t really look much further than his lesson or book once we had the best available.

But I had the opportunity recently to find out that there is actually still the market for local gurus. I was invited to a class of a lecturer who teaches his students about the necessity of loving oneself. I was certainly interested as I had quite a few talks with my friend who invited me and whom I value immensely.

The address was a residential area in Pasadena and the directions called for ‘upstairs.’ So we climbed the stairs and found a small group of people in anticipation of the lesson. One of the attendees doubled as the sound engineer as the lessons were recorded for posterity.

It was a very nice and uplifting atmosphere and some students took notes when the teacher gave his talk. It was a nice talk, full of truth and rather uplifting. No fixed amount had been asked to attend the class but everybody was encouraged to give however much he or she wanted.

It was a different world that I got to know there – a little group of people coming together around a local guru helping them leading their life in a better way and directly being paid for it. A really nice A to B, far different than the total detachment I grew up in where there was no connection to be found between the local spiritual leader and the money paid to him through channels spanning different levels involvingĀ  government and church administration (in Germany a ‘church tax’ is collected from the pay check and then, through the government, distributed to the main churches.)

I will probably not go again because there were too many ‘you have tos’ and ‘you cant do thats’ without a hint on HOW if I can’t do it to start with – but one good thing I got out of the class and that is something that I have to make myself really real:

Hard Work only causes perspiration.