Sahaj Samadhi meditation

As Art of Liv­ing par­tic­i­pants, we are not sup­posed to openly dis­cuss our prac­tice with out­siders. You are sup­posed to be a trained and cer­ti­fied instruc­tor to impart sudar­shan kriya or Sahaj Samadhi med­i­ta­tion. The com­ments here are meant as a gen­eral ori­en­ta­tion to the prac­tice for those think­ing about tak­ing the course. It should not be con­strued as a rec­om­men­da­tion or instruc­tions for the practice.

In June 2004, I took the med­i­ta­tion course from Michael Fish­man. Only a few instruc­tors, per­son­ally trained by Sri Sri, are allowed to teach the course. It stretches over four evenings with about two-​​hours each ses­sion. It’s less demand­ing than the intro­duc­tion course in terms of time and emo­tional invest­ment. Sahaj Samadhi means “nat­ural enlight­en­ment” in San­skrit. It is a mantra-​​based med­i­ta­tion sys­tem so you are given a mantra or sacred word that you will repeat silent to invoke med­i­ta­tion. You are not sup­posed to share it with any­one else.

Sri Sri explains the crux of the practice:

Med­i­tat­ing is the del­i­cate art of doing noth­ing – let­ting go of every­thing and being who you are.”

Like most of Art of Living’s train­ing, the course pro­vides clear, easy-​​to-​​follow instruc­tions, sim­ple dos and don’ts, and a nar­row focus meant to lower expec­ta­tions. The Art of Liv­ing Foundation’s approach seems to be to get the max­i­mum ben­e­fit of the prac­tice with the min­i­mum risk for rel­a­tive novices. As Michael Fish­man told us, we were not going to be ascetics sit­ting in a moun­tain cave devot­ing our entire day to prayers and med­i­ta­tion. It seems to me that Art of Liv­ing is adapt­ing yogic prac­tices to mod­ern life, in which prac­ti­tion­ers have to earn a liv­ing, pick up the kids from soc­cer and clean the house. There­fore, we should not be expected to cut off large chunks of time. But still, it’s cru­cial to have a daily prac­tice so the time does add up and the prac­tice requires ded­i­ca­tion and discipline.

How it works

I have a daily rou­tine of 20-​​minutes pranayama and kriya in the morn­ing so I add another 20 min­utes of med­i­ta­tion is added with a cool-​​down exer­cise. It’s easy to flow from the breath work into med­i­ta­tion. At the end of med­i­ta­tion, you use atlernate-​​nostril breath­ing (Nadi Sod­hana) to ease your­self back into nor­mal life. Art of Liv­ing doc­trine also requires that you med­i­tate another 20 mintues later in the day, at the lat­est before sup­per. Always do your Art of Liv­ing rou­tines on an empty stom­ach. In the evening ses­sion, I usu­ally do a short pranayama exer­cise to shift me into med­i­ta­tion mode.

Most peo­ple think that there must be some­thing com­pli­cated about med­i­tat­ing — there is not. What it does require is dis­ci­pline and a knack for shut­ting off the men­tal bab­ble that passes for think­ing. The dif­fer­ent med­i­ta­tive meth­ods are really ways of turn­ing off the mon­key mind. Insight (or vipas­sana) med­i­ta­tion, for instance, focuses on the breath as an anchor for the prac­tice. When­ever the mind strays, you focus it back on the breath. In Sahaj Samadhi, the anchor is the mantra.

Dur­ing the course, there was lots of hand­hold­ing and patience with the stu­dents, answer­ing score of ques­tions that ranged from the oper­a­tional (“Should I shower before or after my morn­ing prac­tice?”) to ide­o­log­i­cal (“If Sri Sri rec­og­nizes Mahar­ishi Maheshyogi as his mas­ter and prac­ticed Tran­scen­den­tal Med­i­ta­tion, why does he now prac­tice Sahaj Samadhi Med­i­ta­tion?”). Fish­man pro­vided a frame­work for med­i­ta­tion and its inte­gra­tion in our lives. He also dis­cussed why Sahaj Samadhi Med­i­ta­tion works and what med­i­ta­tion is not — it is not hear­ing the voice of God or the prophets; it is not see­ing visions, and it is not pon­der­ing the fate of the world. This tech­nique is not aimed for a swami sit­ting in a cave on a Tibetan moun­tain. For Art of Liv­ing, daily med­i­ta­tion is a kind of spir­i­tual hygiene — like floss­ing your teeth — for reliev­ing stress. At its opti­mum, it’s an encounter with the divine within us.

My appren­tice­ship

I’ve learned a few things that under­score my practice:

  • I put in the time. I med­i­tate on sched­ule and within the alloted time.
  • I keep my expec­ta­tions low.
  • I remain open to what­ever comes.

My biggest dis­cov­ery was that I was really in con­trol of my med­i­ta­tion. No one can tell me if I’m med­i­tat­ing cor­rectly or not. If I want, I can still there and count back­wards from 100. I can day­dream. Only I can calm my mind, move it towards still­ness and turn my gaze inward. Of course, it fre­quently hard to quiet down the mon­key mind, a term used by Bud­dha him­self to describe the mind’s

At the other end of the med­i­ta­tive state from mon­key mind is sleep. The rest­ful, silent con­di­tion of med­i­ta­tion is con­duc­sive to sleep so it’s a kind of stalk­ing prankster, wait­ing for the mind to lose its wake­ful vig­i­lance and slip into slumber.

19 thoughts on “Sahaj Samadhi meditation

  1. Hi every­boddy.
    I find It thoughtawak­en­ing that most of you are lack­ing crit­i­cal ques­tions. Do´nt believe gurus, mas­ters and pro­fets, seek the truth your­self.
    Try look­ing up antro­posofi.
    love Bo.

    1. As Art of Liv­ing par­tic­i­pants, we are not sup­posed to openly dis­cuss our prac­tice with outsiders.

      State­ments like the above, belonge to the past, where the church had monop­oly fo all­most every­thing conectet to the sritual world.

  2. Jai Gurudev!
    What I can say about sahaj samadhi dhyan is-​​ The Biggest Bless­ing. I was quite happy and ful­filled after doing basic and advance courses but I had no idea about Sahaj that it would change the whole spir­i­tual per­cep­tion within me. Giv­ing 20 min. in sahaj drains out all stresses first phys­i­cal and then those lays in the mind. All gets com­pletely van­ished, what remain left is a clear and con­tented ME. I con­sider hav­ing sahaj samadhi dhyan in my life is the great­est bless­ing i could have and prac­tis­ing itself is a great bless­ing every­time. God bless!
    Jai Gurudev!

  3. It’s actu­ally a great and use­ful piece of info. I am happy that you sim­ply shared this help­ful info with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Jai Gurudev,
    How Sahaj Yoga Medi­tion intro­duced in 1970 by Shri Mataji
    Nir­mala devi lead­ing to self real­i­sa­tion dif­fers by what we prac­tise .(sky technique,Sahaj Samadhi Med­i­ta­tion ) . Is it alright to prac­tise both ?

    1. I don’t think any­one can claim own­er­ship of one med­i­ta­tion tech­nique or the other; these spring out of the mind-​​body con­nec­tion. I’ve been told that it’s not wise to jump back and forth between med­i­tat­ing meth­ods impul­sively, but deepen and strengthen the prac­tice of one. On the other hand, a med­i­ta­tive prac­tice also leads one in new directions.

  5. We are start­ing Sahaj Samadhi Med­i­ta­tion /​ Art of Med­i­ta­tion Course in Schaum­burg (sub­ur­ban of Chicago) on Novem­ber 9th – 11th with one of senior teacher from India Swami Pragyapadji.

    Thanks for all information.

  6. Great to have stum­bled upon this arti­cle. I was try­ing to know more about tran­scen­den­tal med­i­ta­tion and sehaj samadhi , and got the clear answers i guess :)

    Guruji never dis­ap­points in answer­ing any question :)

    Jai Guru Dev :)
    Prateek

  7. Jai Gurudev,
    Will doing sud­har­shan kriya , shaj samadhi med­i­ta­tion lead us towards enlight­en­ment ?. Should I learn any advanced med­i­ta­tion tech­nique from the ashram for achiev­ing the same ?. I am a busi­ness man and I have free time which I would like to ded­i­cate com­pletely towards med­i­ta­tion, since I would like to swim in the ecstacy more and more. To be frank I would love to do sahaj samadhi for atleast 1 hour com­pletely. But I think gurudev has told , If some one wants to do Tapas the it means he has lot of ego to be sat­is­fied. But my case is not that I am ego­is­tic that I am able to med­i­tate long but inno­cently I would like to drink the divine more and more. Though I get com­pletly con­tented in the 20 mins med­i­ta­tion itself. i some how get a inner feel that if I pro­long it some more time it may lead me to ulti­mate. I am shame­lessly des­per­ate to dring it. Or why should I be shame full b coz I am Just des­per­ate to become me ?.. pls guide ..I dont know what can you fig­ure out out of my above state­ments, but all of the above is con­nected and this is what run­ning often in my mind ..pls thorow some lights .

    1. Hello, sor­rry for my eng­lish, I speak span­ish but I am doing my best. I took the AoL course part 1 and then I learned Tran­scen­den­tal Med­i­ta­tion. I am not very con­stant with the prac­tises, but with the MT I felt the same of you, that med­i­tat­ing more time that the recomende it would be bet­ter. I think you must med­i­tate as long as you want ( it´s only my opin­ion) . I highly recomend you read “Auto­bi­og­ra­phy of a yogi” by Parama­hansa Yogananda.

  8. I have done three course’s of AOL so far and my expe­ri­ence tell me that I am still seek­ing peace of mind ,and now I am going for sahaj samadhi med­i­ta­tion, I am try­ing to achieve art of let­ting go of myself,apparently I need to give rest to my mind by let­ting my mind go with­out think­ing which is what I am try­ing to achieve by doing these course’s and I am hop­ing that I will get to that point when I have con­trol over my scart­ted mind.

  9. Plan­ning to take the Art of Med­i­ta­tion course soon.

    Me? – did the art of liv­ing course twice and the Art of Silence once. Both were pretty ok expe­ri­ences. Was told how my life will be stress free, blah blah blah. Wasn’t too much into these “liv­ing” tech­niques. I knew how to life my life. But deep down, I knew I could (and have to be) a bet­ter per­son. Did not know exactly how, bit knew that if I con­tin­ued my life as is, I am not going to develop as a per­son. So I thought I should try things to ‘go where I want to be’ before it is too late (I am 27). So gave AOL a try.

    1. Girish,
      You only get out of these courses what you’re will­ing to receive and nur­ture. Sounds like you have a lot of patience, which is essen­tial for grow­ing in the experience.

  10. Sir, I’ve done course of Sahaj Samadhi in Ban­ga­lore, but I am unable to get the desired result. Kindly let me know the cor­rect method to do sahaj samadhi meditation.

    Regards
    Anita

    1. Anita,
      First, con­grat­u­la­tions on tak­ing the course. As to your ques­tion, it all depends on what you have as the “desired result.” In fact, putting myself in the mind of a Sahaj Samadhi instruc­tor, the point would be to have no “goal,” but to find refuge in “noth­ing­ness.” Keep going back to the AoL to prac­tice and ask questions.

      As with any form of med­i­ta­tion or yoga, any “effect” will not come overnight. It is a slow, grad­ual daily process as you become more skilled in hon­ing in on the “sweet spot” of med­i­ta­tion and as the med­i­ta­tive process starts chang­ing you. In your case, it may mean that another med­i­ta­tive style, say vip­sasana or zen, might fit you bet­ter at this point in your practice.

      Please note that I am not qual­i­fied to instruc­tor on the Art of Liv­ing tech­niques. I am just con­sult­ing the “guru within.”

    2. Hi Anita,

      Please let me know the pro­ce­dure to do sahaj samadhi med­i­ta­tion as I live in a town and I can’t learn the course here. Thank u look­ing for­ward for u’r reply…

      Regards,
      Hima

  11. Hav­ing ini­tially started med­i­tat­ing using the TM method and later spend­ing time at a Ther­avadan Bud­dhist Monastery and using the vipas­sana method – which I still use –  I whole-​​heartedly agree with Sri Sri ‘s expla­na­tion of the crux of med­i­ta­tion. It is the only rea­son to med­i­tate – the peace­full­ness and bliss that result can­not be imi­tated by the exter­nal entan­gle­ments that hol­lowly promise so much.

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