In Search of the Guru

A guru is not a crutch. A guru is a bridge.

Once there was a student, well versed in the yoga scripture, seeking out the guidance of a guru. The knowledge this student had attained was deep, but something was still missing. The student asked around the village for whom could help. The universal consensus among the villagers was that there was an old man at the end of the road who could be of service.

The student went down the dirt road and knocked on the old man’s door. He opened up the door and the student explained how he was versed in the yoga scriptures but felt something was still missing. The old man told the student that he could help, but first to come back in two weeks.

Two weeks passed and the student returned. The old man invited him into the house. He said that before they began, he would like a cup of hot tea. He began to heat up the water in a tea kettle and set down two cups. When the water came to a boil, he walked to the stove, grabbed the tea kettle and returned. The old man proceeded to fill the student’s cup. The student watched patiently, as the water climbed up the sides of the cup to the brim. He raised up his hand to the old old man signaling to stop there. The old man, appearing to have not heard, continued to pour.

The hot water began to spill over the edges of the cup and onto the table. The old man kept pouring. The student quickly jumped back from the table just as the hot water began to seap from the table to the floor. The old man completely unphased, kept pouring.

At this point the table was a mess and there was water on the floor. The student wondered if this old man was in fact crazy. Finally when the water from the kettle was gone, the old man looked at the student and explained to him how this was his first lesson.

The student shook his head, clearly unable to comprehend the old man’s claim. The old man continued to explain. He told the student how his mind was no different than that cup. Both were completely full. If I am to teach you at this point, the learning will spill onto the floor. You must first empty your cup.

In that moment the student had found what he needed. He bowed to the great guru and went home.

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