A man searches out a famed guru leading to some surprising outcomes.
A Man and a Guru
J. E. McCarty
Once a man had great questions that weighed on his mind for what seemed like a lifetime, Why am I here, what is the secret of happiness, and, what is the meaning of life? These were but a few of his questions. Every day he yearned to find the answers.
He seemed to get through a day’s work, most of the time, without pondering great questions. However, at home he would often wonder about these questions. Many nights, he got little sleep, and then exiled from his and his wife’s bed, for reading late at night.
On one of his frequent visits to his local bookstore, he walked down the “New Age” aisle, like many days he has been in the store. On that day, a book caught his eye about gurus of the western hemisphere. There are gurus in this part of the world? He questioned in his thoughts.
When he read the book at home, “The Guru of Quebec” mentioned repeatedly. As he read farther, he was sure that this wise one had the answers he had been searching for all this time.
His wife, Ann, noticed the book he was reading. She didn’t seem pleased. “Steve, are you thinking about running off to find a guru?”
“I have been giving it some thought, after finding this book.”
She looked closer at the pages in the book. “Quebec, don’t expect me to go with you. I like it in this little town. And, don’t expect me to help finance such an expedition.”
“I don’t expect you to do anything you don’t want to do. But, this guru might help me to find peace.”
“That would be a change,” she declared.
Less than a week had passed when he chose to make the long, difficult journey to find this wise man. When he had saved some money, he told his wife, he would hitchhike north to find the guru.
Ann said, “Okay, you haven’t been much good to me here. But, if I don’t see you in a year, don’t bother to come back.” Steve gathered some basics and a few books, and began his journey.
At first, the long trip was bearable. But, as it neared its end, there were fewer travelers on the roads, which made his travels much slower. At night, he would read by the light of a fire. He often found himself cold and hungry, wondering, which question to ask first. Once, he lost track of time and asked himself, Has it been two months, or three?
When, at last, he approached the guru’s house, he still didn’t know which question he wanted to ask first.
Nervously, he knocked on the door. A little girl opened it.
He said, “Hello, little lady. I’m looking for a wise guru. Is this the right house?”
“Yes, I think so. But who do you want—my daddy, my mommy, or my Uncle Fred?”
Surprised by her answer, he asked, “Are they all gurus?”
“I guess so…everybody calls them that.” A woman came to the door. “Mommy, this man is looking for a guru.”
The woman looked at him kindly, and said, “You look as though you’ve been on the road a while. Would you like to come in, sir?”
“Yes, thank you. But, I don’t want to be any trouble, ma’am.”
“You’ll be no trouble. Please, come in and sit down.”
He sat down at a table next to a small kitchen. The woman brought him some fruit and a large cup of water.
“Thank you, ma’am,” he responded.
A few minutes later, while sweeping, she asked him, “Why are you looking for a guru, sir?”
“I have many questions about life. They have often kept me up at night. And, my marriage is in shambles.”
“We hear that often here. However, it sounds like you don’t know quite who you are looking for.”
A little puzzled, he took the book about gurus of the western hemisphere out of his pack. He then said, “I’m looking for ‘The Guru of Quebec.’”
“My husband is the one that gets that kind of publicity. But, he, my brother and I have all traveled much of the East in search of enlightenment. My husband and my brother are out. I’m not sure when they’ll be back. But, I am here.”
He looked back at her with frustration and uncertainty, and asked, “Are you saying, all three of you are really gurus?”
“Most people around here call us all that.
“That didn’t sound believable coming from the child who answered the door. From you, I’m not sure.”
“One of the beauties of childhood, is they say what they hear without any judgment.”
Still very uncertain, he shook his head and said the first thing that came to his mind, “What is the meaning of life?”
She started to sweep under the table, and asked, “Can I ask you a question first?”
With a sigh, he said, “Alright.”
“What does life mean to you?”
He paused to think for a moment, and answered, “For me, life has been a search for understanding.”
“Then for you, the meaning of life is a search for understanding.”
“Is that all?”
“No, that’s not all life can mean. Life, in and of itself, has no meaning. Your life waits for you to give it meaning.”
He was very surprised by her answer. A bit angrily, he said, “Life must mean more than a search for understanding!”
She picked up a dustpan and said, “Yes, I’m sure it can, and does. You need only to give it a new meaning. As with all of life, only you choose what it means to you. You choose how to experience your life.
Then annoyed by her responses, he asked, “What is the secret of happiness? And, why am I here?”
She emptied the dustpan and said, “Happiness isn’t about what has happened in your life, what you have, or what you have done. What makes you happy is choosing to be happy. Happiness is an ever-present gift from God. You only need to choose to experience it.
