Friday, August 31, 2007

Guru or Teacher?

Or both?

I read somewhere (in Ram Dass's Be Here Now? in Laurence Platt?) that the difference between a teacher and a guru is that a teacher teaches you stuff, and a guru is the teaching, is the energy you want to attain.

Americans are so afraid of gurus. That's part of the problem with Werner Erhard; he was/is a guru for so many people, and people are afraid of gurus. When there was lots of negative publicity about Werner, including the false charges and misrepresentations in the early 1990s, my father, who was quite frightened by the guru-disciple aspects of my relationship with Werner through his programs, was quite sweet and said, "remember the teacher is not the teaching." The question, of course, was had Werner turned out to be just a teacher and not a guru (in the best sense of the word)?

What is becoming clear to me that Werner is a guru, in the best sense of the word, of the west. I think it was an interview with Warren Bennis, although it could have been with someone else, where he said that after he met Werner, life started happening to him in a different way. There's an energy, a new perspective, a shift that happens. It happened for many of us. It really is true for me that since I did the est training 27 years ago, my life has happened differently.

Experiencing Werner as what people in India would call a guru doesn't mean that I think he's perfect, flawless, or that the he doesn't have the ability to be a total asshole. It doesn't mean that I "agree" with every aspect of his expression; it doesn't mean I think everything he has ever done is "right"; and it certainly doesn't mean that I believe any particular thing he has said. It really is that there's a way of being that I got through him. One can try to describe it, but the descriptions just give concepts, not access to the experience.


Susan Davis said...

Thanks for the link "Matthew"! I also have been through a mny of Landmark courses. I absolutely believe that they opened my life up to a new dimension and changed many relationships in my life. Please stop by my blog again soon!

matthew said...

You're welcome!