Searching for a Guru…


In prep for this coming quarter, I thought I’d watch a few documentaries that might expose my students to the idea of critical thinking and questioning the status quo, not to mention that I really enjoy documentaries with a spiritual flavor.

I  knew going into the documentary that Kumare was fake, a man doing a Borat-style (though, seemingly with less malintent) social experiment meant to expose the ease in which swamis/gurus/prophets/babas/etc can exploit people’s desires for truth and connection. I knew he was fake the whole time. They tell you right from the beginning, and then you follow him on his journey to become the false-prophet Kumare, and gain a following, but I found myself compelled by his persona the whole time.

What is it about the search for a guru that compels me so much?   I WANTED to believe in what he was saying and who he was. It’s crazy the feeling that I had while watching it, because I am normally the most skeptical person ever.I sit in church and pick apart the sermon. I read and analyze and am open to learning, and yet in so many other ways I simply give in to emotion and believe random things that come along that just “feel” right to me.

So why do I feel like I want a guru/teacher? In my mind I envision sitting at Jesus’ feet and it feels SO RIGHT, but he’s not here anymore, and in so many ways I feel like his message has been twisted and changed by the church and pastors to mean something different than it was intended. It makes people feel unloved and unaccepted, and that’s not what I believe to be true.

In so many ways I have felt a part of a spiritual community in our home church, but now with a little-one and a church comprised of 70+year old grandparents, and virtually no under 3 child program or way of me getting my spiritual needs met while Potamus gets his spiritual needs met, leaves me feeling frustrated. And yet I’m not inclined to go to the neighborhood rock n’ roll church with a preacher I disagree with, simply because they have a “good child program.” I also don’t want to drive a bazillion years to get to church, because I like that ours is in the heart of our town and is such a community feel. I wrestle with my motivation for wanting to go and my motivation for wanting to stay home. And my desire for Potamus to have spirituality as a foundation, but wanting to steer away from the way my fundamentalist upbringing.  I know that I believe being a part of a community is important, but if I were to say I have a “guru” it’d be in the form of writers like Anne Lamott or Donald Miller or Brian McLaren. But part of me wants to sit at the feet of a teacher and experience the love. Ya know?

Thoughts? What influences you spiritually? Do you have a teacher you resonate with? Have you seen Kumare? What were your thoughts on it?

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