Still, it is interesting to note that there is something called coherence, where the teacher and the student resonate with one another, and a hearttoheart osmosis happens in which skills and knowledge are transferred. In fact, scientists are now realising that much more is transferred and transmitted heart to heart than they’d previously thought, just as it happens between a mother and her children.
In worldly disciplines, those who excel know that they have to keep learning and moving forward if they are to stay ahead of the game in their profession or skill. The greatest athletes and sports stars have coaches to maintain peak performance; peer review in cutting-edge academic research is a natural part of the process of publication of a book or an article; and the best musicians in the world continue to learn from each other so as to keep improving their skills. Anyone who is really good at what they do wants guidance and feedback. That is the evolutionary approach to learning and to life.
And the further we go in any field, the more important it is to have a guide to help us move forward on the path. This is even more important in the spiritual field, where we are constantly venturing into new, unexplored areas, so the guide is an important person in the life of a spiritual seeker.
What is the significance of having a living guide or guru, and how do we utilise their presence? In the very early days of Heartfulness, in the early twentieth century, there were only around two hundred followers and hardly five or ten of them would be with Lalaji (Ram Chandra, Fatehgarh, the first spiritual master of Shri Ram Chandra Mission) at any given time.
One-to-one interactions were very easy, as in the ancient traditions of gurukula in India and Socratic learning in the West. In ancient times, students lived with their guide for certain periods of time in order to be trained, just as Christ’s disciples lived with him.
But there are now over a million people practising Heartfulness around the world. So how will everyone spend personal time with the Guide? In order to adapt to modern times, the whole Heartfulness system has evolved so that our spiritual progress continues without requiring the actual physical presence of the Guide.
But if you do have an opportunity to visit the Guide or attend a meditation session with hi, something magical happens, as you both sit with eyes closed in meditation. He does thorough Cleaning, prepares you for the spiritual journey, triggers the start of the journey, also prepares the ground ahead for where you are going. So a few things happen in his presence.
This process is optimised and accelerated if you have prepared yourself ahead of time to make the most of the opportunity. And then afterwards, if your craving is of such an order that you can invite his spiritual essence to come to you, then the journey from one level to another starts.
There are so many misunderstandings about the relationship between the Heartfulness Guide and a seeker. Some people think they have to personally be with him for there to be any benefit, but it is better to close your eyes in meditation and wrap him inside your head. Unless you interiorise his spiritual presence in your heart, being with him will be of no use anyway.
The physical presence of a living guide can be of great benefit if you have interiorised his presence and resonate in tune with him. Then you will discover that the external and the internal are the same.
It also helps to have an affectionate relationship with the guide so that love develops. The type of relationship you have depends on your life’s experiences. You may consider him as your grandfather, father, mother, friend or guru. His help is always there. Please try it and see the result.
Invoking his presence is good enough. If you thoughtfully invoke him, asking for help, it will be there.
I can think of so many personal examples of this. There have been many times when there were irreversible situations in my life, when I would think to myself, ‘No, this is a dead end, there is no rescue any more.’ Then, automatically, my attention would move towards my guide.
My heart would start beating faster and, surprisingly, the problems simply disappeared as if a miracle had taken place.
Reprinted with permission by Kamlesh D Patel from Designing Destiny, 2019. www.daaji.org/designing-destiny/ (Kamlesh D Patel is the fourth spiritual Guide in the Sahaj Marg system of Raja Yoga meditation)