The Immersion students did really great yesterday. Since we talked on Saturday about studentship, it was only appropriate to talk about The Guru on Sunday. Think about it, we have to understand studentship in relationship to teachers, teachings, and so forth.
I think a lot about these ideas for a variety of reasons. But one aspect of this on my mind these days is about how the function "guru" is revelation and it can come from within and from without. Gioconda and I talked abut it one time on a walk a while back , I think. The translation for "Gurave" in our invocation is "the true teacher within and without" and I think, like anything in yoga, this is one of those razor's edges of which you can fall off either side.
For instance, fall off the side of "the inner teacher" and you cannot avail yourself of the help and expertise of those people who have travelled the path before you. As you "go it alone", you will tend to ignore feedback, you run the risk of narcissism, your view of reality will never be challenged as to whether it is accurate or not. You will spend lots of time figuring something out for yourself that has already been figured out before by others. Fall of the side of "the outer teacher" and you disregard your own wisdom and experience, you will fail to develop discernment, your intuition won't blossom, and the empowered state of adult spirituality that is the point of all of this will be thwarted.
Those of us who teach asana see this all the time. We all have the "you're not the boss of me" students who come to class but are almost impossible to help. We also have the "I aim to please students" and the "tell me if I am okay" students who depend on the teacher's approval over and above their own. And each one of us, in our own studentship, tends to have a primary mode of approaching this ever-challenging dynamic. (And here we are only talking about asana class , not even the big stuff like spiritual teachers, etc.) Also, some methods seem to foster "Do only what the teacher says" and "you cannot trust yourself" and some methods foster "listen to your inner guide because you know more about you than anyone else."
What I love about John's teaching and about Anusara Yoga is that we are a middle path that as far as teachers (and guru's) go, encourages a soft heart, a sharp mind, a vibrant body, a sense of humor, compassion, commitment, the desire to serve the Highest, and a respect for individuality and personal freedom. And as studentship we encourage openness, steadiness, commitment, zeal, fluidity, discernment as well as deference, devotion, and respect for our teachers. When these ideals come together in a balanced way, the result is that the grace of the teacher and the grace of the student lifts both parties up. We literally carry one another along the way.
Anyway- lots more could be said on the topic but that's a wrap for now.