Learn to Meditate: Meditation and Sahaja Yoga



, ,

What is Sahaja Yoga meditation? To begin with, it’s important to understand that meditation is not a technique or a skill, it’s a state of not thinking. This experience, also known as thoughtless awareness is a both a worthy pursuit in itself, and also the path we must follow to reach self realization. Sahaja Yoga is a method of achieving the awakening within us that develops that experience, and it’s a process of change that happens within ourselves invisibly.

A New Awareness

Self realization is a process of uncovering a hidden world of experience, an awakening often described as enlightenment. What does this awakening feel like? Self realization could be considered this way: If someone had never tasted salt, there are no words that could really explain or describe it. We might give someone some to taste, but salt itself doesn’t really make sense until we add it to other food. Our ordinary life before self realization is a bit like food without salt. Can we imagine a life without salt? Might we not have a nagging feeling that something was missing from our food without even knowing what it was?

People who are hungry for self realization know that something is missing from their lives but they don’t know what it is. How would we recognize it if it started to happen? How do we experience a silent dimension? At first glance, things are the same as before, but something we didn’t realize was missing has been added. Just like salt brings out the uniqueness and the full experience of certain other flavors, meditation is a state that when developed adds a kind of savor to life’s experiences. But if meditation is thinking less, how can life with meditation mean experiencing more? We have all known something like meditation during what we call “living in the moment”. It might be a new parent or grandparent cuddling a baby, an adventurer’s first glimpse of beautiful mountain range or ocean view, an athlete at a pivotal moment in a game or a reader at the climax of an exciting book. These experiences will be different for everyone but what they share is the delight of life fully experienced.

Contemplating Nature from SY Way

Living in the Moment

In these moments we don’t think or worry or react to what is happening. Thinking, worrying, reacting, these are all activities of our mind. The mind has to be looking forward, thinking and planning, or looking backward remembering, comparing, hanging on to things. We can’t think in the present, “in the moment” is losing ourself to the real world of the present. So at those times we are doing less with our mind, and in that emptiness a full experience of life rushes in. We can see very small children spending their time in that moment to moment way of living in the present, but we grow up filling our awareness with so much thinking that it isolates us from what life really feels like. What if we could keep all of our experience and expertise, our adult intellect and understanding, but leave our incessant thinking behind and only use the mind as needed? We could leave some space for the joy of the present moment. What if staying in the moment was something we could develop and practice every day?

This will be a new perspective for people who think of meditation as something which should make life more calm and quiet rather than richer and deeper, but the interesting thing about this blossoming of self realization is that we feel more balanced and grounded even when chaos and challenges surround us. When meditation has become part of our daily habits, that calm silence is a quietness on the inside that starts to show up even when we are most active.

The Meaning of “Yoga”

To help understand what Sahaja Yoga meditation is for the beginner, think of this silent mind as the new kind of experience we want to taste and think of Sahaja Yoga as the recipe book. When we add salt to our food, we can start with little pinch, then add more and keep tasting as we go. But adding meditation to our life requires a little more technique because we can’t just open a cupboard and grab it. We have to know where to find it, and that’s where Sahaja Yoga comes in.

The popular definition of “yoga” usually includes postures on an exercise mat, but the physical side of yoga, “hatha” yoga, is only one of the roads meant to bring us closer to yoga. Yoga is a broader term which means union or connection. Often the modern definition is of a union between the mind and the body, but the goal of yoga is to discover the union between ourselves and something that is beyond ourselves, something universal. This “something” is bigger than ourselves, and yet it’s something that once awakened, stays with us and grows whenever our mind becomes silent.

“Sahaja” means spontaneous, something natural that works by itself once set in motion. Sahaja Yoga is a method for working out self realization within ourselves, and one that takes some time and some dedication. But once we know where to find it, this is an ingredient that knows by itself what we need, how much and how often. And what happens when we maintain a Sahaja Yoga daily meditation practice? What do we have to do? The short answer is to find at least 10 minutes a day and begin to follow the free classes. Sahaja Yoga really needs to be tried, and just like the salt, the easiest path to understanding is through giving it a try.

