Monday, December 17, 2012

Sahaj Marg, An Unforgettable Experience?

Translation of an article by Élodie: "Une Expérience Inoubliable", on her blog in Europe: "Pour Que Vive le Sahaj Marg"

Insertions for clarification by 4d-Don are in: "red italics"

December 17, 2012

An unforgettable experience?

A modest contribution to a complicated debate on the eminently subjective intensity of feeling brought about by meditation.

Our Western world is hectic and stressful, it always demands more from us, it washes us and it empties us of our substance. Now everyone at one time or another in his life, longs for peace and serenity. Paradoxically, the hyper materialism of our society inexorably leads us back to the quest for meaning and spiritual research.   In this context, the personal development techniques see a boulevard open at their feet.

Meditation has the wind in its sails, it help manage daily stress, it provides access to a relative well-being, in the absence of a total well-being. Technically, it consists of relaxing one's self and to empty one's interior, then follows mechanically a sense of calm and wholeness which anyone can achieve with a little practice. The feeling of this experience is generally very positive.

 Going a little further, meditation is also accompanied by various feelings such as experiencing a spiral of energy, feelings of infinite joy, love, peace and compassion and mystical visions, paranormal or magical ecstasy.  Also, it can give the feeling of a universal presence or a universal truth.  Some sometimes speak of the awakening of consciousness, of transcendent states or altered states of consciousness. These experiences seem indeed real for the people who live them, but everyone interprets them in a personal way, depending on their culture or their belief system.

The West has seized upon these ancient technique, as it does with everything, that is to say, greedily, hungrily.   Spiritual movements have thus developed from the East to the West with great success. Each of them tries to explain how their method is specific and better than its neighbor's, and if that is possible: unique in the world.  But Buddhism, Hinduism and Sufism has offered these techniques since forever, or almost.

Babuji created the method of Sahaj Marg around 1945, a simplified and accelerated technique from out of  Raja Yoga, with a guide who accompanies the spiritual seeker in his meditation on the heart, and who  (allegedly) transmits divine energy. Although they deny it, SRCM abhyasis peddle the idea that this method is unique, the best, the one that provides the most intense spiritual experience the most rapidly.   For them, Sahaj Marg is THE ultimate spiritual path.

Lalaji, the predecessor and the professed master of Babuji, used to say that it is the master (the spiritual guide) who does all the work once the disciple has abandoned himslef in his hands. Chari, the self-appointed successor of Babuji, said that the preceptor is there to serve the master, he is his channel to reach thousands of abhyasis and (allegedly) to transmit divine energy to them. But with more than 3,000 preceptors, sometimes appointed by phone after a few days of practice, the quality of the channel is significantly depleted, and sometimes dried up. Today, most of the followers of the SRCM experience or feel nothing more than what is provided by any other meditation technique.

At Sahaj Marg, the meditation thus provides a sense of well-being, it is an undeniable fact, even if its intensity is very variable.  When the spiritual guide is good (master or preceptor), the intensity of feeling is stronger and makes a more lasting impression. At SRCM, it is customary to say that this is due to the quality of the transmission, to be understood as the spiritual qualities of the guide.  But would it not  rather be due to the prejudice of the abhyasi toward his guide, thus establishing a prior trust conducive to a more total abandonment, and therefore from the outset to a more intense result? When the feeling is so intense, it is customary to say at the SRCM that one has approached the Central Region, or a merger with the Divine, the Holy Grail that is dangled before everyone. It is held up as the ultimate goal, undefined because it is indefinable, but accessible to everyone because the full preceptors, shown as example,  have supposedly reached it.

The more the  feeling is intense, the more intense also is the descent phase (coming down) that follows, as in the use of drugs (narcotics). The follower of the SRCM passes from a phase of wholeness (up)  to a phase of dejection (down)  and to severe depression in a continuous cycle that SRCM customarily explains as the re-opening of unconscious wounds which every human being  apparently have inside him.

When the intensity of feeling is low or when it is not up to expectations, it is customary to say that the SRCM adept was in a bad condition: love for the master was low, (there was) insufficient cleaning or insufficient work on one's character, etc.. The custom at SRCM then guilts the disciple because he did not make enough effort to be in a good condition.

