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Be Your Own Guru

Image by *Zara (license).

“When we have begun to take charge of our lives, to own ourselves, there is no longer any need to ask permission of someone.”
George O’Neil

“Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will – his personal responsibility.”
Albert Einstein

“Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own”
Bruce Lee

Who will save you and finally solve your problems?

Tony Robbins?
Eckhart Tolle?

Nope. The one that will save you is the guy/girl in the mirror.

You have to become your own guru.

What does that mean?

Well, to me it means that you have to consciously decide to become the highest authority in your own life. That you have to take full responsibility for your own life instead of trying to put it on Tony Robbins and blame him when things don’t work out quite the way you wanted them to.

It means that you don’t have to hang on to one guru like s/he is a life preserver but that you can be your own guru that mixes and matches what works for you. That you practically experiment, keep what works for you and discard the rest.

Remember to still take leaps of faith

Here is a tricky part. To be your own guru doesn’t mean that you dismiss all the useful and great advice from other people or books and blogs. I think it is easy to fall into this trap. You let your ego run wild and feel like you are the smartest person around.

This leads to you not being as open as before. And so you may dismiss advice and opportunities that could help you to grow to the next level.

So as you are your own guru you also have to be open to the fact that you don’t know everything. And it is helpful to understand that on one really does. Because then you understand that a guru is in the end just a person. And so you can stop putting him way up there at unreachable heights and yourself way down here. This insight loosens up and lessens the inner boundaries that you have set for your own potential.

Now, to grow we must often take leaps of faith.

Sure, I thought that much of this personal development stuff was empty motivational nonsense or just scams a few years ago. I thought that Eckhart Tolle’s stuff – like the Power of Now and A New Earth – was a bit vague, new agey and weird. Still, I took leaps of faith and learning about this stuff and applying it has really help me out in life.

So don’t confuse being your own guru with knowing everything and dismissing anything you might feel resistance towards. It is actually the things we resist or fear on some level that will often help us to grow the most if we move towards them.

Find and decide what you and are your life is all about

In the end now one knows or understands exactly what you dream about and all the positive and negative experiences you have been through. No one can know you better than you know yourself.

No one can take responsibility for what will happen in the rest of your life but you. This is scarier than trying to push that responsibility on to someone else. But it also can also set you free.

Free to experiment with your own and other people’s thoughts and find what works best for you.
Free to find who you really are deep inside.
Free as you realize that yes, no one is coming to save you, but on the other hand you can create your own life and path through it.

People can help and support you. But in the end you have to take responsibility, become your own guru and decide what you and the rest of your life will be about.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Positively Present May 20, 2009, 3:48 pm

    YES! You’re so right about this! We are all looking for someone to be a guru for us, when, really, it’s up to us to be our own gurus. I love the first quote you’ve posted. Wonderful!

  • Srinivas Rao May 20, 2009, 4:51 pm

    Hi Heinrik,

    It’s so funny you mention this. I was thinking just the other day how much more insightful I’ve become about personal development after starting my own blog dedicated to it.

    • Henrik Edberg May 21, 2009, 4:09 pm

      That’s a good point, it’s easier to learn about something if you write about it and teach it to others too.

    • Jowee May 25, 2009, 3:06 am

      Yeah, I think it all comes down to the principle where you learn better by doing something than listening to or reading something.
      Teaching ourselves the way we should think is a lot more pleasurable than reading an article telling us what to do, without indicating a way in which we could change our thoughts.

  • Roger - A Content Life May 20, 2009, 5:04 pm


    I love this post!

    It’s so easy to hand our responsibility over to a guru, but it doesn’t work. You have to be responsible for yourself and live with your decisions in order to have a chance at happiness.

    I think your advice about being open-minded to new, potentially useful ideas is correct.

  • Matthew | Polaris Rising May 20, 2009, 11:32 pm

    Probably the best spiritual teacher for this was Krishnamurthi. He was once set up as the guru of a great branch of the Theosophical movement. In a famous speach, he said that essentially that everyone must be their own guru, and from this is his most famous quote,

    “Truth is a pathless land”.

    • Henrik Edberg May 21, 2009, 4:11 pm

      Thanks for the recommendation, Matthew. Interesting quote, I’ll add him to my to-check-out list.

  • twenty 3 May 21, 2009, 10:03 am

    Fantastic article. I feel that people begin to rely on reading material and gurus too much that they lose sight of their own unique genius within.

    • Henrik Edberg May 21, 2009, 4:12 pm

      Yeah, I think that can be a problem. You have to find the right balance for you and keep advice in it’s proper place.

  • Anthony May 22, 2009, 7:15 am

    “Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own” – Bruce Lee

    That quote never gets old.

  • TheCashGiftingStudent May 22, 2009, 11:42 am

    I was very impressed with this blog post. I have been subscribed to this blog for over a year but I rarely read because it is not connected to my primary email. However, this particular post made me feel very good and I look forward to reading many more posts in the future. Especially in business along with life in general people tend to blame their failures on someone else. Although, as you mentioned regardless of whether we rise or we fall we should always be looking within for the answers.

  • Pia | Taunaki May 28, 2009, 9:38 am

    It’s a good post on taking responsibility for your own life, which it in essence comes down to.

    One thing I’d like to add is that by relying on a guru to help us forward (others than ourselves that is) we become dependent. Dependency on anything or anyone only serves to undermine us and tear us down in the long run. Dependency only serves to have us give up responsibility for ourselves.

    Thanks for the post.

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