If you are curious about meditation, it’s because you can feel there is something missing in your life. That magic ingredient, that one that makes the other ingredients make sense is what you are looking for. Sahaja Yoga is a recipe for discovering where to find it, how much and how often you’ll want to add it, and the the steps you need to take to make the most of this new experience. There is a new kind of human being that starts to awaken when we know how to grow it. This is a living process that cannot be bought or sold, and Sahaja Yoga is freely available around the world, always for free. For some people noticeable results can happen quickly and for others it’s a bit slower, but whoever does their best to follow the instruction carefully will get there. There are lots of new ideas, new words and new pictures of what a human being is that are introduced along the way, but there is one guiding principal that is easy to understand. This key ingredient will always work no matter what your background: Stick with it. Just like developing any new skill or discipline, Sahaja Yoga mediation works best when we stick to it. A few minutes a day is enough for the beginner, but every other obstacle can be overcome if you achieve this one simple thing. “Keep going and start a daily practice no matter how small the effort” is the rule.

How can being active feel calm? How can we achieve more while thinking less? How can something hidden within ourselves transform the world around us? we can’t know until we try for ourselves. describing salt isn’t going to make much sense until we add it to a meal and taste the result.

Lady Meditating from SY Way

– By William D –

How to Stop Thinking and Live in the Moment, Part 2: Watching Yourself



, , , , , ,

In part one of this series we looked at the most commonly given answers to the question of living silently in the moment. The first answer we examined, “Sit in Silence, Watch your breathing” involves sitting down, usually with eyes closed to give our mind a break and using our breath as a focus. The general idea is to retreat from the world around us to a quiet place in the hopes that the outer silence will encourage inner silence. Before we go deeper into how this might work, let’s consider the challenges with this approach. One issue is that thoughts may seem louder rather than quieter when we are alone with our own attention. It’s a tricky problem because action or inaction can both be a source of runaway thinking. When we are out and about and active in the world there are many things pulling our attention away from our inner self which is the place of meditation. But when we are alone in a silent place with nothing else to do, thoughts are given more space to operate in. Consider how often people throw themselves into work or games to escape from troubling thoughts or memories. We can see how sitting alone with eyes closed can be associated with too much thinking rather than mental silence.


Watching our breathing is often presented as a way out, to distract ourselves from our thinking habits, but it is more than a simple distraction. The breath of life – “prana” is the Sanskrit word – is meant to be invoked when we meditate on the intake and outtake of breath. For the ancient Greeks, this vital force was known as “pneuma”. It’s also know as “anima” the animating force or breath in Latin, “Ruh”, the breath of God for Sufis or Muslims, “Ruah” in the Hebrew scriptures. In the Gospel of John, Jesus refers to the relationship between breath and Spirit:

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”  John 3:8

These spiritual meanings of this “breath of life” obviously refer to a subtle energy, not simple air that we can breath into our lungs, but the hope is that our own breath can resonate with that invisible prana if we open ourself to the possibility. The fact that this invisible vital force is a universal principle recognized by so many ancient cultures offers us encouragement that the experience of this path is possible. The fascination of this theme continues beyond ancient religions, not only among those who seek to revive ancient practices, but in contemporary culture as well. The L.A. rock band “Tool” provides one example:


We are spirit bound to this flesh

We go round one foot nailed down

But bound to reach out and beyond this flesh, become Pneuma

We are will and wonder, bound to recall, remember

We are born of one breath, one Word

We are all one spark, sun becoming

Child, wake up

Child, release the light

Wake up now

Child, wake up

Child, release the light

Wake up now, child

(Spirit, Spirit, Spirit, Spirit)

Bound to this flesh, this guise, this mask, this dream

Wake up remember

We are born of one breath, one word

We are all one spark, sun becoming


Reach out and beyond

Wake up remember

We are born of one breath, one Word

We are all one spark, eyes full of wonder

Writers: Maynard James Keenan, Danny Carey, Adam Jones, Justin Chancell

When I looked for commentary by the band on the content of the song I came across a BBC Radio 1 interview as part of a Tool special (aired 2019/09/01). Besides confirming that the song is indeed about Spiritual transformation and reintegration, vocalist Maynard James Keenan observed how the effort to affect the Spiritual release of letting things go is, in his case, accompanied by the actual release of his breath. Here is a brief exchange from the interview:

Interviewer: The thing I noticed in [“Pneuma” ] …in a classical sense that means both Spirit and breath, correct?