“You are here to experience and express who, and what you truly are.”
He was confused; in disbelief, he said, “I do not understand.”
“What is stopping you from understanding is that you don’t understand who you truly are.”
Then offended, he said, “I haven’t forgotten my name. I have gone to a lot of trouble and difficulty to get answers to questions that I can understand.”
She sat down at the table and said, “Your name is just a word you use to identify yourself to others, and maybe to yourself. It is not who you truly are.”
“Then, who do you say I am?”
“You were created from a piece of God. That is who you are, for the most part; you are here to experience showing that part of you, and more, to the world. By seeking to do that in your life, you will truly begin to know and understand who you are and why you are here. Then, you will find your meaning of life, and your happiness.”
“That’s a very profound statement that I’m not sure I can believe. But, assuming it’s true, how can I do that?”
“By looking within, to start, I can hear my husband and brother returning. Why don’t you stay for dinner, and we’ll talk about that?”
“I would like to see where that will go.”
The woman greeted her husband and brother as they came in the door. “How did the meeting go, Hun?”
“They seem well on their way to resolving their issues.”
The little girl runs up to the door. He said to her, “How has my girl been today?”
“I’ve been good, daddy. I’m glad you’re home.”
The woman’s brother said, “I see we have a guest.”
The woman replied, “Yes, this gentleman seems to have gone to a lot of trouble to find ‘The Guru of Quebec.’ We had an interesting chat while I was tidying up. We spoke of ‘the meaning of life,’ why he is here, who, and what he is, and happiness.”
Her husband said, “Then, it appears it’s time we had a chat with this gentleman.”
As the two men walk up, he stands to greet them. He offers his hand and says, “Good evening.”
The woman’s husband says, “Good evening, sir. Most people call me Ronald. And this is Don.” They shake hands. “It seems you have already met my wife Becky and our daughter Genie.”
“Most people call me Steve. Yes, your daughter answered the door and your wife invited me in. Soon, we had an interesting conversation.”
“What brought you to this quiet piece of the world?”
He picked his book up from the table. “This brought me here.”
“I think I remember someone came around researching for such a book a little over a year ago. I wasn’t sure if anyone would use it to find us. But, it seems the Creator put you and this book together to bring you here.”
“The Creator, I simply found it in a book store.”
“You have much to learn, Steve. You can clean up from your long journey. After dinner, we have much to talk about.”
For about the next two months, the man spent most of his days meditating, at times, while surrounded by three gurus. He also studied the nature of life, and learned how to make it work, knowingly. He learned how we are all different, while all one.
“How can life be a personal process of creation, while it is not important what we create?” he asked.
Don answered, “Our story, and the things we cause to come into our lives are not the true objects of life. What the soul yearns for is to experience itself for what it truly is, and what it chooses to be. You experience this by choosing your state of ‘being’ in relationship, to who, and what you are experiencing—now—in your life. In this way, we all discover ourselves.”
“How is that a process of creation?”
“Your state of being is the spark of all creations in your life. This is what brings all things, people and events to you.”
“Ronald, you say the Creator hears all prayers, knows our every act, word and thought. And, the Creator is a loving God. Yet, so many prayers seem to go unanswered.”
“Part of the answer is in your question. The Creator hears and sees all of it. This, the Creator all knows without judgment, almost like the eyes and ears of a child. How many times have you wished for more money, and then began thinking about all the trouble more money would bring you?”
“More than a few times.”
“What life brings you is the sum of all you think, say and do. How you feel about it is also important. The most creative way of feeling is to be grateful that what you have called forth from life is on its way.”
While he was meditating early one morning, his mind went silent, his eyes popped open, and he almost seemed aglow. He said, “You haven’t been completely truthful.”
Ronald asked, “How have we not been completely truthful?”
“We are as you have been saying. But, we are more; we are even more than anyone has allowed us to dream we are!”
Ronald smiled and said, “Congratulations, you just took your first big step toward Enlightenment! So tell me, how are we more?”
“I’m not sure I dare to speak of what I have seen.”
“Alright, speak as much of it as you feel comfortable with.”
“Well, there is only one of us here.”
“Yes, you took a big step. But, it seems you have some religious issues to work out. Nevertheless, you are well on your way.”
* * * * *
He hadn’t been out of the house much lately. Gathering dead wood for a wood heating stove was a new experience for someone from the city. But, this walk in the woods was different from any other he can remember for another reason. He found himself looking at everything, as if he had not seen anything like it before.
Ronald asked, “Steve, are you noticing something new in this old forest?”
