Guru Yoga (The Yoga of Dedication to a Master)

With the discipline of Guru Yoga, your Guru or Master is your key focus in your spiritual practice. Such a Guru should be enlightened or close to enlightenment.

In Guru Yoga, your practice including meditation will enable you to merge with him or her. Given that the Guru is already merged with the Ultimate Reality, his or her spiritual realisation is duplicated in you.

The practice of merging one's mind with the wisdom mind of the master is a highly beneficial form of yoga. The practice consists of visualising the Guru, requesting his blessings, receiving his blessings, and merging one's mind with the master's wisdom mind.

When thoughts arise, we imagine our Guru above our head. This visualisation enables you to maintain the presence of your Guru above our head, ensuring that you carry a strong feeling of devotion throughout your day.

The essence of Guru Yoga is simply to bring your Guru to mind at all times: when you are happy, you bring your Guru to mind; when you are sad, you bring your Guru to mind. When something happens that you are glad about, you are grateful to your Guru. When you experience difficulties, you pray to your Guru and rely on your Guru.

When you are sitting, you visualise your Guru above your head. When you are walking, you consider your Guru to be above your right shoulder, as if you were circumambulating him. When you are eating food, consider your Guru to be at your throat centre and offer him or her your first portion. Whenever you are about to wear new clothes, offer them to your Guru first and then wear them as if he or she is handing them to you.

At night, before you are about to fall asleep, visualise your Guru in your heart centre, the size of the first joint of your thumb sitting on a lotus. Imagine the light he or she is emanating which fills your entire environment, your whole room and beyond. Then go back to yourself and absorb the light into your heart. Then the Guru himself or herself dissolves into light. This is considered to be a very healthy way in which you can fall asleep, retaining the experience of that light.

When you awaken, imagine your Guru emerging from your heart and rising up to sit again above your head, smiling compassionately, amidst rainbow light.

These are ways in which we can remember our Guru and apply devotion throughout our daily activities. When death comes, the best practice advocated by all the dharmas, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism, is to merge our mind with that of the Guru's. Of all states, the most intense is the suffering of the moment of death. For this moment it is imperative to practise Guru Yoga.