Spirit Guides

by David Life |
October, 2015
Spirit Guides: Jivamukti Focus of the Month

Salutations to Sri Guru who shows the right path to one whose mind is deluded by attachment and thus confused in the forest of Samsara.

Guru is Shiva, Guru is God. Guru is the relative of all embodied beings. Guru is the Self. Guru is Jiva. There is nothing other than the Guru.

Sri Guru Gita I.41, Sri Guru Gita II.85

Universal consciousness focused through Spirit can appear in our lives offering guidance and council. Guru is the Spirit Guide of the universe. This guide speaks to us through various forms and tongues. There are many Spirit Guides in your life now, and the future will be filled with many more. Spirit Guides are many, but they speak the truth with one voice.

Obstacles in your life path are easily overcome because you are blessed with the council of exalted souls. We could call it a guardian angel or mentor, and it could take any form – a person, a sprite, a cloud, a cat, or a tree. The Spirit Guide chooses you. You cannot demand their attention. Instead, you must become irresistible to them. There are only three things required to become attractive to the Spirit Guides. First, you must believe in Spirit as an aspect of the Creator. Secondly, you must be able to understand the advice of Spirit. If your Spirit Guide is not a human you may need to be able to understand the touch, smell, gesture, color and sounds that other animals communicate with. Finally, you must desire to meet your Spirit Guide very much.

It is not possible for Spirit to act directly in the world. Spirit can only act indirectly through the influence they exert in the lives of living beings. It is only through physical bodies that the spiritual work of the universe can be sustained and supported. The Spirit Guide is always a benevolent, detached consciousness that radiates Love or invokes fear as needed. Your Spirit Guide will be with you throughout life. They reflect your own inner spiritual self. You can have more than one, and new Spirit Guides can show up at any time. Sometimes the Spirit Guide is called a Life Guide.

There are three other types of guides. The Messenger Guide appears in a flash and disappears just as fast – once the message has been delivered to you. The Shadow Guide can return again and again, filling you with fear in order to teach a lesson. The Journey Guide appears at a fork in the road of life to offer their advice.

Animal Spirit Guides come into our lives at various times as any one of the guides mentioned above. Visualization is an especially potent tool for meeting a Spirit Guide. When we visualize ourselves in the realm of the Spirit Guide, it is possible that we will meet a guide. If you have discovered your Animal Spirit Guide you can nurture the relationship by wearing images of your totem, study pictures and educate yourself about them, visit their habitat, and do what you can to preserve their homeland. In each case the Animal Spirit Guide embodies the ideal characteristics of their form. The bear, for example, is Ursa Major in the night sky, the spirit keeper of the West, friend of both the daytime and the nighttime, sensitive to Mother Nature’s cycles, embodiment of fierce strength, a solitary dweller, independent and meditative. All these characteristics give good council in times of need.

Respect for animals as the voice of a divine message is found throughout yoga mythology. Vishnu’s avatars of a fish, turtle, boar, and half lion-half human show how the radiance of the supreme consciousness can move through all of creation. Ganesh with his elephant power is an elegant Animal/God. Patanjali was a snake, and every Hindu god has an animal familiar – Shiva has the bull, Ganesh has the mouse, Vishnu has the eagle, Durga has a lion, and Laksmi has an elephant. These animals are not just companions but are equal components of the divine consciousness. The Hindu pantheon is filled with all kinds of Spirit Guides in the form of gods, goddesses, sprites, fairies, fantastic animals and reptiles, even celestial musicians.

The same things that make you attractive to Spirit make you attractive to Guru. First, you must believe in Guru as an aspect of Creator. Secondly, you must be able to understand the advice of Guru. Finally, you must desire to meet Guru very much.

The Guru is a force that moves through all of creation. Those who listen carefully hear the voice of the Guru in birdsong and laughing streams – in the tenacity of ancient rocks and the symphony of grassy fields.

Teaching Tips

  • Listening exercise: Sit quietly in meditative position. Close your eyes. Listen to all sounds in the environment. Do not classify the sounds as good sounds or bad sounds. Accept all sound into your hearing. At first you may hear the sounds in a superficial way, but as your listening penetrates the sounds and the layers peel back, other more subtle voices may be heard.
  • Visualization: Sit quietly in meditative position. Close your eyes. Visualize a beautiful landscape of forests, mountains, streams, flowering plants and innumerable living beings. Enter into a shady glen with a little pond where you sit with openness and meditate. With yogic fearlessness and an open acceptance, listen for the voice of council. You may feel a presence near you and open your spirit eyes to see a figure on the other side of the pond. This is your Animal Spirit Guide. Thank the Spirit for coming and tell it that you accept their council. The Animal Spirit Guide may speak to you or just transmit a feeling. When they have finished speaking you should thank all beings in this special place and thank your Spirit Guide.
  • Teach the asana as an investigation into the essential nature of a tree, mountain, dog, cobra, etc. When we experience ourselves as the same as the tree, mountain, dog and snake, then their voices become audible to us. As our breath weaves a tale of warriors, sages and saints, those many voices become like one.