Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | April 17, 2009


I made a list once , well a couple of times, of the influential people in my life, mentors, teachers, guides. Some, like my high school english teacher, Mr. Dick Binkowski, Fr. Ed Bradley who gave me my first copy of the Imitation of Christ, which I still have, was the first revelation, really, of the contemplative life, Professor Mazzeo who taught my Dante course at Columbia, these people I knew personally. Others become teachers through their writings or other media, like Thomas Merton, cistercian monk, who wrote about the contemplative life. I’ve had a lot of teachers who were exccellent, but didn’t reach that guru status. They taught me what I needed to know.

There are times when you have to recognize and accept that you are the teacher and the guru; this is a great responsibility because it’s so important to impart knowledge correctly for others to grow, and teaching is a great way to learn and improve.

In taoist thought, the adage is something like when the student is ready, the teacher appears and visa versa. I’ve been guruless for a while. I try to remain open to learning, not just from people but from the situations you encounter. The best kind of learning can happen in the midst of adversity, like being laid off from your job and trying to figure out what to do. It’s in these moments, as the I Ching advises, that your true faith comes out. Do you address life according to proper principles. Do you trust “the sage” to work things out behind the scenes, while you quietly go about doing what you need to do without fear and anxiety.

Still, it would be nice for a real live guru to pop up and take me by the hand. I just hope I recognize him or her and not blow them off because they look crazy or anything.


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