Sonia – Reflection on Skepticism and Shri Mataji

Article by Sonia Holden – Burlington Class (as a tribute to the memory of Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi – the founder of Sahaja Yoga Meditation (March 21 1923 – February 23, 2011)

As I approach the one year anniversary of my very first Sahaja yoga meditation class I have been reflecting upon my journey.

What brought me to the class was my desire for better health and a better me.

I have tried for many years to develop the practice of meditation, but have been unsuccessful. I wanted to return to yoga, but in my current situation I cannot afford the cost involved in taking a meditation class at a yoga studio. I said to my mom one day “If only there were a free class somewhere I would go”. Well, the universe answered.

That very week in the Burlington Post was an ad for the Sahaja yoga Meditation class at Brant Hills.

I do not read the paper often, but my mom does and she saved the ad for me, and when I came in from work that night she said, “I have a present for you” as she handed me the paper “your free yoga meditation class.”

So the next week I attended my first class, and I had asked a friend to join me. We both went to that class in late January and I was able to achieve a level of relaxation that I had not experienced before.

Yet, I had skepticism in my heart. I have been taught to question. While not raised in a very religious home, my mom was a non-practicing Christian, my dad an atheist; I did not come with many “conditionings” that many others have talked about. I was always taught that my beliefs were mine alone to be discovered for myself, that I would learn my own truth. My father taught me never to take things for granted or believe blindly without proof. But, what is proof? For my father it is the tangible evidence that can be seen and touched or analyzed in a laboratory. For my mother it was the knowledge that you get from believing in something and knowing it to be true in your own heart.

As a child I was confused. I looked for truth everywhere, and started to develop a sense of what I knew to be true in the teachings of Yoda and The Doctor. As I grew up I learnt all that I could about religions and their doctrines, I devoured scientific knowledge of how the universe worked, and I sought out the teachings of leaders such as Ghandi, Socrates, the Dalai Lama, Newton and Stephen Hawking. I read the Bible (cover to cover, which I do not recommend) and have read most of the Koran. I studied courses on Theology; read some of the Baghavad Gita and the Vedas. I discovered Gnosticism, and read some of the Books of the Apostles not included in the Bible, including those of Mary Magdalena.  I was on a journey and gaining truths along the way, but it was all not clear to me.

Then after the first class I came home and sat in my bed, I was not tired, I was hungry, not physically hungry, I was ravenous for information.

I opened my laptop and googled Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi (I was impressed that I remembered all of that after one class). I dove in and read, site after site, I read her biography learning about her life and family. I read articles written by her and about her. I read for 4 hours, and at the end I was sobbing. I was crying tears of sadness and joy. Suddenly, everything I had been searching for was before me. I felt as though I knew this woman whom I had never met, but more so, I felt that she knew me. She knew me. She knew me better than I knew and understood myself at that point: Joy! Then the sadness: she was gone. I would never know her. How little I understood on that first night.

As I have continued on this journey of self-realization I am finding the truth I had been seeking. All the teachers I turned to held truth; it was in the learning to understand myself that I can now see the truth in the connectivity of all of their teachings. (Yes even Yoda and The Doctor, have a lot to say about the universal truths).  Conventional religions are mistaken: God is not some being that is without. God is the divinity and the connection within us all. God is the “I am that I am” the eternal spirit that resides within each of us. I was always uncomfortable with that word: “God”, because of the baggage that the word carries with it. It is just a word, probably the easiest one that we can use to describe something that can be so indescribable. I am still learning to accept this word, I carry with me my skepticism with me, but slowly and surely that skepticism is disappearing.


Because in her life and her lessons, she has given us the greatest gift of all: she knows us.

– Sonia Holden – Burlington Class

Shri Mataji - for Sonia Article

Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi (March 21, 1923 – February 23, 2011) – Founder of Sahaja Yoga Meditation

(**thousands of speeches offered all over around the world – freely)

This Post Has 34 Comments

  1. ioana a.

    i have a very strong desire to see and meet many souls like sonia’s. may Mother bless you !

    1. Sonia

      Thank you Iona!

  2. sujata de souza

    Amazing! Thank you for sharing. I really felt like we are connected through this atricle. What an experience.

    1. Sonia

      Thank you for your comment! Jai Sri Mataji!

  3. Igor

    It’s an amazing story, and so true. Thanks for sharing with us

    1. Sonia

      Thank you Igor.


    Deep, sincere and true…You touched our hearts…”and the truth will deliver us” :))) Thank you!

    1. Sonia

      Thank you 🙂

  5. Thava Govender

    May your heartfelt journey spur us on to spread Mother’s Love to all seekers of Truth .Your quest for seeking supersedes your duration in Sahaja Yoga – you affirm : dedication , complete surrender , and personal commitment to empower yourself … You are home within and Heaven is home in Mother’s abode .

