The sun was shining the day Mooji came to town. Having already signed up for his silent retreat here in the Netherlands (which begins tomorrow), the announcement that he would be giving two Satsangs last Saturday in my home town, was another opportunity not to be missed. I eagerly bought tickets for both sessions, reasoning that even if they were the same, it was worth every minute because he is someone whose wisdom is so inviting. And he was only a sunny bike ride away.
My only slight unease was whether it would just be the same as watching one of his many videos online. At the other end of the spectrum was the sense that simply being in the presence of a spiritual master can be enough. As it turned out, the experience was much closer to the latter.
The Philharmonie theatre was packed. One thousand people, all of whom had gathered to hear the gentle man speak. His deep voice, with its Jamaican lilt, is enough to soothe every anxious mind. The content of his message is familiar and repetitive, but also weirdly out of reach. The subject of self-inquiry is bewilderingly simple, and although there are times when you may feel a shift, it is so often momentary and ephemeral. As soon as it’s felt, it’s gone, and you are left wondering whether it could ever be permanent.
Fortunately, there is a loving but forceful persistence about the man, as he necessarily brings you back to the same point again and again. There is a lightness and playfulness about him, too, allowing fundamental truths to be communicated in a relaxed way, over a soundtrack of laughter. With his very being he creates the conditions for the heart to open. And when his message his received in that way – by the heart rather than the mind – the effect is transformative.
That, at least, is how I explain it to myself because something certainly happened during those sessions. It had something to do with the thousand other people who had gathered to hear him speak, united in their silence, contemplation and readiness. It also had something to do with my keenness to get as much from the experience as possible, not to mention the foundation of my own development over many years. And, of course, there was him.
His presence drew my focus, and not once did I get lost in his explanations or instructions. I understood everything he said. His words were a validation of the work I have done on myself, and a signpost for where to go next. It brought tears to my eyes to connect so clearly and unequivocally with his message. I was also moved by the gratitude of those who spoke into the microphones during the afternoon session – others who have been touched by the clarity and the freedom, and wished only to say ‘Thank you’.
There were a few things he said which helped crystallise things for me:
The Invitation to Freedom is a simple method for experiencing the true self. I have listened to it before, but it did not have the same effect as it did on Saturday. This time it felt easier to drop the past, the future, even the present, and be in the infinity which lies beyond. Thereafter, his simple instruction to go the the place where everything is perceived, becomes an instant connection to that limitless place, free of all distractions.
‘Simply be with what you have heard and experienced. Marinate in it. Rest in it. Be it.’ As we dispersed for lunch at the end of the first Satsang, he explained that we should refrain from talking about it. Talking just invites the mind back in. It made me think of the forthcoming silent retreat. The prospect of being able to do that for five days seemed like such a gift.
‘Every time you are in that place of presence, awareness, is-ness, it will draw you more and more into it, without any effort.’ This encourages practice because you have the feeling that you are not alone in your endeavour, and that every step – no matter how small – gets you closer to that bend in the curve, where it all gets a little easier.
‘When you are curious, you learn. When you are desperate, you discover.’ It can be difficult to keep going when you think you have reached your limit(s). But if you have a determination to discover, you will find that your limits are not where you think they are. Every effort makes a difference, and eventually you will realise that you have always been where you are seeking to be. At the very end, to highlight that final point, he quoted Rumi:
Knocking on the door, it opens.
I have been knocking from the inside.
I have since gone back to a book of his I read earlier this year, and I continue to listen to his podcasts and watch his videos. What I notice is that everything makes more sense now, and there is a clarity which was not there before. It reminds me of my training and how, after a certain period with Karaj, his words began to make intuitive sense. I am there again, this time with the words of another master who has crossed my path, and whose influence lingers and longs to be heard.