“Sort of, it’s not that I am seeing anything new, it’s that I’m seeing everything, as if I hadn’t seen it before. It seems like I’m looking through a new pair of eyes.”
“We are always looking through a new pair of eyes…. You have done a lot of meditating recently. This has brought more of your attention to the here and now; and your mind has removed some of its filters. And so, you’re seeing many times what you’re use to. If this continues, you’ll get use to it.”
“What should I expect next?”
“I don’t know, should(s) and shouldn’t(s) are only ways of thinking. Your soul might know. The Creator listens to it. After we finish gathering wood, would you be okay with coming with Don and me; we are going to have a discussion with some neighbors.”
“Sure, why not, it sounds like it could be interesting.”
After Steve, Ronald and Don walked a little more than a mile through the woods, they came upon a simple wooden building that was like a cluster of smaller buildings, which housed several small businesses. They went around to the back where there was a room for public functions.
Inside, there was a small gathering seated along one wall. On a table at one end of the room was a computer.
Ronald said to Steve, “Take a rest. You’re not used to walking two kilometers through ruff terrain.” He then said to the group in the room, “I hope you don’t mind a visitor. Steve is a fast learning student that has been with us for about two months. He’ll soon be ready to go back out on his own. I felt this is a good time for you to meet. If he is ready and willing, he will return to the states. He seems to have a lot of business knowledge.”
Steve was a little surprised. That was the first he had heard Ronald say anything about being ready to leave soon. Nevertheless, he took it in stride, few things upset him now.
Ronald and Don sat down. Ronald and asked the group, “How have your discussions gone since our last meeting?”
One of the men said, “We have all agreed that the most workable solution is to each align our policies with a collective community vision. Each of us wrote up what we thought would be in our communities best interest. It took a couple of days to put together a ruff draft of our collective vision.” The man handed Ronald and Don a copy of the document.
Ronald said, “This is real progress!”
“I thought you might be impressed. Now, you said something that caught my attention. If Steve, being a student of yours, has business knowledge, and will soon be going back to the states, I have something I would like to suggest to him.”
“I don’t see any problem with that.”
Steve was not expecting much attention to come his way. He looked to the man in the group.
The man said to Steve, “Part of our vision statement is reaching out to larger communities. We have a Unity Church here. Have you heard of this church?”
“Yes, it is basically a Christian church that is open to other beliefs as well. But, I haven’t been involved much with religion.”
“That’s a good nutshell description. However, your religious beliefs may not be an issue. The Church here has a new assistant minister that is interested in opening his own church in the states. Neither he nor his wife has much business experience. Perhaps, you could meet and discuss a possible partnership.”
“It sounds interesting. But, managing a church would be a new experience for me.”
Ronald said, “‘Traveler, there are no roads. Roads are made by walking.’ That’s an old Spanish proverb. Us humans are often at our best in unfamiliar territory. And remember, God speaks to us in many ways.”
Steve looked at the two of them for a moment and said, “Well, it won’t hurt to talk it over with the minister. But, that makes me think; when I return home, are the lessons over?”
“They don’t have to be. Do you email?” Ronald pointed to the computer at the end of the room.
* * * * *
Ronald asked, “What time did Pastor Goodman say he will be picking you up?”
“About eleven o’clock,” answered Steve.
“You may want to allow yourself twenty minutes to walk to the road. It doesn’t look like it will rain this morning.” He hands Steve a thick envelope. “This should have all the information you will need for a while, including the email address you can write to.”
“Well, I would like to thank all of you for this experience. It has been Enlightening.”
“You’re welcome, Steve; that’s what we do. I see your future as very bright.”
When Steve was set to head out the door, Ronald, Don, Becky and Genie were there to send him off. They all stepped outside and Becky handed him a sack. “Here is something to snack on during the first leg of your new journey.”
“Thank you, Becky. I hope it wasn’t too much trouble.”
“No, it’s something I do. Have a good trip.”
Steve started his walk to the main road.
He had stood by the road for a little over five minutes when Pastor Goodman and his wife Margie pulled up. He climbed into the car and the pastor said, “Get comfortable, Steve. I hope to cover five-hundred miles today.”
“No problem, Pastor, it will be a lot easier than my trip here.”
“Everybody calls me Ed.”
“Okay, Ed, I hope the weather holds up.”
“It should be alright, at least until we cross the border.” Ed takes off from the side of the road. “Did Ronald give you an envelope?”
“Yes, it contains information he wanted to give me.”
“I think it contains more than that. Have you opened it?”
“No, but maybe I should.”
