When I read Rohini’s recent blog post, “Understanding Authority”, it became clear to me that it is impossible to truly be an “authority” without first having learned to obey and defer to authority. I get to choose, through my own agency, my willingness to surrender to an authority, and in doing so to know that I am going to receive the many gifts and benefits that come from that vital choice. I do not view this choice as weakness or as losing anything. I now see it as gaining everything. In that same blog, Rohini lists the key qualities of an authority: “integrity, honesty, expertise, discernment, and wisdom”. Another critical part of that same blog post is where Rohini clarifies that we should feel “safe” with an authority. This prompted me to a deeper reflection on what “safe” actually is.
I had to come to the realization that what I once “thought” was safe for me was not, and what I thought “wasn’t safe” for me actually was. I came from an environment where almost all my “supports” were not actually supportive of me or ever had my best interest at heart; there was no love. Thus, it took time for me to recognize and accept what real “Love” actually looks and feels like and what “safe” actually means and is. I am deeply grateful to Rohini for shining the light so brightly on this and helping me to see and know through actual experience what it means to be truly safe and truly loved. There were times in the past when, working through difficult lessons and strong attachments, I thought I felt “unsafe”, whether it was being yelled at, quieted, or called names. What I now know is that it was only my shrunken self (which I am beginning to understand isn’t even real) that felt unsafe. My true Self was and is always safe with my Guru.
For a long while, I did not want Love. I fought, hid, intellectualized, and was skeptical of the teachings and of the experiences I had. I am not sure what actually pushed me to finally begin the process of truly surrendering to and obeying my Guru; perhaps it was that my misery had become so overwhelming. Maybe it was something deep inside that knew, but didn’t fully understand, that there is something greater, bigger, better, and truer, and I just need to follow it no matter what. That something is my Guru Rohini; my way to God.
I recall another student a few years ago stating something like, “At some point you’re just going to have to trust her”. Those words stayed with me and over time, watching that student learn and grow in leaps and bounds, I was able to move to a place of trust that allowed me to start obeying my Guru. Rohini has always said “test it out”, so I did. And I have found that her guidance and direction always lead me to a place that is significantly better for me than where I would have ended up left to my own devices. I know where “me” leads “me”. I don’t feel I need to again test out “my way” to see if it will actually work this time. And I know that the risk of putting “me” back in charge is always there if I am not persistent and vigilant about spiritual practice as taught by Rohini.
In thinking about this development of trust, I came up with a fourchotomy:
|Trusting the Guru||Distrusting the Guru|
|Having no agency||Having your own voice|
I feel like for me that’s what it boils down to: being willing to give up my shrunken self, which isn’t really me and never was, in order to experience my true Self. That doesn’t mean I never have fear or even some angst, and I may still resist an answer once I get it; but I have tested it out enough to know it is the direction I need to take no matter what. As Rohini has clarified, we don’t need to drink the same water from the same cup 1,000,000 times in order to know it’s water.
At times the guidance, love and support I’ve received from Rohini have meant letting go of my attachments in different ways that were painful and difficult and necessary and freeing. I reflect on how Rohini was with me every step of the way when I almost lost my daughter to sepsis, guiding me with true Love, care, and support through the hell of that excruciatingly painful and horrific experience. Because of that guidance, I can now view that situation as one of the most illuminating experiences I have ever had. Rohini’s guidance is also the reason I recently graduated with high honors. Most importantly, I am beginning to truly love and care about myself; I want to live the life God wants for me. This allows me to love others in a way I never understood before.
I trust my Guru, and that is what allows me to choose to obey. My Guru is always for what’s best for me, for the Self, so following her guidance is surrendering to what is for my highest good.
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