Somedays we forget just how much life does sparkle. We turn to loved ones, music, books, food or hobbies to take our mind off things. For those not so good days, when you need a little reminder about your vital role in the universe, here are some of the best go-to gurus. Tune into their messages of magic and mystery, expand your mind and move into the immense power that is yours!
Alan Watts – “How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself anything less than a god.”
Writer, philosopher, theologian, Zen Buddhist and entertainer, Alan Watts became one of the best and most charming translators of Eastern philosophies for the West in the 1960’s. With a doctorate in Divinity, Alan Watts was equal parts brilliant as he was bonkers, which allows his lectures on life, death, love, transcendence and consciousness to be just in reach of our basic understanding of reality.
Watts faced controversy in light of his reckless lifestyle with rumours of alcoholism and adultery circulating his career. However if you look into any of his audio recordings or writing, you will understand that Watts never claimed purity, and instead poked fun at the illusions of self importance and declined any spiritual authority.
If you are ever in darkness due to your ties to current circumstances – Alan Watts can pull you out, I promise. Lay down, lights-out, enter his name into YouTube and allow your mind to expand as you feel the immense joy of placing the impermanence of things into perspective.
Ram Dass – “When you know how to listen, everyone is the guru.”
Ram Dass was a revered psychologist at Harvard University as well as psychedelic pioneer in the 1960’s. However, due to the controversial nature of his research with LCD-25, the then Richard Alpert was dismissed from Harvard in 1963. By 1967, RI hard felt the call to travel to India. This is where he met his Guruji, Maharajji, who gifted him the name Ram Dass ‘server of God’.
Ram Dass now devotes his life to his Dharma of spreading the path of awakening to the world. Despite his contagious grace and selfless service his work still existed in counter culture, due to his connection to hallucinogens.
Aside from his many works in writing and research, Ram Dass also founded many charitable organisations. From the Hanuman Foundation, which aims to spread seva (service) yoga, and includes projects such as the Prison Ashram Project which aimed to maintain inmates spiritual growth and The Dying Project which was the first of its kind to support conscious and compassionate dying. He is also on the board of programs which aim to cure blindness in Nepal and India as well as assist health care of American Indians.
Read: Ram Dass’s book Be Here Now is a MUST have bedside book. It is like a life lucky-dip, to open up at a random page and know the message was meant to be.
Listen: Ram Dass Here and Now podcast on iTunes.
Perhaps an odd choice for this list, since Lawrence Krauss might be the loudest atheist of our time, however gurus don’t need to be spiritually subscribed to teach important lessons. When you are looking for guidance about our morality and mortality, physicist and science communicator Lawrence Krauss is your best bet.
If you’re caught up stressing about the end of summer, or end of a relationship, Krauss can quickly remind you of larger cosmic realities to switch our focus to, such as the end of life on Earth. For those who distance themselves from our own certain death, we can count on Krauss to be there to remind us that the life sustaining star we call the Sun, is certainly going to explode. Inevitabley, everything we know will come to an end. Instead of seeing this as morbid, Krauss only celebrates the cosmic miracle that we are anything at all.
Krauss and his infamous tribe of atheists, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, all admit to their mission of exposing the damaging myths of religion. Such as the myth that without religion, we would all turn into violent, lawless, sinners and society would fail to function. Krauss instead argues that it is reason, not the threat of reward or punishment set out by ancient and outdated scriptures that guides our morality.
Krauss frees us from false faith in deities, instead revealing the magic of the universe we all have equal access to. The fact that anything exists – leaves, dirt, table cloths, fingernails or rain clouds is marvellous enough, without virgin births and resurrections. Say we do simply decompose in the dirt when it’s our time to go, is having lived in such a spectacular, spontaneous combustion of atoms not reward enough without the expectation of an eternal heaven?
With poetic quotes like this, Krauss make logic and reason as fulfilling to follow as the most spiritual of mystic and sages.
‘Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust. You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements – the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution and for life – weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way for them to get into your body is if those stars were kind enough to explode. So, forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today.”
Read: A Universe From Nothing
Watch: The Unbelievers (2013) – a documentary with Lawrence Krauss and Richard Dawkins as they travel the world promoting science and reason.
The Origin Project dialouges, such as this one with Peter Singer – ASU Origins
Lawrence also visits Australia quite often so I would recommend seeing him live, he is a very entertaining educator.
Don’t think I didn’t notice that this list is made up of men. If anyone out there has any go-to female gurus, please share them below!