A Child’s Toy

 

The thought of people generally does not go beyond the point of liberation, which they take to be the final limit of human approach. But that is a wrong idea. As a matter of fact, liberation is one of the lowest attainments on the divine path; hence it is just like a toy for a child to play with. Beyond that there is yet a lot to be achieved. The infinite ocean lies still ahead, which is but a limitless expanse. Have your eyes fixed upon That and That alone, and go on and on to trace It out.” – Ram Chnadra, The Complete Works, Vol I, page 334

Every path is unique, despite any parallels it might have between other paths.  Sahaj Marg (Heartfulness) is no different and I think the quote above illustrates that to a degree. Certainly, we are unique in other ways. But in most of Hinduism and Sufism the idea of liberation is where things stop. After all, what more could there be once you are free?

To back up a little, let’s discuss what this “liberation” is. Most of the time, in contexts like this one, liberation means liberation from samsara. Samsara is the wheel of death and rebirth. Some view this wheel as a kind of trap but it isn’t. It’s merely a result. When we don’t direct our reactions and responses in a responsible manner, then the resultant karmas (both good AND bad karmas) bind us further to this wheel. And so we go on experiencing death and rebirth, cycle after cycle, until our personal evolution is such that we are able to step off of that wheel like an exhausted hamster and then finally to know peace. This is what most people, in this context, consider liberation to be.  (Side Note: There are branches of believers who have the understanding that God will, through immeasurable and unwarranted grace and mercy, wipe away the factors (what we call samskaras & karmas) keeping a person from reaching heavenly liberation, thus bestowing liberation to the one who believes. This is a lie.)

Sahaj Marg / Heartfulness doesn’t dispute the aforementioned idea of liberation. What makes Sahaj Marg unique in this context is that, in our understanding, this liberation isn’t the actual end goal. A lot of what spiritual aspirants take to be significant spiritual progress and developments are understood within Sahaj Marg as simple sign posts. Indications of progress, sure, but nothing more – certainly nothing to be distracted by or focused on.

In a way, we treat these experiences and developments much like any thought that arises during meditation – notice it if you must, but keep moving. Liberation is no different. It’s like our guides and gurus are saying, “Okay so you stepped off the wheel of death and rebirth. Congrats – Now keep moving.” An interesting thing to note here and which might surprise most people is that this liberation – escape from endless cycles of death and rebirth – is seen as a very low attainment and like a child’s toy. Most people would immediately disagree. But it is certain that those people view their current reality through a different and probably lens. After all, to a kindergartner learning the alphabet is daunting and quite an achievement. The idea of getting to Junior High is hardly something they understand, never mind finishing that and moving on to High School or any form of education thereafter.

The lineage of Sahaj Marg guides have always stated that religion is like kindergarten. And they’ve always gently encouraged us to keep moving. From where they sit, they speak to us kindergartners and encourage us onward. “Beyond that there is a lot to be achieved.”

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti

The Off Ramp

 

It’s not uncommon at all that I see the most mundane and seemingly random thing – then find myself reminded of something deeper and contemplating the mysteries of life. I know – super boring, right? It’s not actually. It’s fun for me, never knowing when I’ll learn something new and possibly profound. I never tire of seeing the All reflected in every thing. Something like that happened to me this morning on the drive to work. Kinda.

So… I take two interstates to work. Leaving for work just five minutes later or earlier can make ALL the difference in the commute. It can mean the difference between seeing an accident happen right before you and getting stuck in place for an hour while it’s cleaned up, or seeing an accident happen right behind you and wishing them the best as you leave them behind. Regardless of when I find myself leaving for work there are always those on the road that seem to have the understanding that their time means more than anyone else’s or that they are an inherently better driver than anyone else. #RoadRage Today I was nearly finished with my usual morning trek when I saw something happen that struck me as very indicative of today’s human person.

So, I’m nearing my exit. The exit lane is in place for a full mile or more before actually breaking from the interstate proper and that whole time it consists of TWO lanes. Right as the actual off ramps start, the two lanes part ways – one lane (my usual lane) heads south from the exit and the other heads north from the same. I don’t actually have road rage much these days but one thing that gets me close is this part of the commute: People have had well over a mile to get in the lane they need to get into but for any number of reasons seem only take that action at the last possible second. Maybe they don’t want to wait in the line that is forming in their needed lane. Maybe they’re on their phone and not paying attention. Maybe they’ve not had coffee yet and are asleep behind the wheel. Doesn’t matter – whatever – but it invariably (and I mean that) creates a situation of necessarily cutting someone off with far less room than is safe or else taking the wrong lane of the exit. This morning I saw this very thing happen – twice – with two vehicles doing it to each other!