Keenan: Correct

Interviewer: …it made me think of yogic practice, in a very simple way just taking a minute and taking a breath as a way of dealing with everything that is going on around us which is pure chaos it seems.

Keenan: Yeah… when I’m frustrated I have a “tell”, my exhale is my… (Keenan makes a frustrated sounding exhalation) and [my friends] they go “Ah! he’s mad about something”

It recalls how often when people are frightened, angry or otherwise overwhelmed by their attachment to feelings and situations, they are advised to “stop and take a breath”.

Rehearsing Enlightenment

What would it be like to witness our breathing in a state deep enough to allow us to sympathize with the breath of all reality, something so deep and universal that it is said to exist in all places at all times? Though breathing is a common focus, it’s the watching part that is the real secret. In fact we can watch any part of ourselves, anything inside our outside ourselves, but if we are experiencing through thought, we are not living in the moment at all, let alone being in touch with that which is everywhere at once.

We need a way around the mind to access what is beyond thought. Using breathing exercises to open the way to the breath of life is like a child playing house: the toy oven cannot be used to cook food, the plastic tea pot isn’t hot and play food can’t actually be chewed and digested. But this doesn’t mean that children playing house is useless. For example, baking cookies is a lot easier without small children “helping”, but we encourage them to do so because children first learn to identify with adult roles and responsibilities by playing at life. What happens when we practice “playing” at enlightenment? Even though the child helping bake is not actually running things, they are learning the patterns that when fully evolved will lead to a place and time where they will be able to bake for themselves.

No one has to teach us how to breathe. If breathing were not spontaneous, there could be no life. And so it is with the breath of life. Unlike the knowledge of how to bake, the breath of life has its source within us where it already exists perfect and complete. But just like the parent guiding the child in the kitchen, we can allow the wisdom and the techniques of ages past guide us, even though we may only begin by playing the part. What is that wisdom? and how do we discover something within that cannot be granted to us by others from the outside?

Self Realization

It begins with self realization. The simplest way I know to find out what that’s like is to begin the process with Sahaja Yoga. What makes the discoveries of Sahaja Yoga unique among meditation practices is something seekers have to treat as a hypothesis until they have a chance to discover it for themselves, so take this description as a theory to test. After all, the word “Sahaja” itself mean innate, something spontaneous within us, so it is our own experience that counts. In this case, there is some proof of concept in the fact that Sahaja Yoga facilitates that which is innate within us without expense as classes and materials world wide are always provided free of charge. Sahaja Yoga is sponsored by those who teach and practice it so that others may come and experience it for free as those who organize it once did themselves – and so has it been established since Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi first began this movement 50 years ago.

A 20 minute guided meditation experience with music

The Kundalini

Breathing happens inside us, and just as the child playing at baking acts out steps he will some day walk in truth, the popularity of breathing disciplines and the way they turn our gaze inward  is a clue about what the experience of enlightenment will be. We are not Gods, but we contain the Divine breath within us. Being “born of the Spirit” is a reference to the eternal Spirit, and many faith traditions describe enlightenment as being “born again”. This rebirth is the revelation of a mirror within us that reflects the Divine. When our mother gave birth to us, the new phase of our existence began with a breath, the very first use of our own lungs. It is fitting that when the energy of our transformation awakens from dormancy in the sacrum bone, it rises through the centre of our body to pierce the fontanelle bone at the top of our head to enable us to take a first breath of a different kind. This awakened energy of transformation is known as Kundalini in the Eastern tradition, but the sensation of breeze that accompanies it is know by all the names for the breath of life we considered earlier in this article. One of the signs that this energy has been awakened is the experience of a breeze, often cool, felt like a gentle breath in the hands and above the top of the head. Like meditation itself, this is a topic for experience rather than discussion, but it is a remarkable coincidence that the breath of life we seek through our breathing exercises, is itself experienced as breath. When you follow the links to the guided meditation above, be aware of what you feel in your hands and in your body. You will see that there is more to discovering prana than what we take in and out of our lungs.

In the next article in this series, we will take a closer look at mindfulness and how meditation might be something we can do wherever we go, whatever we are doing.

By William Downey

How to Stop Thinking and Live in the Moment! Part One



, , , , , , ,

How do we stop thinking and live in the moment? We don’t have to look very far to realize that many people are trying to give us answers. These questions and answers provide a great starting place to explain what Sahaja Yoga meditation is and what makes a daily Sahaja Yoga practice special. In the next few articles we will look at this meditation in detail, but we’ll begin with a quick overview of four of the internet’s common answers to stop thinking.

Let’s take a look at the question first. How do you learn to stop thinking? Isn’t that just one more thing to think about? Can we even think about how not to think? Can we plan to avoid over-planning? How far can we get by worrying about how to stop worrying? Difficult questions for sure, and many people are looking for answers.

One thing is clear, to stop thinking we will need some different approaches to get around our mind’s usual habits. The current popularity of mindfulness and meditation might be part of something healthy, perhaps even something necessary for humankind’s progress, but there is just so much different information! To make things simpler and to save time, we surveyed the internet for the most common answers, tips and “life hacks” on the subject.

Watch Your Breathing

Let’s return to the puzzle of how to stop our thoughts. How do we stop our thinking? if we could do it voluntarily, we wouldn’t need to look for outside help. Though sitting silently gives us somewhere to start, it returns us to the problem of watching ourselves. Since watching ourselves is doing something with our mind, we’re still not silent.

This is where watching our breathing is meant to come in. The idea is to pay attention to our lungs filling and emptying, and sometimes it’s also recommended to consciously slow our breathing. In theory this should get us out of our heads and into our bodies long enough to interrupt the stream of thoughts, but stress and anxiety have a way of following our attention wherever it goes. It’s even possible to become anxious and worried about something as simple as breathing. Stress, anxiety, depression, these things can behave like gravity, acting on whatever comes into their field. “Am I doing this right?”, “Am I getting enough oxygen?”, “How long do I hold each breath?” Unfortunately breathing and relaxation can’t always take us far enough to escape the trap of our mind. Can we enter a time and a place where we can leave the outside world at the door? The idea is to see how it feels to just sit, just breath, just BE, even if we can only manage it for a few moments. If we manage to get a break in our thoughts, where do we go from there? meditation is not an end in itself, it’s the “living” part of “live in the moment” that’s still missing here.


Another common solution to stress, worry and over thinking is something called “mindfulness”. Some writers and educators present it in simple terms, others define as something more mysterious or mystical. Mindfulness, the art of doing what you are doing with your whole attention rather than just going through the motions, can be found in Buddhism and other spiritual traditions. Most contemporary descriptions of mindfulness avoid the spiritual implications, but mindfulness expresses an approach found in many traditional scriptures. Variations on this theme can be found around the world, some more practical and down to earth:

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Others speak of mindfulness as an expression of devotion:

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”

The first quotation is part of the “lilies of the field” parable told by Jesus in the Matthew 6:34, the second is from Proverbs 4:23 in the Hebrew scriptures. The goal is to guard ourselves, to keep our attention on what is right in front of us as the path to fulfillment. Buddha gave us similar advice:

Ardently do today what must be done. Who knows? Tomorrow, death comes.”

It’s reassuring to know that mindfulness and the problems and solutions it addresses have been with us for thousands of years, but the passage of time seems to have taken us further from this ideal rather than closer. Can the answer to excessive thinking be as simple as “doing what you are doing”? How do we even do that? Leaving the past behind and letting the future take care of itself sounds great, but it seems to be something that has to happen spontaneously, not a thing under our voluntary control. Perhaps there is way of dealing with stress that gets closer to it’s roots.

Deal with your Responsibilities – Then Let Go

There is an ocean of strategies for “letting go” but most people seem to forget that the things we have to let go need to be transformed into something else. In other words, we might be having trouble letting things go because we haven’t dealt with them yet.