Steve opens the large envelope to find another envelope with its contents that has his name written on it. He opens that envelope to find it filled with money.
“You’ll need to change that for US currency when we reach the border, Steve.”
“Where did this come from?”
“We took a collection for you. You’re going to need some money until I can start paying you for your services.”
“How are you going to do that?”
“Aside from some money I have, the Church has connections in the states to start up new churches.”
“I hope there isn’t too much money in here.”
That evening they reached the border. Steve’s processing didn’t take long, because he is a US citizen. While Pastor Goodman and his wife were in processing, Steve went to have the Canadian Dollars in his envelope exchanged for US Dollars.
He met up with the Pastor and his wife after they finished their processing. “Ed, there was over seven-hundred Dollars in that envelope. Can the members of your church really afford to give away that much money?”
“I would assume so; there is plenty of industry in the province. The sparse population can be deceptive. And, our church is not a small one. Are you ready to get back on the road?”
* * * * *
The following morning, Steve got up from his meditation suddenly. He was in good spirits and full of energy. Margie commented, “You’re a live wire this morning.”
“Sometimes, meditation has that effect on you.”
“You don’t seem as stressed as you did yesterday, either.”
“That is a common effect of meditation.”
“Yes, we should all meditate regularly,” said Ed. “Isn’t that right, Steve?”
“It’s good for the soul. It is wise to do as your heart tells you. Should(s) and shouldn’t(s) come from our minds It is not always wise to do as one’s mind tells you.”
“How profound!” Margie remarked.
Ed said, “You’re beginning to sound a lot like Ronald.”
“We’re all a lot like Ronald; most of us just don’t know it yet.”
“Okay, Steve, let’s have breakfast. We have another day and a half’s drive ahead of us.”
Long drives are few people’s favorite pastime. But, Steve didn’t mind this one. When it became dull or unpleasant, he made it into a meditation. As their journey neared its end, the conversation shifted to Steve’s home life.
“How long has it been since you have seen your wife, Steve?” ask Ed.
“It’s been close to seven months.”
“How do you think she will respond to you showing up after all this time?”
“I’m not sure; but she gave me a year to come back.”
“Doesn’t that trouble you?” ask Margie.
“It concerns me. Before I made this trip, it would have troubled me. I do wish to be back with her. But, I now know I can live with what is, in the here and now, without judging her or me.”
“That sounds like you’re just going with the flow.”
“Not truly, it is accepting reality while continuing to create a new reality, according to whom and what one chooses to be in the present moment. We cannot go back and change what is now, but we can take part in creating tomorrow. No matter how the present appears, life is always moving forward.”
“Now, you’re really sounding like Ronald,” Ed said.
“That may be true.”
As their trip was reaching its end, Steve commented, “It was very convenient that you could open your new church in my town.”
Ed replied, “The US is largely open for the Unity Church. Many towns don’t have any, and few have more than one. It should make it easier to get back with your wife.”
“I am hopeful that will come to pass.”
“Then, our first stop will be your house.”
Just before sundown, they pulled up to the house. Steve said, “Her car is here, she is probably home.”
Ed told him, “I’ll wait until we know how it goes at the door.”
“I’ll do my best not to keep you waiting very long.”
Steve walked up to the house and rang the doorbell. The door soon opened and he said, “Hello, Ann, how have you been while I was away?”
“Steve, I questioned ever seeing you again. Did you find your guru?”
“Yes, actually I found three of them.”
“You do look better than you did when you left. I assume you are broke.”
“No, some people helped me out. I’m starting a new job. I am going to be the business manager of a Unity Church opening here in town. That is the pastor and his wife waiting in the car.”
“So, you joined a church?”
“No, I’m just going to manage it. You know I have never been into religions.”
“Did those three gurus answer your questions?”
“They were a big help with finding them. The answers have always been within me. I only didn’t know how to find them. I don’t know what the future holds for you, me or us. But, I do know we can create a future that is more desirable than our past. Are you willing to create that future with me now?”
“I would like to meet this pastor and his wife.”
“Okay, let’s go meet them.”
They walked to the car parked in front of the house. As they reached the curb, Steve said, “Ann, this pastor Goodman and his wife Margie. Mr. and Mrs. Goodman, this is my wife Ann.”
Ann said, “Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Goodman. How did you happen to choose my husband to manage your new church?”
Ed said, “Hello, ma’am. Aside from him having a business background, I know he had some of the best spiritual teachers. We talked, and he has the talents we need. These days, Steve is starting to sound like his teachers. Your husband has come a long way is only a few months.”
“It sounds like I got back someone who may be better than who left seven months ago. He won’t need a motel room tonight.”