There was a convertible ahead of me in my lane (left lane), and a semi in the other lane (right lane). At the last minute the semi realized he was in the wrong lane and made the unsafest mad dash to change lanes before he had to cross more median than he was already going to have to cross. This made the guy in the convertible super pissed – who at almost the same time decided he too was in the wrong lane and did basically the same thing to someone else in the right lane, which had been done to him by the semi. (Side Note: Knowing what I know about the usual traffic in these two lanes, I think the likely truth here is that the semi actually didn’t realize where he was until it was almost too late and the convertible was probably mostly just trying to cut ahead in a long line of cars.) It was obvious by the horn honking hand gestures and facial cues thrown by the driver of the convertible that he was not at all happy with the semi driver.

This amazed me as indicative of a bigger, very unfortunate truth.

The convertible driver was totally planning to “cheat” other drivers. Absolutely. In his world, his time literally is more valuable and more important than that of all the drivers he was preparing to cut in front of. Or perhaps it was something a little simpler like he was running late and trying to minimize his tardiness. Maybe he didn’t really *want* to be a complete dick, but this time he had to make an exception. Either way, he knew what he was doing and had planned it all along… before the semi interfered.

So essentially he was mad that someone else did something to him which almost ruined his chance to do that thing to others. This is our society today. We’ve not only gotten to the place where we’re fully okay spitting on others to get ahead (which is already a pretty bad place to be as a society), but also that we become angry when someone else spits on us in a way that prevents (or nearly prevents) us from spitting on others. We see this in more than just traffic patterns, too. In the USA, it is prevalent and evident every time our politicians legislate something that they exempt themselves from. Ah the joys of Kali Yuga! What heavy and severe samskara we must carry as a society – such egregore – to have reached a place where this is something so many consciences are fine with.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti

Drag

 

The Gita teaches us that the same Spark resides in all things. But not all things look alike. Surely there must be a difference between me and you and the rock and the dead chicken on your sandwich?

Nope.

Any differences that can be detected – any differences which appear to us – are, at their best, the most superficial. Only fools look at the sea and think the waves at the surface are the seas’s entirety. Even sciences are now confirming that the differences you and I think we’re seeing that distinguish us from each other and from the rock and from the chicken breast on your sandwich really aren’t real.

So, if you and me and the rock and the chicken patty aren’t actually different, then what are we? We’re the Same. We’re the One. We are All There Is.

But, we’re the One as It wears different masks. In the very same way a woman might wear a certain lip color to work, but different lip color to church, and yet different lip color on a night out… The appearance and presentation changes slightly, but the Wearer is not changed. We are God’s various lip colors – we are the God in drag!

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti

April 19, 1983

Shri Gurubhyo Namaha!

The path today known as Heartfulness was once only known as Sahaj Marg. Going back many years and even tracing back to sage Patanjali, the modern expression of this path has seen more gurus. Known as Masters because the mastery they possess over their selves and their ability to point seekers toward the one Self within us all, these four have each brought a new phase of evolution to our marg. The first of the four gurus was named Ram Chandra (of Fatehgarh). He is now known more simply as Lalaji. His successor had the same name, although he was from Shajahanpur (Uttar Pradesh) and came to be known as Babuji.

Lalaji laid the foundation for our path’s modern structure. Lalaji seems to have resurrected a hybrid – part Sufi, part Hindu. He is know to have taught our simple form of heart-centered meditation but also would give seekers mantras and ayurvedic advice – whatever the seeker was in most need of, Lalaji helped them obtain. Our next guru, Babuji built upon the foundation laid by Lalaji and in his own way streamlined our practice. It was during his guidance that the primary focus of the path became our way of meditation and usage of things like mantras declined significantly.

Born in 1899, Babuji’s form was seen by Lalaji while he was in a super-conscious state and it was then known that the man we call Babuji would be the marg’s successor. One major thing taken from Babuji’s example is that one need not renounce a responsible worldly life to retreat into the Himalayas in order to see vital personal evolution. In fact, Babuji taught us through word and his living example that the householder life can be the very best proving ground for one’s spirituality. To be found among all his other teachings, he taught that we should not give too much attention to our weaknesses but instead focus on progressing and to always push forward and that not only is God simple, but also that the means to reach God are equally simple.

