*To be clear, for the purposes of this piece the word "guru" is interchangeable with words like shaman, healer, "light-worker" and any other title one can purchase or proclaim tax-free. "Guru" is most often used and frequently in conjunction with the persons skill-set. Ex: self-help guru, health guru, raw food guru, etc.
Guideline 1- You are NOT the first. No matter the spin you put on it you didn't invent yoga, you didn't invent shamanic death, you didn't invent this or that healthy diet nor did you create any alternative forms of medicine. You were NOT the first to pray to your God in some new way nor were you the first to build or destroy a representation of said God whether it be physical or metaphorical. If the issue is of big enough concern to take that step and argue the point that you indeed ARE the first to do it YOUR patented, trademarked way ask yourself why that is so important. As an introspective person really explore that. Is it ego? Is it to make money? Is it for the trademark or copyright? The nods, the sex, the group, just yourself or just your God? Is there balance?
Guideline 2- No two people are the same. You can describe your experience until you're blue in the face and at the end of the day it has nothing to do with anyone but you. There is a reason that common methods to maintain a healthy balance in the physical, mental and spiritual realms have stood the test of time. Meditation, yoga, Traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda; in one way or another each of these can contribute to maintaining that balance. How a person uses any one of or all of those methods or blends different things together is a product of resonance and since no two people resonate exactly the same, your awesome experience of awakening and how you work to maintain that state are personal. Write your book about it, sell your program about how you did it, people might find insight but they won't get there following your plan, they have to find their own way and theirs is just as valid as yours whether it's for sale online or not. Gurus don't work to get customers, they work to connect with their colleagues. Be an example.
Guideline 3- Think about the example you are setting. What are you putting out there? Are you weeping all the time? What are you creating? Are you turning your gift into a burden and continuously lamenting the burden of it all? If you blog the blog, or vlog, of the tormented soul or repeatedly present your journey as painful or difficult mentally or even physically ponder why and ponder further why you are making that choice, for ultimately it is just that: your choice.
"This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish, little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy."
- George Bernard Shaw, 'Man and Superman'
Guideline 4- This is mostly for those who are constantly berating everyone else in the world for having an ego. Why are you wearing so much bling? Why do you pay so much for mani-pedi's? Why do you insist on the shiniest bobbles, the most expensive retreats and the most trinkets blessed by 300 year old blind nuns? Why do you bend yourself into a pretzel making a display of these things to the world? Is it to make sales? What are your priorities? Of course these ego-mongers would more than likely never admit they have an issue since generally they are too busy pointing their fingers elsewhere. While I understand the ego argument it makes no sense at all that it is an argument in the first place. At the end of the day we live in a world where a bit of ego is necessary to survival, anyone telling you otherwise is likely trying to sell you something. There is nothing wrong with ego when one has a balanced approach, running around pointing the finger at people and telling them to annihilate their ego is not a balanced approach. Consider this as well, YOU are the one feeding energy to ego in the first place by blaming it for everything wrong with man in the modern age. You are creating an ego mountain out of an ego molehill.
Guideline 5- Mine is older, better, stronger and faster than yours, nyah, nyah! Seriously, try not to use phraseology that implies that you are more awakened than others. That attitude feeds the whole idea that spirituality can be bought and sold as well as graded. The idea that there are levels to ascend to and people to look up or down to is hogwash. Especially in the realm of spirituality or enlightenment movements you hear people say in one breath that we are all one and connected and proclaiming that they have annihilated their ego. Then in the next breath they make statements like, "Most people don't get it..." and imply in a nice or rude or sometimes ego-ridden way that no one could understand the depths of them. The bottom line is that at the end of the day their behavior is demonstrably hypocritical and thus strains credibility to anyone not wielding a credit card and craving a quick answer they can buy online. While it's comical watching "evolved" people act like children in a sandbox or on their better days angst-filled teenagers who are clamoring over one another to be Queen or King of the big dance, it's also disappointing.
"Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shows their true image."
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Guideline 6 - Finally, stop thinking in terms of titles such as guru. Stop thinking in terms of rank. If you are doing it right you can teach something to every single person you encounter and if you are doing it with humility and respect you can learn from every single person you encounter. Bottom line, don't get yourself on a pedestal so high that you'll break your neck when you fall off of it. Maybe go for an ankle sprain, that way it will slow you down enough to really look around and within.
I don't mean to single out anyone here. I get that people have to make a living and clearly I am not necessarily saying one shouldn't line their pockets a little as they walk their path, but there is a right and a wrong way to do it, or more to the point a balanced and an imbalanced way to do it. The internet provides a place for people to argue and debate about their own choices ad nauseam but that is a waste of time and energy. If you are a spiritually awakened person, one who has been called or considered "guru like" then you already know what is right and what is wrong. Of course the exact same thing can be said for anyone who has never been called or considered "guru like." We all create our own truths based on resonance and no two people resonate precisely the same. Our integrity is measured by how close our truth is to the real thing.
Don't worry about being the smartest, the most enlightened, the one with the most trinkets and bobbles, the one who knows all the "in" people, the one who has attended the most retreats, been at it the longest, jumped through the most hoops or has the most titles, just be. Anyone with a credit card can attend a retreat and get a document proclaiming some sort of title. The real challenge is to live what you know outside of the retreat, to focus on your path rather than who takes notice that you're walking it.