    1. Sonia

      Thank you. I do feel I have found my spiritual home and family.

  6. anjali

    Dear sonia, what a refreshing experience on how you discovered sahaja yoga and Shri Mataji…or may be we can say how Sahaja Yoga and Shri Mataji discovered you. One thing most of the sahaja yogis have in common is their own very special journey of how they seeked for the truth and got their self realization through sahaja yoga. And its always so wonderful and joy giving to share the experiences and know tgat

    1. Sonia

      Thank you for your comment. Hope that you are well!

  7. anjali

    That there are answers and there is this very unique and beautiful world of sahajA yoga where ppl unite, love and come together to make this world a peaceful one.
    thanks so much for sharing. So beautiful. Really enjoyed. Lots of love.

  8. Raj

    It’s amazing how much your seeking and ultimately finding is so closely a reflection of my journey and that of a few other Sahajis I’ve come to know and love in this wondrous journey we take within ourselves. Every talk of Shree Mataji’s that I’ve listened to and recognised what I should shed or assimilate into my being has been so satisfying and rewarding to my ascent. Thank you Sonia for sharing your wondrous, joyous journey with your Sahaj family.

    1. Sonia

      Raj, Thank you for the comments. I am still on the journey, and hope to never fall from the path. It is always nice to hear that so many people have had similar experiences.

  9. Veena Scialo

    Thank you so much for sharing. It brings back the special moment of finding Truth and Unconditional Love.

    1. Sonia

      Thank you Veena.

  10. Vivek Raghuram

    There is a very nice story that I came across a long time back. It goes like this:

    When God created Man, He saw that Man wanted to ask all sorts of favors from Him such as wealth, power etc. So God hid Himself under the earth. But Man soon came with all his earth-moving equipment and started digging his way downwards. Seeing that God hid Himself in the depths of the ocean. But soon Man came with his submarines in search of God. Then God hid himself on the moon. Nonetheless, man followed Him with spacecrafts. At that point God was puzzled and didn’t know where to hide. But then He understood and hid Himself in Man’s heart and Man could not find Him.

    That was the original story. But now we can continue.

    Man in his search for God, forgot that he wanted wealth and fame, instead he started searching God just to be one with Him. Then God gave him Self-Realization and Man found God to be closer to him than his own skin. Since then, Man has lived happily ever after.

    🙂 🙂 🙂


    1. Sonia

      I love that story! Thank you for sharing! Such strong vibrations.

  11. Shivangi and Nehit

    Amazing ! So true, ” she has given us the greatest gift of all: she knows us ” and in this lifetime we hope to realize our true self while leading a normal life.
    Thanks for sharing Sonia.

    1. Sonia

      Thank you.

  12. Colleen

    Sonia, thank you for sharing your introduction to Sahaja Yoga, wonderful!! It brought tears to my eyes and gave me vibrations. I would have to say my story is quite similar. Amazing!! 🙂

    1. Sonia

      Thank you Colleen. I have been so blessed to know you, and have your love and support on my journey!

  13. Sam

    Beautiful story Sonia! The vibrations are incredible and so are you. I’ve learned so much from you already in the time that I’ve known you and I love spending time with you- WE love spending time with you, your whole family loves you very much. Never forget that. 😉

    1. Sonia

      Thank you Sam! You are such a wonderful person, and I am so glad that you are part of my family now!

  14. Karen

    Thank you for sharing that wonderful experience Sonia….Shri Mataji brings us all together in our journey… ‘WE ARE ONE’ a family xo

    1. Sonia

      Thank you Karen.

  15. Tara

    Thank you for sharing your story. It looks a bit like mine, just you got it way sooner than I did. And the realization that She knows us. She is there for us. We just have to go inside ourselves. I hope more and more people get inspired to do so themselves.

  16. Anjali

    Sahaja yoga is food for those who are hungry for the truth. I don’t know what I would do without sahaja yoga and all the wonderful people I have met here. So very grateful. There are so many amazing stories of discovery of truth and this story adds to the beautiful collection. Thank you for sharing.

  17. Antoionette Wells

    I got my Self Realization 40 years ago; so was very fortunate to have met Shri Mataji and be around Her also to be part of the beginnings of Sahaja Yoga in Europe and I could somehow identify with your journey dear Sonia! Your story brought me back and it touched my heart! So beautiful! I have many stories about Shri Mataji in my diary that I wrote from 1978 to 1986 and gave stories in the Eternal Recollections of the Early Days. Wishing you a beautiful ongoing journey!

  18. Jolanta

    Sonia’s article reminds me of my experience(s) when I first discovered information about Sahaja Yoga at a public library years ago, especially the scepticism, research and realization that this is the greatest discovery i ever made.

  19. Kartikeya

    I can see that Sonia always had a deep seeking within herself and that seeking came to an end when she found the ultimate source of all!

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