The final of the Ten Maxims in Sahaj Marg helps us conclude our day. Fitting, considering the initial maxims helped us start the day. “At bedtime, feeling the presence of God, repent for the wrongs committed. Beg forgiveness in a supplicant mood, resolving not to allow repetition of the same.” This is another maxim that I’d like to offer a twist of my own on as I break it into its parts.
“At bedtime, feeling the presence of God…” Many religious people, traditionally speaking, pray at bedtime. But that’s not exactly what’s being talked about here. Prayer is talking to God. Not listening. Not feeling. Prayer is a making of noise – and I plan to write about the Sahaj Marg daily prayer in a future post. Imagine, though, getting into bed at the very end of your day and FEELING the presence of God. What would That feel like? I hope it would feel like the you-est of you. You climb into bed and under the covers, on your back and facing the ceiling with your head on the pillow. And then you feel the presence of God. Really, what would it feel like? At that point in the day, and certainly depending on the day you experienced, you could potentially feel (or think) many different things. But the presence of God? I’ll suggest that you strip away the happenings of the day that ultimately led you back to your bed where you started many hours prior. (This could, in a round-about way, be related to our practice of cleaning.)
The traffic you fought. The conversations with coworkers. The lunch you had. The win / lose experienced by your child at their volley ball game. Whatever comes to mind about the day – let it out the window. Keep letting the thoughts and emotions of the day pass out of your mind as quickly as they enter. Even if the stream of thoughts is steady and seems not to end, you should soon notice the part of your awareness or consciousness that is present before, during, and after each mental object. The part of you that is watching all that movement within your mind. That is you, the Real You. And that is non-different, qualitatively, from God. It’s tough to see and feel and know – and most people hardly do more than get a small taste at any one time, but it’s there. Always. That presence has been with you the whole day and is now with you as you bring the day to a close. Feel that Presence.
“…, repent for the wrongs committed.” Be careful with this one. I’ll suggest to you that the habit of listing so-called sins is a dangerous one and one that too predictably does more damage than benefit. In order to repent for your wrongs, you have to be able to cite or list them. That’s generally an unproductive thing to do. However, there’s no harm in being a bit aware of shortcomings and specifically those of the day that is ending. I just think this activity warrants a personal assessment of what defines a wrong.
“Beg forgiveness in a supplicant mood, resolving not to allow repetition of the same.” Begging for forgiveness strikes me as odd. The Goal or our Center …. “God” doesn’t keep a list of our sins. The same Being doesn’t – at all – punish us for shortcomings. As such, who are we begging for forgiveness? Ponder that, if you will. The real meat of this part of the maxim, from where I sit, starts with the word supplicant. If you can manage an aware feeling of the Presence and also become aware of your shortcomings for that day, then I think you’ll find a natural response is humility and supplication. And gratitude. And once all of that is on the plate, the natural response – which really should come naturally – is to resolve that tomorrow would be better (aka: resolving not to allow repetition of the same.)
There’s no need (or benefit) to beating yourself up at this point. The day itself has probably done a fair enough job at that. As you wrap up your day, feel that Presence which has always been with you, accept your truth with humility and supplication, and go to sleep intending that tomorrow will be better than today was. I hope this series on the Sahaj Marg Maxims has been helpful in some way. And if not, that’s okay, too. 🙂
Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti