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.
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.
– By William D –