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Sahaj Marg: Fundamental Principles
Fundamental to the Sahaj Marg method is the practice of referring to one’s heart for guidance. We know that the heart is the centre of the physical system, where the blood is purified. In keeping with the Indian Vedic tradition, Sahaj Marg teaches that the heart is also the centre of the spiritual system. By means of a meditation practice that focuses the mind on the heart, both the heart and mind work in concert towards an individual’s evolution to the highest possible spiritual condition.
An undisciplined mind is prone to over activity and reaction to emotional triggers, often causing imbalanced behavior patterns and habits. All of our experiences—actions and reactions, thoughts and emotions—leave impressions on the heart. These impressions, called samskaras, accumulate over time, influencing our view of reality and consequently our actions. A vicious cycle results, which may slow our spiritual growth. A capable spiritual guide can remove these deeply ingrained impressions and complexities, thus opening the way for a changed future.
In cooperation with the spiritual guide, our individual effort to bring about change in ourselves is supported by a daily meditation practice that includes morning meditation, evening cleaning, prayer meditation, and remembrance (The Practice). The Sahaj Marg system also offers guidelines for daily life called the Ten Maxims that assist us in character development.
Through our meditation practice, we learn to regulate the mind and expand its capacity by gently shifting our focus to a continuous thought of the divine presence in the heart. Sahaj Marg teaches that God is simple, and therefore the way to God must also be simple. Accordingly, the system requires no chants, mantras or specific postures, and there are no elaborate rituals to be performed. The practice is experiential, allowing us to meditate, observe and assess the results for ourselves.
The two fundamental aspects of Sahaj Marg spiritual training are the work done by the spiritual guide or Master and the work done by the individual. Our individual effort is applied by doing the daily meditation practice, as prescribed, as well as developing our character. It is the tradition of Sahaj Marg to provide aspirants with a living teacher who makes himself available to the individual, thus giving aspirants an opportunity to reconcile their internal conflicts under his loving guidance. Further, a living teacher is able to refine the practice and teachings so that they remain relevant to the present world and to the need of the times.
"The primary effort or pursuit under the system of Sahaj Marg training is therefore to look to the proper cleaning and regulation of the mind, at the very initial stage, so that the mind may be relieved of its grosser and inharmonious tendencies."