Ep. 73: How to Be Your Own Guru

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I get asked a lot where the name for my podcast, “Rebel Buddhist”, came from. Often people will say, “Wow – I can’t imagine a rebel Buddhist with like guns, or weapons – isn’t that the opposite of Buddhism? Isn’t that a kind of…oxymoron?”


And I’m thinking, “That’s not exactly the definition of ‘rebel’ that I had in mind.”


Here’s where I’m coming from:


My main motto is, “Free Your Mind, Free Your Life.” When you free your mind of the things that no longer serve you, the freedom you experience in life also follows. But freeing you mind requires a new, radical way of thinking. You really need to go against the way most of the world thinks. And against how the brain works when in its default mode.


If you search for the definition of “rebel,” one says a rebel is, “a person who resists authority, control, or convention.”


And that’s exactly what you have to do to create a life of freedom, adventure and purpose: go against convention. Conventional ways of thinking. Of definitions of success – and how to get there. Of what to prioritize.


Now, I’ve often said that I’m a really good rule follower. But that’s really only true when the rule makes sense to me. I question all rules because in my own spiritual practice I’ve been trained to question all my perceptions and ask, “Is this true? Is this real?” I’ve been trained to question everything. And to consider that the way I may see things might be inaccurate.


That I should not follow convention “just because.”


And I‘ll admit: I kinda like breaking the rules that don’t make sense.


I think we should always question the rules, the status quo, conventional thinking.


I believe in freedom, and I especially think it’s important to question those that try to control us or claim infallible authority over us.


So yes, I see mindfulness practices, thought work, learning about how our minds work, and all this work as a revolutionary and rebellious act because it inherently requires you to question and resist doing things “just because.”


One of the things that I find we need to question and resist is this idea that our happiness comes from outside of us, and that we aren’t inherently worthy and that we need more more more to become worthy, and that because we are flawed or imperfect, we need to look outside of us for wisdom and answers.


Yeah – f*ck that.


Today I’m calling B.S. on that rule. We don’t have to look outside of ourselves to find the answers to the very personal, intimate, deep questions that shape the trajectory of our inner and outer lives.


Many of us are so used to looking outward for answers that we often only feel confident when someone gives us the recipe. We’ve forgotten the capacity for our inner wisdom.


What I’m really saying here is that you don’t need no stinkin’ guru. You already are creative, resourceful, and whole. You already have Buddha-nature within you.


Now, I’m not saying that you NEVER need a teacher or a mentor. I’ve had amazing teachers who really helped me and never abused their role and power in our relationship, and who helped me realize my own inner wisdom. I always work with a coach. I have my spiritual mentors I meet with regularly about my practice. But the difference is they don’t imply that I “need” them – I am working with the because I like it and like using their “recipes” and tweaking them to make them my own.


I am learning more and more about the depth of our inner wisdom and inner healer in my fellowship in psychedelic-assisted therapy and studies with MAPS. This intelligence is the innate ability and wisdom to move towards a wholeness and wellbeing, and it is a natural and innate capacity to heal and grow that we all have.


In this particular therapy it is essential that we understand and trust that it is that inner healer – not the therapist – that guides the healing process.


It’s like healing a laceration. If you come to me in the Emergency Department, I can remove the dirt and debris and help create favorable conditions for healing, but I do not cause the healing. The body does.


The body spontaneously attempts to move toward healing – and so does the psyche.


The existence of that inner healer and your relationship with that internal source of wisdom and power will outlast any spiritual practice. And when you tap into your ziji – that radiant inner confidence – you will know in your bones that you can lead a fulfilled and healthy life and that you have the wisdom to get you there.


I do want to mention that while trauma can impact how accessible the inner wisdom is, it does not damage it. The right guide can be very helpful as you learn how to access that inner wisdom, particularly with trauma.


AND – having a guide who walks next to us and helps us access our inner wisdom is something we can all benefit from. So let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.


Let’s keep in mind that if we feel having a coach or a mentor is an important piece in our life, remember that you do not “need” them to move forward. You have what it takes to do it yourself because you are already creative, resourceful and whole. So check that relationship and take back your power. See your own inner wisdom as an equal.


You can enjoy having support and guidance AND appreciate and honor your inner wisdom.


This does means you “need” to do it alone. Rather, it is essential that we know and trust that we have the capacity to know what we are meant to do, and that we own the progress we make as our own.


That’s actually what ziji is all about! A radiant inner confidence in our capacity to grow, heal, love, flourish… to do ALL the things.


This innate wisdom of ours is most easily seen when we stop resisting life as it is and start to accept that we are exactly where we are supposed to be right here and right now. Then we can more authentically discern what is right for us.


So how can we start cultivating this inner healer that we all have? I go into more detail about this in the episode, but we can start by learning how to listen to it and how it shows up for us. We can look back on times we listened and times we didn’t listen and reflect on what happened.

Remember, you are the medicine. You are your own guru.


In this Episode you will learn:

// What a “Rebel Buddhist” actually is (IMO)
// Why it is so hard for us to trust ourselves
// Why it is dangerous to not trust your inner wisdom
// How to find a good mentor/teacher/guide
// What our inner wisdom is and how to access it
// How to use your ziji to guide you in big life decisions



// Check out my blog post on How to Choose a Life Coach

// If you’re new to the squad, grab the starter kit I created at RebelBuddhist.com. It has all you need to start creating a life of more freedom, adventure, and purpose. You’ll get access to the private Facebook group where you can ask me questions! Once you join, there’s also a weekly FB live called Wake the F*ck Up Wednesday, where you can ask questions that come up as you do this work – in all parts of your life.

// If you’re interested in finding out more about how to free your mind and free your life, join Freedom School. Enrollment is open, and we are diving DEEP into ways to cultivate clarity and courage so you can create your best life. There are also some sweet bonus courses for you there. It will set you up to live the best version of you in the year to come. Learn more at JoinFreedomSchool.com.