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Journey Within

Roopali Garg, Pune, India

When your trust in the world is at an all-time low, what can you do? Find a child who will fill your heart with unconditional love. Find the confidence that a child places in you, the truth in that innocence when 100 is the biggest number. The innocence will heal you. But then life happens every day, you need to trust someone every day. These days, bankers will lose your fixed deposit receipt. Your spouse is here today, gone tomorrow. The child too will lose innocence as a birthday goes by and demand the confidence and trust so critically required to face up to the negativity of the world. Where in the world will you go to be away from negativity? Where is this place where you can be yourself without guilt? An idyllic place at the edge of the world is an escapist fantasy. The drama is all within.

As a restless soul beginning to learn meditation, I had been looking for answers all my life. My Reiki teacher even allowed me to open my eyes every five minutes, as my restless thoughts would not allow me any ‘shut-eye' time. Eventually I got trained to keep my eyes closed (when awake for more than twenty minutes). I did Reiki for more than three years and was at the second level. It was a great group of seekers. Here I came to a reality check, whether I was able to meditate in groups. For I was not doing a great job meditating on my own. My teacher was also beginning to lose his patience. A true guide will always want a seeker to progress. But I was stuck.

You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. In my my fading away from Reiki, I came to Sahaj Marg, ‘the simple way'. Sahaj Marg is not static, it has no fixed situation. Like our guide says, it is an ever moving, ever growing, ever-expanding concept. It stresses meditation on the heart and this makes it an actuality. Here the goal is not external. It is within you. God is inside you. Here we do not adopt external symbols or objects of meditation, but we position it, locate it inside the heart. Why? Because in the heart is the goal of human existence. The message is crystal clear – seek within and you shall find.

To a single woman like me, this spelt freedom. But it was only recently that I learnt the true meaning of freedom, when a preceptor (spiritual instructor authorized by Sahaj Marg), during a course of discussion, quoted our spiritual guide's words: "The need or the want of getting away from freedom is to be truly free." This came like a bolt out of the blue. It was something to be pondered, and deeply. As long as we want freedom we are not truly free.

When I first started out, a phrase from the Sahaj Marg prayer was the 'master key' to my freedom: "We are slaves of wishes." Some of our wishes are very innocent. Like wishing my father would come to receive me at the airport or the station every time I went home on vacation or study; wishing my mother would receive me at the door of the house. My mother broke her backbone and it took years before she was back on her feet. My father, with age, could no longer drive. This is when you realize with chilling certainty that even the simplest of our wishes are not stable. We shed tears when we see the one we love in pain. It is tough to come to terms with these realities. The attachments will not allow spiritual progress. Love is different from an attachment. That is something I know because of Sahaj Marg, but the bridge to that understanding I am just building. With my Sahaj Marg guide's grace, I am sure I will get there.

Then there are fears, untold fears. We are all afraid of the bhoot, or the past as it translates from Sanskrit, every minute of our lives. The guide knows and deals with our fears learnt from the past and from past lives. I had learnt Taekwondo, a martial art, because my work required that I take on the challenges of being in unknown places, asking uncomfortable questions. I think being in Sahaj Marg has melted away my fears to such an extent that now for more than a year I do not box or practise my kicks. Even yoga exercises that I was doing for the past fifteen years are no longer practised. The fear of having to depend on anyone is over. I feel prepared to take upon any eventuality. (I still live in a city that I don't know very well yet.) I feel protected and watched over at any given time. The fear of getting lost has been replaced by the feeling, "I am not lost in the spiritual world." My guide is there for me.

I am more confident in dealing with uncertainties of life. Courage to accept oddities that life springs upon me has replaced deep-rooted insecurities. I am no longer aiming at stability but am equally happy changing cities and jobs. Like the famous sage Meerabai says in one of her bhajans, "Today I am in the palace, tomorrow in the huts but I am just fine. Whether I feast on sweetmeats or fast, I am still fine." Sahaj Marg is taking me back to my eternal nature. A desire to surrender completely has replaced the craving for stability. External approvals or disapprovals do not mean much. Instead I am looking inwards. My journey within has begun.