My experiments with the beyond
My experiments with the beyond started around 1980, when I started learning meditation. I did that mainly to become a better person. And today, after lapse of 32 years my enthusiasm to explore further has not waned. Rather it has only increased.
Why is that?
It is because I accidentally stumbled upon a way that has given meaning and direction to my life. I can say with confidence that I will not regret my life when it ends.
Here, I am referring to a way of life called Sahaj Marg.
What's so great about it? Aren't there so many people and organizations that claim the same?
Yes. But, I don't have experience of any of them, so I can't say anything about them. But, I can surely talk about this based on my own experience. And, I've found that this way is all encompassing i.e., one does not have look for anything outside of this.
First, it directs people's attention to the divine presence that is already present in the heart of all humans. And, it teaches one to meditate on this presence, to ultimately become one with this presence.
How to meditate?
Meditation is not new to human beings. Mystics and Sanyasis have been doing it for thousands of years. But, rarely in the past, is meditation learnt by ordinary human beings who are leading a normal family life.
How is that? I thought it is very difficult.
It is not. But at the same time, it is not easy either. Many people have tried to learn meditation on their own by reading books on yoga or under someone’s guidance. But, there is not much success because most of the time people try to ‘concentrate’ or try to suppress thoughts in the meditation. Here, it is important to know that, when we try to concentrate or forcefully try to suppress the thoughts they come back with renewed force. So, while doing meditation we should not try to ‘concentrate.’
Yes. But it is easier said than done. Many have tried it but constant rush of thoughts make it impossible to sit for more than 5 to 10 min. Isn't it?
True. But, here there is a difference.
Here, an active help from the teacher is available that makes it work.
Can you explain more?
Sure. When anyone starts doing meditation under Sahaj marg, he is helped in his practice by the yogic power possessed by the teacher, called pranahuti or yogic transmission. When an aspirant is introduced to the Sahaj Marg he is prepared to receive this yogic transmission. When such an aspirant sits in meditation he receives the yogic transmission from the teacher, whether he feels it or not. Also, onslaught of thoughts do not stop during meditation. But, if learns to remain unmindful of disturbing thoughts by treating them as uninvited guests, after sometime he is able to sit in meditation for reasonable period of time.
It is said that - as we think we become. Here, in Sahaj Marg, we think of the divine presence in the heart, continuously for 1 hour, every day morning; to eventually feel that presence in the heart.
Is it true? It is worth trying then.
Second, here teacher or guru is an ordinary person, leading life like anybody else. He leads a normal family life and earns his own living by doing job or business.
Then how is he able to do meditation; and at the time teach people about it?
That's a good question. In Sahaj marg we are taught to lead a balanced life i.e., we lead normal material life; and side by side we do meditation practice that helps us to grow spiritually. Just 1 hour of daily meditation and about 40 min of other practice makes it possible to live a balanced existence.
But, how is it possible to help people, say who are located far away from the teacher?
For that he has appointed certain aspirants to work on his behalf and permitted them to offer transmission and personal guidance. There are more than 3,500 such people (called prefects) spread over more than 90 countries of the world. They explain the method to the aspirants, give transmission to help them grow spiritually and guide them if they have any difficulty.
Oh, that's different. That means, almost anyone can try this meditation practice anywhere. Isn't it?
Yes. And there are no eligibility criteria except that one should be of 18 years of age and willing to give it a try. And there are no fees charged for the training and guidance. If it works then aspirant can continue or he can stop.
Third, apart from the daily meditation one is expected to sit for about 30 min in the evening, and do something called Cleaning. In this, one sits like in the meditation with the closed eyes, but one does not think of the divinity in the heart. Instead, one is expected to use his will power and remove slowly all the impressions gathered during the day's work from the system.
Ok. Cleaning may rid one of the daily impressions. But, what about impressions collected before starting the Sahaj marg?
Good question. That's work of the teacher. In fact, teacher's real work and need for a teacher, is in removal of older impressions. It is not easy for an ordinary person to remove it by his own effort. But, in Sahaj marg it is possible for the teacher to do it because of yogic transmission.
But, tell me, what's use of going inside by closing eyes and doing meditation & cleaning? Isn't it possible to know everything through the five senses that we have?
This is a way that takes one inside of oneself. And believe me, there is no limit to how much more one can go inside. It is said that universe inside is bigger than what we see outside. And it is true. We don't know about it because either we have never tried to explore it or we did not have effective method to do it.
It's only when we go inside we realize that there is a universe inside of us, in our heart where divinity, light, purity and peace pervades. It makes us aware of a different world which we had possibly heard about earlier, but never experienced.
Isn't it called self-realization or some similar name?
Yes. But, this is best dealt by having an actual experience rather than knowing about it intellectually - by reading books or listening to lectures. Current state of knowledge about self-realization is very confusing. Best is to jump in to it and check it out first hand.
But, isn't it supposed to very difficult and not relevant for an ordinary human being?
Yes, it used to be like that, but times do change. Take for example the field of science and technology; currently we are using things that people 200 years back could not even imagine. Similarly, time has possibly come for a newer world, where people would seek fulfillment and purpose in life by going inside rather than seeking it outside. We have already seen effects of seeking fulfillment from the world outside of us. It's time we seek to explore the beyond.
How it is relevant in today's world?
Well, I will write about it some time later. Bye for today.
p.s., let me know how you find this piece of writing.
Note: This article is extensively edited in Nov 2013 with the help of a fellow brother. I'm thankful to him for his valuable suggestions for the improvement.
Here is the blog on "How is spiritual way relevant for today's people?"