Five years ago, while we were visiting Goa, I was drawn to sit in Satsang with the Guru ‘Sam Darshi’. I thought I would just go once, but I ended up visiting a few times. Will, my husband would sit and read in the café nearby, and I would go off for Satsang and to chat with the Guru.
Satsang simply means ‘in company of others sharing the truth’. We sat in the open air, with a canopy over us, and there were 20 or 30 people in attendance. Sam, the Guru, was dressed in white and sat in a white chair with flowers to one side. We took our shoes off, sat on the floor and listened to music – beautiful music that had a beat and was very calming. Some songs were by Deva Premal, others were quite chanty and I loved them.
I was really uncomfortable during my first visit – my back ached, I fidgeted, I was judging the people around me and my mind was in overload.
What was going to happen? Am I going to be changed? Will I feel nirvana? What is nirvana? Will I feel a presence from the Guru?…
I felt quite anxious, yet excited – but by the end of the first session, I also felt quite underwhelmed; I didn’t get a huge feeling of love. The Guru looked at his watch and actually looked quite bored, which irritated me, and I was wondering what this was all about? (He rambled too, which I found boring and irritating.)
I went back and talked it through with Will, as I was disappointed with the whole experience, but at the same time, and rather strangely, I wanted to go again – something was drawing me back. The next day I went back and the same things happened. Will sat in the café and I went off to Satsang.
I was a little more comfortable this time, perhaps because I knew what was going to happen. A larger group of people had gathered and I felt more at ease. I enjoyed listening to the music, but my mind was still active and I was secretly amused that some people were kissing the Guru’s feet… This time he didn’t ramble. He told stories, laughed and chatted about Spirituality. At the end of this session we danced, which I loved even though I felt a little self-conscious, and I enjoyed watching the others let go and become one with the music. The next day I went back again and felt a deep sense of peace. I felt bliss, happiness, a connection to my stillness. I felt love, I couldn’t explain it but I liked feeling this way…
I went back a few more times, loving the opportunity to sit in a safe, sacred space, in good company and although I never actually spoke to anyone else, I listened, observed and soaked it all up. On my last visit, I asked a question to Sam. That question was: ‘How do I feel bliss like this 24/7? It’s easy to feel it here but when I go back to work, it will be hard’. He answered in six words ‘The mind is a powerful thing’. To be honest I was disappointed by his answer at first. It certainly wasn’t an earth-shattering revelation… Another time he told a story about how he ‘took a group of people on a trip and they stopped on the top of a cliff, where they were eating lunch, dancing and having lots of fun. Someone decided to jump off the cliff into the sea, and they all did it (including Sam) bar one person who flatly refused to jump. They were cajoling him, putting pressure on him to jump, and in the end, he did, but he broke his back as he landed on some rocks. Sam went on with the story of how the man got better over several months and how he didn’t grumble but accepted his fate. He didn’t judge anyone or blame anyone for what happened’. This was a ‘wow’ moment; the man took full responsibility for what had happened to him but, at the same time, I thought ‘if he had listened to himself in the first place, he could have avoided all that’.
During my time in Satsang, I learned a couple of things. Firstly, to be my own guru as only we know what’s right for us. At the Satsung, people were worshipping the Swami as if he was a God, and they were giving their power away to him. My belief is that you need to be your own Guru: listen, observe and reflect. Secondly, the Guru was right: the mind is very powerful. We are manifesting our reality every day, so we can tap into the Bliss, Stillness and Love 24/7 if we choose to.
Now, on reflection, when I first went to Satsang, I realise that not only was my mind on full alert, but my Soul was too and my Soul had recognised something at the Satsang that my mind hadn’t – there was an access to Stillness here and my Soul wanted to rest; it wanted my brain to give up and surrender. My Soul wanted to connect the outer parts of me to the deeper part within me; it wanted my mind and the physical part of me to feel what it was like to be connected to Source, Love, the great Unknown, God (whatever you are drawn to call it) and I’m so glad I listened. Every day I’m finding that the more I connect to my Stillness, the more peace I feel; the more I surrender to what’s happening in the moment, the more still I feel; the more still I’m feeling, the more I am connected to Source.