Every Sahaj Marg gathering has an atmosphere of reunion. There is always joy in reconnecting with brothers and sisters. In the case of the gathering in Iselin, New Jersey, there was an additional element of expectancy: Our brother, respected Shri Kamlesh D. Patel, would be overseeing a North American gathering for the first time as our new spiritual guide.
There was also a delightful element of surprise. One week earlier, most of us had no idea that we would be together for such an event. It felt like a gift that had dropped out of the sky. One sentiment seemed to be at the heart of every conversation: “Isn’t this amazing?”
And it was. How had our brother and sister volunteers arranged for 1100 of us to congregate at such short notice and in such a way that all our needs were taken care of? As waves of abhyasis arrived at the hotel (our venue for the weekend), the rooms and halls began to take on the atmosphere of an ashram.
The program unfolded seamlessly, and we found that Kamlesh bhai’s manner of being with us was quite natural and brotherly, with a lightness that was both uplifting and comforting in the aftermath of our dear Revered Chariji’s departure for the brighter world. It felt like a gentle transition, but one that left no doubt as to the continuity and surety of the Mission’s leadership. We could all rest easy, and marvel at the loving preparation that made this possible.
There were changes introduced that seemed to prepare for rapid growth in the Mission and a speeding up of our individual spiritual progress – changes, for example, that will allow prefects to do more work in less time. It was clear that our guide was giving each of us a job to do and the means to do it – something our Revered Chariji had always guaranteed us.
Kamlesh bhai infused us with a quiet confidence and optimism, and his sense of humor was like a balm. After the final morning satsang, he took questions. Here are some of his replies, as noted in my diary:
- When the heart is really saying something, we won’t need to doubt it.
- We don’t sleep enough and we don’t sleep in time. To appreciate the system I must feel it with my total sense involvement – too much or too little sleep spoils it.
- We should not worry too much about samskaras. Live a carefree life like a child in the hands of the mother.
- Unable to sleep? Get absorbed in meditation as you’re lying there. You’ll get what you need. In the nighttime, you’re the king. Put it in cruise control, absorbed in the divinity. It becomes a spiritual rejuvenation as well.
- Enjoy food, otherwise it won’t digest. When you enjoy things, they are no longer a burden.
- Sensitivity and level of tolerance go together. If you are given one, you are given the other.
- Create depth in ourselves. Acceptance is higher than tolerance. Become like a deep lake. The falling leaves don’t make much ripple.
- It’s best not to try too many things. Dig in the ground in one place and you will find water.
- Don’t be discouraged if your spouse is not in the system. Just be more loving.
- We don’t need to display anything. The more we display, the more we come down.
- We maintain connection with the divine by thought. Then we feel the presence inside.
[Kamlesh bhai left us all with many suggestions to internalize and adopt. The following are a few taken to heart by some abhyasis.]
- We should be honest with ourselves and have the courage to follow our hearts.
- Sahaj Marg is about internalizing the divine presence. We can stay connected with him by thoughts.
- At bedtime, say the prayer with a heart full of surrender and love. This will help us use sleep for its spiritual purpose. If we go to bed with frustration, we will wake up with frustration, and won’t appreciate what happens during morning meditation. Instead, if we go to bed with love and surrender in our hearts, we will wake up with love and can appreciate our meditation.
- After morning meditation, make a sankalpa: “I will stay connected throughout the day.”
- How can we retain our condition? Just like a bucket with holes cannot retain water, a heart with holes cannot retain grace. What are these holes? Desires. Instead of having multiple material desires, we should make the goal (of human life) to be our only desire. We can digest what we are given by enjoying our condition.
- We are busy trying to solve too many different problems. It’s like digging two feet here, five feet there, eight feet elsewhere, to get water. Instead, if we consistently dig in one place, we will eventually get water. Similarly, we should solve that one problem of life which, when solved, fixes everything else in our life.
- Parents, become an example for your children.
- Spouses, be loving. Do not fight or argue. If you sense you are getting into an argument, gently withdraw, clean and center yourself.