Meetings in truth, with the intention to recognize our deepest essential nature, and to live as that truth.
Welcome to Satsang! I invite you to come in just as you are. Please come, and enter as if you have never heard the term Satsang before.
When we come in just as we are, we have a place to start from—a starting point that is real. As we learn to recognize our Self where we are, “just as we are,” this meeting becomes more honest. When we are honest about where we are, that honesty opens up a doorway, because this is the only place that the Universe can meet us.
Satsang is a Sanskrit word, meaning literally, “meeting in truth” or “association with truth.”
True Satsang is developing and strengthening our relationship with the Infinite Reality. It is allowing a possibility to truly align with what is essentially true in us, so that we can see what is not true—our beliefs, opinions and the root causes of our sense of separation from the Infinite Reality.
When we come in just as we are, we are not coming in with the weight of where we have been. We are not bringing in our past teachings, what we have heard before, or even what we have experienced before. We are not coming in expecting Satsang to look a certain way. We are coming in with an open, honest relationship with our self, so that we can open up to an experience and/or a perception that is bigger than our self; that is beyond “our self.”
Now this may be difficult for some people, especially if they have been to a lot of Satsangs, either in person, or if they’ve listened to a lot of teachings on the web. There is nothing wrong with that at all. There are many different teachers and teachings out there. Countless actually. But real Satsang is not based on “teaching” something to a group of people, although it may look like that from the outside. There might be lots and lots of teachings going on. But until we begin to listen with a different part of ourselves, a part that can access the teaching directly and apply it to ourselves in the moment, that teaching is going to remain dry and inaccessible.
There can be a strong tendency for the mind to “understand” teachings in Satsang. This mental understanding can give us a certain sense of satisfaction, because it gives us a feeling of being in control. But if we can’t apply it to our self, by looking at our self, that control is an illusion. Our mind may then create images and scenarios that match its understanding of the teaching. From there, we begin to try and attain the experience that fits those images. But eventually we will hit a dead-end; we will never find the experience that we imagined having. This is an ineffectual attitude to Satsang. Because it is based on mental understanding, the universe will not be able to meet us. There is no open doorway, because our mental understanding has nothing to do with us, nor our relationship with the Infinite Reality.
Now maybe we come in the Satsang door expecting something from the teacher or teaching. Maybe we want some kind of experience. That’s fine, if we can recognize that. But if we come in completely unconscious about our expectations, we are probably going to be disappointed. And once again, because we are not coming from honesty, the universe will not be able to find us, and will not be able to meet us where we are.
If we come in expecting something, but through some small opening in our consciousness we become aware of our expectations; we can look at that for a moment. Maybe we can honestly admit that we’re
looking for something, while avoiding our own self. Ah ha! This is where we begin to meet, where we can begin to have a conversation.
Maybe we have been to many Satsangs, or only a few, but one time we had a big experience—a big opening, and maybe now we are coming in the door looking for another one. Maybe we think we know something because of the big opening we had last time. But the truth is, this isn’t the last time. This is this time. And if we want to continue opening, we might want to come in just as we are. Maybe we could come in not knowing anything at all. That’s where we’re heading anyway.
There is a Zen phrase that says, “Leave our shoes at the door.” It basically means to leave everything we have ever heard, or known, or experienced outside, and come in empty-handed. This way, we are open. And when we are open, we can hear things for the first time. If we hear something resembling what we have heard before, the mind’s tendency is to think, “I know this already.” This is a very common sabotage to our evolution. As soon as the mind thinks it already “knows,” we are closed to the possibility of meeting with the universe. But if we are open and curious about what we are hearing, and listening with our entire being, we may hear something a little differently, and that same “teaching” can come in at a different angle, entering us in a completely new way. Maybe we can forget our shoes for a moment, and in so doing, the universe sneaks in, and we never see it coming.
You see, Satsang is availing ourselves to grace. It is an attitude. Satsang isn’t where we go to get something; it is the opportunity to lose something. What we lose are our ideas—about what we should be, what we should be experiencing, what the teacher should say, what others should say or not say, and what we think we know. Satsang is here to question what you think you know. And if you are not ready for that, if you are not ready to be emptied so that the universe can meet you, you probably won’t have a very satisfying Satsang. You won’t feel satisfied, because your self-created needs haven’t been met.
So Satsang is an attitude. And if we truly want to know the truth of our self, and have an intimate meeting with the universe, we will come just as we are. And listen. Listen with our heart, our body, and leave the rest outside. When we come in like this, the universe begins to speak to us. We learn to listen with a different part of our being, because we are accessing the part that is already connected to the universe—the part of ourselves that is waiting to awaken. It is an entirely different part of our self than the part that expects, and has all of its own opinions. The part that is ready to awaken is going to be different each time, even though it is essentially the same. Because we are always encountering a new part that is ready to awaken, a new facet of the jewel of enlightenment. So if one facet has already awoken, the next facet may awaken in an entirely new way. That is why we must come in completely empty each time, each moment being a brand-new never-before doorway to the Infinite Reality.
It is the teacher’s job to question what you think you know. Now some people may be very invested in what they think they know. I have met many people that are not ready to give that up. They don’t want to come in empty and vulnerable. What I offer from my heart is coming from what is wanting to awaken in them; it informs what I speak about. This is because together, in Satsang, we share the same consciousness. “We” are only an appearance; there is only the oneness of consciousness of what we are. In Satsang, this oneness becomes more obvious, more accessible. And either the ego is in the way, or it is ready to be let go of.
There will be those that come in with “beginners mind.” They come in completely open, clueless. There is an innocence about them that Satsang loves. The universe is very attracted to those with “beginner’s mind.” They are empty of spiritual “shoulds and shouldn’ts.” They have no ideas about the rigid philosophy of Advaita, or non-duality. They don’t know where they should be, or what they should be experiencing. They only have themselves and what they are experiencing, even if it is confusion. And it doesn’t take much to bring them to an open place, where the universe can rush in to meet them. When this happens it’s always so astonishing, because it’s so unexpected. The awakening is pure and unblemished; it is a gift. And if that person is fortunate enough to remain clear about the gift, knowing that it came from their own openness, they can maintain that same attitude. It is the attitude for Satsang, the open devotion to the Infinite Reality that allows us to meet it in such an intimate way. And if we can keep rediscovering this sweet and humble devotion, this pure attitude; then Satsang with the Universe will become our daily lives, informing us every minute of how to express the inexpressible.