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.
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)