For my part, I meditated at the SRCM alone and with only two main precpeptors. The first was full of himself and exasperated me, I never felt anything else with him than an uncontrollable feeling of rejection.  I did everything to change and discovered a second preceptor which I chose because our contact was good, but he was apparently not a very good channel because I've never been moved.  But what did I not hear at my center, when I tried to explain my weak feeling, the group sent me back to my condition, my lack of work on myself, I was solely responsible, guilty. I happened occasionally to meditate with other preceptors at gatherings and Oh! Miracle (lo and behold), there everything went well, the experience was wonderful. Since my departure, I continue to meditate alone and sometimes with guides that have nothing to do with the SRCM.  I've lived experiences of all intensities, from nothing to wonderful, whether alone or accompanied (with guide).

Sahaj Marg therefore offers a free service of the same order as other meditation techniques, but unlike many institutes of personal development, SRCM presents this technique along with restrictive and inevitable user's manual, a decryption template which comes directly from its belief system.  At SRCM, one can not meditate according to Sahaj Marg without adopting its culture and philosophy, and it explains both the lack of experience, and its highest intensities or its moments of depression. It provides as well both the method and the key to the interpretations of the successes and the failures, leaving nothing unknown so as to never let the adepts alone to reflect on their experience. Practice this meditation with another belief system, another framework, and you will come to totally other conclusions than those imposed on you by the SRCM.

Generally, the meditative experience is there waiting for you, although its intensity may vary, its failure and success are explained.   However, its spiritual aspect is less obvious, it is a matter of belief.  SRCM  customarily says that it is the Master's  transmission of divine energy to the disciple, because one must meditate on the love of the master and on his constant remembrance.   A true spiritual quest is to go in search of one's inner God through introspection and meditation. At the SRCM, it is an external God in the best case, but most likely, the Master or the preceptor. To each his own quest for the divine.

I know that I will ruffle more than one with such remarks. I certainly did not cover everything on the subject, I'm well aware. I do not pretend to hold the truth, this is MY truth at this moment. To each his own, the debate is more open than ever.

Michael often has advice which I really appreciate because they help me to think and grow.   I would be very happy to have his contribution on this particular subject of spiritual experience. This is a call for contributions, thank you to 4d-Don for relaying  my request to him if he has not read these lines.




Anonymous said...

Hello Everyone!

I agree with you Elodie. I would also like to thank you for sharing your experience. Thank you for your honesty.

Michael has been a big help to me too. It has taken me a long time to recover and pull my head out of their brain washing.

Frank helped me too. Reading other peoples experiences on these blogs and learning about how cults operate helped too.

These people get so crazy, they even believe P. Chari is responsible for the shape of the moon.

I was really terrified when I left. Elodie I noticed that this Fabrice person made a threat to you. He/she should be ashamed. (I would imagine that Fabrice feels threatened. Maybe his belief system is being shaken up a bit.)

There are writings in their books designed to frighten a person into believing that ones soul would be damned if they leave - that they have "taken a fall." It’s designed to frighten a person so they don’t leave. With all their talk about obedience to the master.

P. Chari has more invested in the preceptor. Preceptor is a recruiter.

In my opinion, being a preceptor is the “kiss of death.” It strengthens the person’s ego, making the person identify with the role and think they are a cut above the rest. Their system does that too. “Only the highly evolved find it.”

Their system breaks a person down, makes a person weepy and weak.

There was a time when i believed their teachings and i am sorry to say, i too believed God could be that small.

-- Triple Gem

Michael said...

I am troubled by any system of meditation which puts more emphasis on the experience while meditating over the experience while one is not meditating.

By far the most profound experience I have ever had while meditating was when I literally experienced no intensity - nothing! Yet, I found an essence there which is unchanging regardless of the experience. This has guided me through life in a far more profound way than any other experience.

Far too much emphasis is put on what one feels while meditating. This is akin to a tourist's experience while on a cruise ship. The food was good, the entertainment was fabulous, the weather was wonderful and the ports of call were intriguing...

But you finally have to come home and live your life - always wising to not have to live that life but be on a cruise. This is not spirituality in my view.

True spirituality may be a result of meditation, or it may not, but what it is for sure is how one conducts their life, living in the moment, embracing the infinite journey that has been laid out before them as opposed to wishing they were on some spiritually entertaining cruise ship.

This is why I like to remind us all that there is no goal, there is only the Infinite Journey that lays before us. We can either embrace the Journey here and now or avoid it and seek out meditation experiences.

As for guidance, I do not agree that a Master can do anything but offer an example as to how to live. One can only experience their Journey themselves.


Michael said...

Correction to my last statement above:

I do not BELIEVE that a Master can do anything bu offer an example as to how to live...