The trick is that surrendering our thoughts and anxieties may require transcending them through taking responsibility. This is not a simple “life hack” or a “quick fix”, this is growth through transformation. Meditation has always been associated with Self realization. This is why spiritual progress is so often symbolized as a rebirth or an awakening. This is the path of meditation through introspection and personal ascent. In the second verse of Cetana Sutta, Buddha is quoted as follows:

‘It is in the nature of things that freedom from remorse arises in a person endowed with virtue, consummate in virtue.

“Freedom from remorse”, that’s another way of saying “finished with guilt and regret”. If we achieve personal growth through facing ourselves and taking responsibility for our shortcomings and mistakes, peace of mind comes naturally. In other words, we don’t have peace on the inside because we are not yet at peace with our behaviour in the world around us. Just as the awakening of a seed starts a process that expands upward naturally, meditation through personal growth is followed by growth in meditation, So how to set it in motion? what is blocking our way?

See our Ego

Most people would agree that any real solution to life’s challenges has to cost something. One way of evaluating meditation resources on the internet would be to look for solutions that aren’t easy. The “see your ego” path to quieting the mind is not as popular as some of the less drastic ways to go beyond our thoughts, but truly “living in the moment” isn’t possible when the ego is in the way. It’s the self satisfied part of our being that stands between us and reality. Ego is not value or respect for one’s self, its a smaller part that identifies with “I” “me” and “mine”.

Facing our ego is uncomfortable work, and our culture’s emphasis on self esteem and individual identity works against us. One of the reasons we look far away and long ago for insight is that our contemporary world is so good at handling our material needs like shelter, safety and warmth. We have so many ways to tend to the comforts of the outer self that we have lost touch with the world of the inner self. The ego is like a shell that hardens in modern times. It’s hard to be humble when we have conveniences and comfort that kings and queens couldn’t have even dreamed of a few centuries ago. More than any other obstacle to inner silence, the ego we build of our own importance can be seen as the main obstacle to living in the now. Emptying ourselves of everything but the reality that surrounds takes us to a place above and beyond the ego, it takes us into the state of meditation.

Sahaja Yoga Meditation

In our next articles, we will take a look at what Sahaja Yoga reveals about each of these four paths to meditation. The subtle body is our inner instrument of chakras and channels that meditation and yoga seek to access. The way we awaken the subtle energies to transcend the obstacles that trap us in our limited self are an unfamiliar and often bewildering subject. Our hope is that through looking at these familiar approaches to meditation, we can make sense of the these mysteries for a general audience. “Living in the now” is actually what our inner evolution through meditation is designed to prepare us for. Get ready to learn more about how to get our thoughts out of the way, and find the real world that’s waiting right in front of us. – William Downey

How Meditation Works


, ,

An Energetic Experience

Sahaja Yoga gives the unique experience of feeling inner energy while meditating. When awakened, this energy within you creates a powerful sensation in your hands and body. It helps absorb your thoughts and you start enjoying moments of mental silence. Many times your meditation ends with the reward of a peaceful and clear mind.

When resting, the energy is stored at the bottom of your spine in the sacrum bone. The techniques of Sahaja Yoga awaken the energy, and it moves up the spinal column to the top of the head. You can then feel it above your head as a gentle, cool breeze. Sometimes the energy can feel hot if your mind is preoccupied – for instance, if you’re holding onto troublesome thoughts. If that is the case, it helps if you can forgive yourself and others.

When you arrive at a good place mentally, the energy feels like a cool breeze in the hands, on the feet, and above the head. This new awareness and development of your personal energy will then take you to the next step – the ability to have regular and successful meditations.

The key to having a successful meditation is to put your attention on the energy above your head. When you keep your attention on the energy, your
thoughts slow down and you experience moments of comfort and relaxation. With practice, you will have longer moments of both and the enjoyment of feeling your own personal energy. It is recommended to meditate twice a day for about ten minutes at a time. This will help you to increase your sensitivity to the energy and your ability to keep your attention on the top of your head. With a bit of practice, you should be able to feel the energy consistently.

A complete set of videos are available for you at www.freemeditationtv.com. They provide guided meditations, useful information, and a variety of music to complete the experience.
Made by volunteers, their designed for everyone who would like to meditate, and who were just waiting for an easy way to start 🙂

– By Andrew T –