In Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert writes about one teaching she learned in the Ashram in India. “God dwells within me - as me.” This is similar to what my teacher on my 300 Hour Taught us: G U R U ( G, you are you). In other words - there is no guru. You are the guru.
This is the core belief of yoga. Within each of us, there is a god (ishvara) or guru, or universe, or intuition. This inner guru, or god, or higher power, resides in a state of conciousness that is unaffected by the kleshas (veils/obstacles/afflictions), unaffected by our actions (karmas), unaffected by the results of the actions, and unaffected by our trauma/memory/stories (smriti).
When we realize that the guru was never outside ourselves, but within us all along, and we surrender to this, then that is the quickest way to reach samadhi, or enlightenment. Stillness of the mind is a necessary practice to realize this.
When surrendering to an inner god or guru, it’s important to note that the guru within us has to be unaffected by the kleshas, or the five causes of human suffering. They are:
Avidya - spiritual ignorance. This means that the guru within us cannot be manipulated, cannot be lied to - because the guru within us knows what is true. Knows what is real. Knows that their yoga practice is the still point to which they can always return.
Asmita - the ego. The guru within us has let go of the ego and knows that they are part of something connected to everyone and everything.
Raga - attachment. And Dvesha - desire. The guru has no attachments to things he or she likes or dislikes. The guru practices no favoritism and has no desire to reward or punish the people around them for their actions.
Abhinivesha - fear of death. The inner guru knows that they can’t choose the moment they live or die - and can only choose what happens between our first and last breath.
Surrender. The teachings are not outside of you - they are inside of you. The universe resides in you - as you. There is no guru. You are the guru.
This is yoga.