When we start on the path of sadhana, though we may understand that there is something greater than who we think we are, we tend to operate as if sadhana is just stretching and making bigger who we think we are. In that light, we believe that there is only one playing field, and that to be spiritually enlightened is to be a magnificent player on that one playing field.
It follows that we believe we already know the rules of the game, and what a winner looks like.
This in turn means that we inevitably see ourselves as being in competition with the Guru. What the Guru teaches appears to us as just a different way to play than what we know is right for us. We are already moving in the same direction as the Guru, but the Guru is failing to see that our way of playing is the appropriate one for us, and will get us to the same destination.
What we are failing to see is that we are living in a limited vision of reality. We have desperately worked to shrink the Guru to our size. But the Guru is the grace-bestowing power of God, and there is no shrinking God. Our attempt to shrink the Guru is based on a set of premises that are wrong.
The first premise is that there is only one playing field and all games go to the same conclusion.
The next premise is that everyone comes to that playing field with the game they learned as a child.
The third premise is that the Guru also comes to that playing field with the game she learned as a child.
Inevitably, then, we will see the Guru as imposing her game on us. And we will resist that perceived imposition. Within the logic of this delusion, that is the right thing to do. But the point is to free ourselves from delusion.
If we believe that, then we are convinced that if we play our game well, we will reach the same goal the Guru wants for us, but on our terms. And when we see the Guru, we are actually then judging the Guru’s game on that field.
Another form this delusion takes operates from slightly divergent premises.
The first and second premises—that there is only one playing field and everyone comes to that field with the game they learned as children—remain the same. But then a different kind of judgment enters in.
The third premise here is that we believe our game is the only one that gets life right as a worldview or bottom line. We then know how to bring the game to a winning conclusion. Everyone else—except the Guru—plays the same game we do, with varying degrees of skill.
It follows that the Guru must not be playing, or teaching, the right game. We then have to resist her teaching—not because it’s not right for us, but because it’s not right for anyone.
When we see the Guru this way, she becomes something like the best player on a losing side; we reject her game but want to pick up from the Guru the skills that we can use to improve our own game and win at life.
In other words, we want to remain within our system and extract from the Guru whatever it is that will help us play our game to its fullest, on the only field there is. This is how we use seeing the Guru as a way to support our own system.
Here is a fourchotomy that captures this delusion:
|Exploitive / user||Nurturing|
We think of ourselves as savvy players in the one game on the one field, and see the Guru as nurturing but ultimately pathetic, not savvy enough to win in the real world. In reality, we are only trying to exploit the Guru to win a child’s game.
The truth is, we have chosen to remain blind to the reality that there is more than one playing field. Because of this delusion we cannot see how the Guru is actually operating and what she is encouraging. The Guru may appear on our field, but she is actually playing a categorically different game on a completely different field. It is our delusion that she is, like us, playing a game she learned as a child; she is playing the game she learned from her Guru, just as her Guru learned it from his Guru.
We will never progress on the spiritual path until we see and accept that we have to give up our cherished game and all its rules, and enter as beginners into the Great Game of the Guru, the only game that takes us to Love.
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