The Dream Guru is the Guru we have been waiting for all our lives. They are the the ultimate; where a touch or even a single glance can bring transformation!
Too bad if our Enlightenment is to come from the guy in the form of the Trash Man.
Seriously though, a Guru, or a 'guru experience' can come from anywhere or anyone. Recently, on a popular social networking site, among non-duality circles, there has been more criticism of gurus and New Age or Neo-Advaita teachers. While much can be said on this subject, and some criticism is warranted, it is not particularly wise or spiritual to spend much time or concern over what others are doing. If you don't like a particular spiritual teacher; don't go see them, don't read their books, don't go on their retreats. But don't spread negative opinions, without being asked, because someone turns out not to be your dream guru.
One such critic was insisting that all real gurus must be able to perform shaktipat. Some gurus claim to do shaktipat. Others do not. This critic claimed that many teachers and gurus claim to be aware, but do not, indeed cannot do shaktipat, so they are charlatans. This is nonsense. It is the stuff of the dream guru. One is only a charlatan if one claims to do shaktipat and is unable to. Claiming to be a teacher or even a guru does not make one a charlatan. It does not make one a teacher either!
Part of the search is learning discrimination. But we must learn it. Another's opinion, if asked for, is welcome in the search, but we must make the final decision based on knowledge and intuition. We too have our dream guru hidden inside our mind. He has to meet several expectations, all gathered from the search and past disappointments. When I left the Christian Church, the need for the dream guru arose.
Apart from disappointments with the structural church, which were many, I came to have difficulty with the creed. The part that called Jesus Christ 'Our only mediator and advocate' gave me pause to the point that honesty compelled me to leave the church. I lost no respect for the Being of Christ, but the search began again with even new fervor.
First, I came upon Ramakrishna. What a dream guru is Ramakrishna! Coming from a Christian setting, Ramakrishna, even with his affinity for Christ, was a big leap. I was however very impressed by some of his followers. Vivekananda, while writing some wonderful works, and introducing Vedanta to a wider audience, seemed to me to be the predecessor of many of the money making gurus so prevalent today. Because Ramakrishna and Ramana were next to each other on the library shelves, the next part of my search for the dream guru had begun.
Ramana was very refreshing. Very Indian, but dynamic and peaceful at the same time. Closer to what I was used to, but mysterious enough to keep up my interest. Perhaps a dream guru? Many today see Ramana as the ultimate Guru. Silent. Spoke only when necessary to compassionately teach. Many today teach in his lineage, even though he specifically did not establish one. Why? Because he is a dream guru.
None of this makes any of the successors to Ramana invalid in their teaching. Some may be good, and some may be just in it for the money, but we can only judge for ourselves. None is Ramana. He would not want them to be. We should not demand them to be the dream guru. They are simply the teachers they are. Some may be 'our dream guru', and if that's the case; fine. If we learn, become independent. and grow away from them, we gain. No guru is for life. We all must go into the One alone and naked.
I discovered my guru with the works of Nisargadatta Maharaj. A simple man. A man of little formal education, but infinite wisdom and earnestness. Over a quarter of a century has gone by since discovering Maharaj. Maharaj led me back into root intuition and into the sublime qualities of my own faith.
Interestingly, in recent months Nisargadatta Maharaj has come to my dreams. In the first, He appeared in a doorway. He looked at me, and threw a handful of Religious Icons on the ground, shattering them to pieces. In the second dream, Maharaj, again in a doorway, just stood looking at me. I was moved by his look, and placed my hands on his shoulders. As we stood facing each other, the look became pure Love, and the understanding was clear. I took my leave of him, and when I awoke, it became clear that I should try to teach, and share that Love.
I, like Nisargadatta himself, believed the words of the Guru. But it took an 'event' of awareness to understand with more than the mind. A moment of facing reality; the BIG REALITY, alone. No Guru can come with you, as they are already there! He is not taking you anywhere. He is inviting you to join him, in the most real sense anyone can. But you must be present. You must be willing to join the guru in his freedom. If you expect the guru to touch you into understanding, you need to be ready to let go of ignorance. The guru and the student are not separable from the teaching. Both appear and subside with the teaching. Forget the dream guru. He lives in your mind. He may have powers. They live in the mind as well. Go beyond the mind.
Do not look for a Ramana. Do not look for a Second coming of Christ. Do not seek anything inside the mind. The True Guru is not in the dream world. The kingdom of heaven is within you.