There is a big difference between learning something from a teacher and just reading about it in a book. Listening to a teacher has a much greater effect on your mind. Being able to parrot the words written in books doesn’t mean that you really understand a subject.
Whatever we learn as human beings is being imparted to us by other human beings. From our parents we learn basic skills and information like how to walk, how to talk, how to eat, and what kinds of foods to eat, how we are to behave, etc. In school, we learn from a teacher, at the university, from a professor. The higher the goal, the more the necessity for a teacher who not only imparts knowledge, but who also gives practical help and guidance, a master in his or her field of study.
Our goal is to have not just an intellectual understanding of the path to enlightenment but experience of it. Without experience of the path we can’t have a clear, complete understanding of any of its points. Having experiences or realizations of the path to enlightenment depends on receiving the blessings of the guru within our own mental continuum. The clear, strong feeling in our heart and deep benefit to our mind are what are meant by the blessings of the guru. Without a guru, we can’t achieve realizations. This is why it’s not sufficient to have just intellectual knowledge, like that gained from studying with professors in a university.
1. True gurus don’t expect anything in return
They might take donations for their cause, but they will give you their best, regardless.
2. True gurus are not attached
They are not attached to your getting any results, to you following them, or to you liking them. Therefore, they won’t be angry or disappointed with you, regardless of your actions.
3. True gurus help you find your own way
They may have a specific path to recommend, but fully acknowledge that there are many routes to enlightenment, and you should follow or even create the one that most suits you. Remember: the truth is ONE, the paths are many.
4. True gurus empower your own inner guru
They will always help you see, understand and tap in to your own power, grace, and beauty. When you’ve been with a true guru, your own light will shine brighter, and you’ll believe more in yourself.
5. True gurus want your freedom and independence
If they’re the real deal, they will urge you to create a life that works well when they’re not around. If they’re a charlatan, they will want to make you feel lost and needy when not in their presence.
6. True gurus don’t need to be affirmed by others
They don’t need an entourage, nor a following. So forget about phonies who demand your dedication, offerings and allegiance to them and their cause, or who are constantly in need of new devotees. Remember, it’s not about them; it’s about you!
7. True gurus walk their talk
It is easy to teach divine living, but very hard and rare to live divinely. Thus the true guru will teach by example, and will be non-materialistic, fair, grounded, peaceful, strong, generous, humble, and whatever else we would consider universally good.
8. True gurus are positive
Beware of gurus who make people look and feel wrong, have causes against something rather than for something, and look for punishment rather than compassion.
9. True gurus look content
This doesn’t mean that a guru may not experience sadness or grief. But seriously, can you imagine a guru who lives in a state of despair, depression, anger or anxiety?
10. True gurus live inside us all