On April 19th, 1983, Babuji left and entered a loka we know as the Brighter World and from there he has sent (and continues to send) many messages through a French female medium. These Messages from the Brighter World now form a significant corpus of literature and always convey his essence to us while at the same time advising and gently prodding us onward as a community. Very late last night / very early this morning (USA, EST) there were global sittings to commemorate the samadhi of Heartfulness’s second gurudev. Tonight, I’m reciting the gurupadukastotram and doing other puja to honor Babuji. Below you will see an assortment of images take from various places online. I’m sharing them with you now to get a better sense of Babuji and what he means to abhyasis around the world.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Shri Gurubhyo Namaha | Aum Shanti

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uninvited Guest

Sometimes things are lost in translation. This can happen among native speakers of the same language – perhaps if the speaker uses a word he didn’t mean. It can certainly also happen while literally translating words of one language into their equivalents in another. I think, too, that culture sometimes plays a major role is things getting lost in translation. Sometimes, even when someone is fully capable from a linguistic perspective there can be things lost due to cultural differences which might otherwise be significant. In the quote below, I wonder if this isn’t happening. Take a look…

“The method of meditation on the heart is to think of Godly light within it. When you begin meditating in this way, please think only that Godly light within is attracting you. Do not mind if extraneous ideas haunt you during meditation. Let them come, but go on with your own work. Treat your thoughts and ideas as uninvited guests. If even then they trouble you, think they are Master’s, not yours. This process of meditation is very effective and can never fail in bringing about the desired result.” –Ram Chandra, Complete Works of Ram Chandra, Vol. 1 (1st Indian edn., 1989), p. 342

The short sentence of, “Treat your thoughts and ideas as uninvited guests” carries with it room for misunderstanding, although this very sentence is something Heartfulness / Sahaj Marg abhyasis quote often. While I’m more familiar with Indian culture than the average Westerner, I can only to a small degree speak about it – let alone Indian culture from a century ago. From a Western point of view, and more specifically an American point of view, this wording gives pause. The rest of the quote shared here feels contradictory to us – if we’re paying attention. We’re told not to mind extraneous ideas and to let thoughts come and go as they will, and think of them as God’s thoughts (aka The Master’s) instead of our own. Almost none of this is how uninvited guests are treated!

Here in the West, uninvited guests are noticed – sometimes with responses like surprise or disgust or contempt. A lot of that will hinge on what you’re interrupting and the relationship you have to what is being interrupted. Birthday parties, weddings / receptions, and maybe even more public things like church services… I dare you to walk into a church you don’t regularly attend and just see if no one notices you.

Maybe your personality is like mine and your default is automatically and purposefully to take care of business when it presents (regardless of the kind of business being handled). Or maybe you’re someone with just enough self-awareness to realize you have little control over your own internal mental and emotional processes. Either way – total control freak or out of control – you are likely to pay a lot of attention to these “uninvited guests.”

And so, I think – though Babuji was speaking plain English – that something was miscommunicated here. Something has been lost? To many Western minds, I’d say, treating one’s thoughts as uninvited quests means the opposite of “ignore and move on.”

A great twist here, I’ll say, is that there is immense benefit and maybe even some necessity to treating our thoughts while meditating as uninvited guests. In order for something – a person or thought or whatever – to be treated as uninvited, it must necessarily first be identified as such. Regardless of how we tackle things uninvited, we have to be able to see them as uninvited first. When this happens, fantastic potential opens up for the meditator.

In every form of meditation which I’ve ever studied, the meditator can potentially, eventually enter a state that isn’t usual in one’s waking hours. Of course, those for whom this becomes usual even while moving about their day we call yogis. But for most people this isn’t usual and when it happens it’s really something. It presents the meditator with the experience of seeing their thoughts happening just as automatically as they normally would – but almost as if from a distance.

In the same way you can sit next to a stream or river and watch things float by in it, you can watch your own river of awareness and similarly see things passing by. When the meditator becomes familiar with this experience it becomes a real blessing and more than just rest or relaxation can be derived from it. When you are able to successfully recognize and experience the gap of infinity that sits between “you” and your thoughts, many doors are opened for you the benefits of which have mundane and mystical applications.

To go back to the idea of thoughts as uninvited guests, I’ll mention something relating to Indian / Hindu culture. In Hinduism we say, “Pitru devo bhavaha” meaning “The guest is God.” When you are expecting God as a guest or to treat your guests as God, then you will of course dedicate lots of attention (aka energy) to that end. Perhaps then, if you have an uninvited guest you are able to say, “I refuse to dedicate energy in that direction” and if that’s the case, then treating your thoughts as uninvited guests while meditating would indeed be helpful. Still, if the guest is God then – invited or uninvited – why not afford that God / guest your attention? Dear reader, maybe you can answer that for me? If you’re a more experienced abhyasi than I am, then I would certainly value your insight into what Babuji was intending to communicate.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti

Daaji’s Yoga Nidra

Ganesha In Yoga Nidra

 

