You Don’t Need a Guru; Life is Your Greatest Teacher

“Forget what hurt you, but never forget what taught you.” ~Unknown

I read a tribute Elizabeth Gilbert wrote for Richard from Texas who features in her book Eat, Pray, Love. It got me thinking that our teachers in life can take many forms and not always an obvious ‘traditional’ teacher.
In Eat, Pray, Love Liz went looking for a guru in India but learned a whole host of lessons from Richard, who was probably there seeking out the same guru for his own answers.
We can go through life looking for gurus, trying to learn from the experts, and seeking out those who seemingly have the answers to our questions, but what we often overlook is that the answers are there all along.

We don’t find the answers when we find the guru; we find them along the way, as part of our journey.

Sometimes a guru may help us uncover the answers within, but there is also so much more that those we meet and our experiences along the way can teach us about life’s journey.
The lessons can come from our kids, our partners, our friends, our enemies, and most of all from ourselves.
We can be our own teachers if we allow ourselves to learn from our mistakes.
A monk once told me there are no mistakes, only lessons, and we are a product of the lessons we’ve learned. As Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Without the mud there can be no lotus.”
We grow stronger from our challenges; we learn or to grow from these experiences, and this is what makes us who we are.

I’ve traveled around the world to various retreat centers, sat on many hill tops, and consulted a few gurus, but the answers I sought I found within me when I arrived home, stopped searching, and sat still long enough to notice them.

This led me to rebuild my life around my passion and fill it with meaning and purpose. I became a yoga teacher and was thrilled to be doing a job I loved, but in the early days I struggled. Marketing was not my strong point and the numbers for my classes were low, sometimes non existent.
As I sat in an empty room one night with my lesson plan, feeling defeated, I thought to myself, “What can I learn from this?”
I try to ask myself this question often, but especially when times get tough. Life is not always easy. Things sometimes don’t go to plan, and often we don’t succeed until we’ve learned a lesson and tried again, failed more, failed better.
I have learned valuable lessons from people who’ve come in and out of my life (often for only fleeting encounters). I’ve learned both from failed relationships and those that have evolved over different parts of my life to be stronger now than they ever were.
A friend’s betrayal taught me about forgiveness. A friend’s love has taught me about trust. My nephew taught me the importance of making time for play, and my pets taught me the power of unconditional love.
Depression taught me that it’s through the cracks the light gets in, and burnout taught me about my real priorities and the value of self-care. A house fire taught me about attachment, and a homeless man taught me to be grateful for the little things I have.

Success is a product of learning from experiences and failures—a product of our life, our experiences, and the people we meet along the way. This is the stuff that shapes us and builds our world, it comes from within, not from an expert or a guru.

Yes, we have formal teachers we can learn from—our parents, our schools, our gurus, those we aspire to and admire. But never underestimate the power of the lessons ‘ordinary’ people will teach us, the likes of Richard from Texas and indeed the lessons we learn from ourselves and our experiences as we navigate through life.
So take a moment and ask yourself what you can learn from your current circumstances and the people in your life. Whatever, or whoever, you’re struggling with could very well be your greatest teacher—and a stepping stone to greater peace, purpose, and happiness.


About Jess Stuart

After a successful career in the corporate HR world Jess decided to follow her passion in Health and Wellness as a coach, speaker, and author. A qualified yoga instructor who has trained in Buddhist meditation and mindfulness, living and working in many countries Jess draws her life experience into her work to share the principles of health and happiness.

Golden Rule #25

Golden Rule #25 

No matter how much you desire a friendship, everyone is not capable of sustaining one. After you put in the effort and it was not reciprocated, move on as life is too short for unwanted behavior. Everyone  is not meant to be your friend, or in your life!

 *In my Biz Markie voice*
 Court Adjourned!!!

Intimacy: Author – D. Hudson

Breathe. Now walk across the room as my eyes lock into your every move.

I’m watching you. I sit patiently waiting for the next little thing that you will do.

A slight glimpse of a half-smile from you turns me on and sets my mind into motion

Wondering what you will do next, I long to be close to you. Intimacy!

It started when we said hello. It sparked in our conversations and is now embedded in my heart.

It’s that thing that makes me smile, it’s why I never want us to be apart. Intimacy!

It’s the opening of a door so that you may make your way into my arms.

It’s me taking your clothes off for you and preparing your mind while your bath runs warm.


Take my hand and let me lead you into the room.

Let me lie you across the bed and rub moisture onto you.

Let me work out your frustrations as I massage strength back into you.


Making love will suffice and darling I long to make love to you,

But intimacy has been on my mind all day

And so, in my heart is me wanting to be intimate with you.




Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a vital figure of the modern era and a pivotal figure in the Civil Rights Movement.  In sermons and speeches, Dr.

King’s voice rang out with a call for us to work toward a better tomorrow.

His actions inspired men and women, young and old, in this nation and around the world.  Dr. King was arrested 30 times for his participation in civil rights activities.  While he preached about justice, empowerment, love and peace, in the final months of his life, his attention was turned towards fighting poverty.  Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

After a long struggle, legislation was signed in 1983 creating a federal holiday marking the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Dr. King is the first African American-and the first non-U.S. president-to have an official legal holiday.