Much focus in the Sahaj Marg is directed toward unlayering the human soul. Each action we undertake and the subsequent reaction (and the consequent cycle we find ourselves in) leaves what the Hindu tradition names “samskaras.” These are impressions that stick with us. These impressions are part of the karmic cycle we create for ourselves, mostly unknowingly. After numerous lifetimes of adding sheath after sheath of these impressions on top of each other, it’s no wonder people often have trouble knowing who they are or what they should do with their life. Peeling these away, like layers of an onion, is a goal we’re aiming for without even knowing it. Other traditions and sects indicate the same even if they use different words.
The meditation practice employed in Sahaj Marg is special to me. I’ll spare you the boring details, but suffice to say it’s been a power-filled, effective / productive, and truly amazing experience so far. I remember when I first found Hinduism I kept thinking that the deeper I go the deeper I want to go. The result was (and continues to be) a growing feeling that I’m finding my Self and actually making my way home.
Still, for all that gushy joy I often find myself facing some ugliness from within. They say “no pain, no gain” and Hinduism has proven this to be ultimately true. More than once since coming to the Sahaj Marg, I’ve found myself mid-meditation noticing some surprising thoughts surfacing within my mind. When I say surprising I really mean sordid. Absolutely DIRTY. Lord, even sometimes raunchy. Nothing I’ve been super embarrassed about, per se, because I’m rather liberal when it comes to that kind of stuff (not much scares me), but just … surprising. And it’s made me wonder – if I’m progressing along my unique spiritual path, then it seems that I shouldn’t be having these thoughts and in the middle of meditation, no less. The answer came to me in a rather timely manner from a book called, “My Master – The Essence of Pure Love” that was first published in 1986 and was written by the Marg’s current Satguru about his own guru. I’ve shared the applicable selection (four paragraphs) of this book below. My apologies for any typing errors.
“This brings us to the second stage of Master’s work – cleaning and purifying the abhyasi to make quick progress possible and to consolidate that progress. What is it that is cleaned? Master’s general answer is that the whole system has to be thoroughly cleaned. This includes the heart and the higher points one after the other. The main work is on the heart and the heart region where much of the samskaric residue lies buried in the form of grossness. Master teaches that when we act in any way – the word ‘act’ being taken in its widest meaning to include all sensory activity and mental activity – the action leaves an ‘impression’ which is called a samskara when it is very deep.
“It is clear that the superficial impressions are easily cleaned off. It is easy to wipe a slate and clean it. But it is not so with a gramophone record, for instance, where the impressions have been made deep enough to form permanent grooves. When we become ‘involved’ in our actions the danger of deep impressions being formed is much greater. The accumulated impressions which are in us form the samskaric burden of the past. This has to be cleaned by the Master by the use of his own spiritual power. As this cleaning proceeds the abhyasi experiences actual ‘lightness’ during his meditation sittings.
“I had a personal problem in this connection which I once discussed with Master. When I first started meditation a great number of thoughts used to come up and intrude but, on following Master’s technique of not attending to thoughts, the inrush of thoughts became progressively reduced until I could experience intervals of thoughtlessness. But, and this was my problem, after a few years of sadhana I suddenly found thoughts of a most sordid and vile nature coming during meditation. Naturally I was considerably perturbed because I was apprehensive that this might indicate not progress but regress.
“Master quickly cleared the problem up for me. He said, “You see, the dust that settles every day on the table can be easily dusted off. It is superficial and easy to remove. Suppose ink has been poured on the table and allowed to soak, then the cleaning is more difficult. So the nature of the impression makes all the difference. Now I tell you one more thing. We sometimes have bad thoughts, I mean consciously. We feel ashamed and push them down. Now the very bad or worst thoughts are hidden away deep inside the mind. So in cleaning they may come up last of all. In your case this is what has happened. You should be happy that these vile thoughts have been removed at last. Progress will be quicker now. Do you understand this? It is like a pond. The leaves and dust float on its surface and can be easily removed. But heavy dirt sinks down, and effort is necessary. So in cleaning it comes up last. So there is nothing to worry about.”
The above (sorry for it being so lengthy) struck me instantly when I read it. Without speaking directly to our current Satguru, I’m not sure that my instances of this are really the same thing happening. After all, this is the Marg’s current guru talking about a conversation he had decades ago with his own guru. Surely something special applies to that conversation, as it took place between one advanced soul and another. At any rate, it brought me comfort and felt like home to me – even if the bottom of my own pond is covered with the most sultry dirt.
Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha