Everyday Satsang

Satsang is a Sanskrit word meaning “association with Truth,” or with “the Self.” In Hindu, Buddhist and other Eastern religious—and spiritual—worlds, this is a very common word that usually means: people coming together to listen to, to be with a spiritual teacher, and with each other, to “attend Satsang.” But to dive deeper into the word, and its meaning, is to see that satsang can happen anywhere, at any moment. Seeing some truth of life, whether a relative truth, related to our own families or lives, or an absolute or universal truth, this capacity to feel truth, to know truth, is perhaps the most important “resource” we can call into lives—for our families, with our loved ones, for our work, for everything.

"There is a source of insight inside of each of us, and inside of each child, that, when tapped, reveals truth that is just right for us, just right for our families and lives."

I was feeling stressed today, and running around the house sort of getting nothing done, but feeling like a lot had to be done! The kids were off school for a mid-week holiday, which, as a working mom, tends to leave me in the lurch—with stuff on my calendar (this article to write!), and a house full of my kids, and their friends needing to be fed and tended to.

My oldest daughter stopped me, looked me in the eye and said, “Mom, breathe!” She said it with the conviction of her own inner “truth.” Obviously, I was losing it a little. And then I looked into her eyes and smiled. I smiled because she was right. I smiled at her growing maturity and wisdom. And I breathed.

In that moment, association with Truth, satsang, meant tending to the deeper wisdom in the moment. Was stressing out going to accomplish anything? Was barking at the kids going to make life easier for me, or for them? Was I lost in thoughts of what needed to be done; and not looking at what actually could be done, or not done, for that matter? Could I stop in satsang, if only for a moment?

Diving more deeply into this word, with its meaning of Self, of “associating with Self,” we recognize the peace, the insight, the silence we experience as our Selves, our deeper Selves—our core. When our minds are quiet.

I have worked for more than 20 years with children, families and communities, helping people to see we each have access to Truth, and of course, to our own Selves! And the mistake I see most for parents, and for all people, is that we turn everywhere in trying to “fix” our problems or help our children—to experts, friends, books, to an absolutely endless catalogue of information on how to and what to—and we forget to turn within.

There is a source of insight inside of each of us, and inside of each child, that, when tapped, reveals truth that is just right for us, just right for our families and lives.

But it takes a calming down, a stopping, a trusting of a silent inner space that is both unknown, and also beautifully familiar. It may take a moment, hour or day of rest—of self-care. It may take even longer, but from a foundation in our own, inner satsang, life (the same life we have always had) shows up as more gentle, more fun, more graceful, more fulfilling, and, in the end, full of Truth … and full of love.

Ami Chen Mills-Naim is an individual and family coach, global speaker, and author of The Spark Inside and State of Mind in the Classroom. She leads public retreats (next retreat in Paonia, CO, July 15-17) and trainings, and a monthly drop-in class at her home base in Santa Cruz, California. “Saturdays for Mind & Spirit" (formerly "Everyday Satsang") through Santa Cruz Yoga. Coming dates are Saturday, May 14, June 11, July 9 & Aug. 13. 1:30-3:30 pm. Fee is $15 to cover facility and Meet Up costs. For the latest updates on this class, including possible venue changes, please join the local Meet Up Group or check Ami's Events page.

"Spiritual Maturity"

I first came across the phrase “spiritual maturity” in a book, I believe, by the (North) American spiritual teacher Adyashanti. It spoke to me because I had been recognizing myself as spiritually “immature,” actually. I was just beginning to see the light, as it were, about how I was personalizing spiritual growth or expansion. For me, “spiritual growth” simply means freedom—freedom from constriction, freedom from fear and freedom to express Love.

But when we seek something for ourselves, as individuals, we are necessarily contracting down into ownership, something gained for the identity or “ego.”

At this time in my life (about six years ago), while I had grown tremendously, I still (subtly, subtly!) thought money, for example, meant something about my “level of consciousness;” I still thought that high spiritual experiences or awakening experiences were something to be sought, and meant something about me, and my growth.

I still sought confirmation from outside teachers about some level of achievement I had in my mind. I still saw “holiness” often times as something either outside of me (in a place or teacher), or something I had yet to totally attain. I still thought one might live in a constant state of bliss—and that this would be ultimate spiritual achievement.

The phrase spiritual maturity, as I stumbled onto it, spoke of something deeper than experiences, something deeper than achievement, deeper than moods that come and go, something deeper than identity itself.

As it often happens, one thing led to another, one book to another, and I was led to the teachers Gangaji, Toni Packer, and John Wheeler (a student of “Sailor Bob,” himself a student of the venerable Nisargadatta Maharaj). Through these vehicles of truth (and others), I began to see that identity was the trap.

My first and highly significant teacher, Sydney Banks, used to say the “whole problem” was ego, or the “image of self importance,” as he put it. I began to see that.

We imagine some kind of spiritual (or material) glory for the individual, or, on the flip side, we imagine the individual as broken, wounded, unworthy or insufficient.

In the process of seeking glory, repair, redemption or punishment for the identity, we completely miss the boundless, current presence of Life itself—expressing itself as us, and within us, as this remarkable world, this universe. All existing here and now.

Amounts of money, popularity, roles, importance, recognition, spiritual experiences, moods and insights, tragedies, dark nights, our personalities and histories … all come and go within this vast energy and impersonal intelligence called Life or Love, or Mind.

When we identify, through Thought, with a self-concept created over time—and which we project into the imagined future, we ostensibly bind and narrow this energy, which cannot actually be bound.

Understanding the “Three Principles” of Mind, Consciousness and Thought, we understand that the very energy of Life has created this “personal” experience of Life, and so even our darkest darknesses have been divine! We have imagined ourselves to be separate from Life … in order to return to Oneness and wholeness again.

To see through identity, to see identity and ego as simply illusions created via Thought, is to understand one’s intrinsic worth and “enlightenment” as pure and simple Beingness—before, within, and after all thoughts.

When one gives up the self, one then enters into--or experiences--what one has actually always been, energy, God, Life, Love.

Sydney Banks once offered the analogy that the spiritual journey was like climbing a giant hedge on a ladder. The higher up you go, the better and bigger the view, and the less fear. Then, he said something quite interesting. He said that once you get to the top of the hedge, you look down and realize there was never any hedge, nor ladder, at all. You are, and have always been That.

The hedge was a thought creation. The climbing both necessary and totally unnecessary! This insight is “spiritual maturity,” as I use the term.

Beginning November 3, I, along with Jen Lucas and Brett Chitty of Three Principles Supermind will be offering a four-part series toward the release of the thought-created identity, and what it thinks it still “needs” …

Registration at least one week in advance (at reduced cost) is encouraged, as reading and audio-visual assignments from a variety of teachers will be recommended prior to our first meeting.

An online forum will serve to support all participants in the series toward our shared freedom, and our oneness in this energy and intelligence called Life. When one stops being “in service” to the self concept, true Service flows through us unimpeded, in whatever form it may take. May life bless life through this series!

Registration information here: http://threeprinciplessupermind.com/products/spiritual-maturity-with-ami-chen.9/

 

 

Look Up!

I walk in beauty

Now

So much! These fine spring days

Always had done
Always had done

Face turned toward the ground

Beauty went unnoticed

This beauty everywhere
This peace in every step

Let's call it spirit
or human spirit
if that suits you, soothes you, better

In the midst of battle
and filth
in refugee camps
and on our city streets
in the wards
at Juvenile Hall
and San Quentin

Like a lamp
that was always there
in the midst of darkness

Light that one

That one is You.

Look up!