I will sometimes get into talks with people (friendly, no-argumentative talks) about sleep. Many people claim that once they are asleep, they are out cold. Others tell about how they are such light sleepers. Some people toss and turn. While everyone sleeps in their own way, it seems like everyone can relate to how others sleep – except for when I detail to them how I sleep. To be clear, there are times when I’m out cold and sleeping so deeply that all disappears. And there are times when I sleep like my birth mother did when she lived: So lightly that if someone gently sighs three rooms away – with the door closed – it’ll wake me up. But mostly it’s neither of these. More often than not, I am awake (aware?) while I’m asleep. I really don’t know how else to describe it. My body goes to sleep. And I would say, too, that my mind also goes to sleep. But “I” stay awake and aware for most of every night’s rest. It’s dark and and quiet and very still (stiller and quieter than your home when the electricity goes out and you notice the screaming silence that happens as a result of things like the refrigerator not running. Y’know – that really LOUD silence?). I’m keenly ware that my body rests. I’m just as aware that my mind’s thoughts are passing by at a slower pace (if at all) than when I’m awake. The whole time, I just….. am. It’s nice. So nice.

I’ve written about it here before, in the past. It’s always a tough thing to try to effectively describe. Almost no one understands what I’m talking about. This seems to say that I’m either describing my experience in a way that others cannot at all relate to (read: I’m using the wrong words), or else there really are so few others that have this experience that I’ve yet to encounter one. It can be frustrating. And it IS frustrating when I’m in talks with someone who claims I’m entirely mistaken – that we ALL dream every night, whether we recall as much or not. Thank god for people who know my own life experience better than I do! (#Sarcasm)

Anyway, What you will read below the line is something I pulled from a newsletter or maybe a publication from Daaji’s Desk or something. I forget the exact source, but I suppose that doesn’t matter so much as you understand it’s not something I composed. Daaji was questioned by some students about falling asleep during meditation and his answer feels like it touches a bit on how I experience sleep. Just thought I’d share.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti


It was a quiet morning. Daaji came to the meditation room around 7:30 a.m. and conducted satsangh. Afterwards he answered questions from new seekers. Here are some excerpts:

Q: While meditating, I find that I am leaning either forward or sideways by the time I finish. So how do I know that I am meditating and not sleeping?

Daaji: I will start with the second part of your question. How to know whether you are meditating or sleeping? Often when we conduct such programs in universities, especially when there are 500 or 1000 students in a hall and generally they would be having fun. After meditation, they ask, “Sir, did we go to sleep?” So I respond, “Okay, let’s do an experiment. Sit in a chair and I will not transmit to you. Now, try to go to sleep in the chair within 5 minutes. Can you do it?” So it is the relaxing effect produced by transmission that creates a state akin to yoga nidra. At the same time, if you pay attention, you are aware of what is happening outside, even though you are in a sleep-like state.

Now, to the first part of your question: often we seem to lean forward or sideways. It is a very good state actually. It happens when the mind relaxes and our emotional heart surrenders. In that state of submission the head bows down, unknowingly, unconsciously. It is arising out of our subconscious submission to Divinity.

Points of Interest

By now it’s well documented that many Eastern traditions have known things which the Western is only just now beginning to recognize. Certain examples might include the nature of matter and energy, the shape and structure of the universe and space, and certain features and functions and compositions of the human being. Likely falling under the last of the list I just made would be the images shown below. I don’t rightly know if I’m “allowed” to share these images and diagrams with the world via our wide web, because in every path there are many things (often of an esoteric value) which paths don’t typically let anyone and everyone to see and which instead are reserved for the initiates.

However, whispers coming from The Hierarchy in the Brighter World have indicated that change is happening – at an unprecedented rate and in unprecedented ways. That alone, I think, is enough so-called “wiggle room” for me to be able to share the information below and not to be breaking any rule. But even if it isn’t, those who know me personally will know that I often live my the motto of it being better to ask forgiveness than to ask for permission. So… Imma do what I think I should, regardless of what’s technically allowed or not.

For those already walking the path of Sahaj Marg or Heartfulness, this content might be nothing new to you. Depending on what Sahaj Marg / Heartfulness books are in your home library, you may well have seen these diagrams already – and if you have, then you probably already have read the surrounding information which does a better job explaining foundational and peripheral knowledge related to these images. If that’s you, then you are a bit ahead of the game and these will make more sense to you.

For anyone very new to this path, or who maybe has a home library which doesn’t include the books detailing this information, this might be content you haven’t before seen. That’s fine. For you folks, you’ll want to keep in  mind that these diagrams are (to say the least) digest versions of deeper knowledge relating to our path. Take from these whatever you can, and don’t worry too much about anything you aren’t super clear on or places where you think you see holes in the information presented.

Regardless of whether or not these diagrams are new to you, feel free to leave your thoughts in a comment below or through contacting me privately. (If you haven’t commented here before, then your comment will require my approval – so leaving a first-time comment IS a way to contact me privately if you can find no other way. Just FYI.)

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti