According to Gurmat, suffering arises through the misidentification of the ego-complex and its attachments, yet the cure also lies with the ego-complex.
Haumai (ego-complex) is the cause of one’s suffering; yet required for its cure. (SGGSJ 466).
Gurmat recognises the current age, as the age of ignorance; ignorance of one true essential nature, purpose and meaning in life. This age is dominated by a "consensual collective trance" craving "I" gratification, and in its ignorance using cruelty and injustice to meet its objectives, gradually becoming isolated and separated from Existence and own true self.
However, Gurmat also provides a solution through Symran or Mindfulness of Naam (Presence), which gives rise to Gyan (wisdom-insight), enabling inner-transformation (Isnaan). The practical process prescribed within Gurmat is Naam, dhyan, gyan and Isnaan. Dhyan is another Sanskrit word for mindfulness, or cultivation of awareness, normally of breath or sound (mantra) as Symran.
Symran (Sym-recall, maran-death) is also the remembrance and acceptance of one’s mortality. This is yet another key to healing, shifting ones intrinsic goals, engendering humility, change of priorities, experience of present moment, intimacy in relationships, innate sense of gratitude, acceptance and openness or optimism. (SGGSJ 581-582) Simran (skt. Smrti or mindfulness) is also translated as sim (mindful) + maran (death).
Anxieties and fear generated by this encounter with mortality is addressed internally through meditation on Naam (Naam Simran or mindfulness on Naam) and externally through engaging in ethical selfless service (seva) towards existence (SGGSJ 176).
Compassion depends on being able to recognise something about the other in ourselves but is only possible through once one is content. Contentment is cultivated through Symran firstly as Present moment awareness, which through commitment and practice brings about Presence in present moment by moment unfolding of experience. While the inevitability of death enables one to see something about their self within all, giving rise to compassion for oneself and compassion for others. (SGGSJ 3, 350)
The Presence moment awareness brought about the Symran erases the anxieties around mortality as the recognition of the indefinable all pervasive Presence is experienced as non-dual Oneness, without separation yet acutely aware of the continuous cyclic birth, preservation, death and rebirth in all aspects of existence, from ones breath to the Universe itself.
Both suffering (dukha) and non-suffering (sukha) are seen as two sides of the same coin and even described as two garments wore by human beings. (SGGSJ 149). Therefore, the self-realised (Gurmukh) encounters both pain and pleasure alike, inevitable yet transient. (SGGSJ 57)
The process of healing involves the holistic approach to the realisation of the spiritual self. This process involves consciousness experiencing five realms. Ethical living and righteousness or Dharam Khand; Gyan khand (realm of wisdom), Saram khand (effort); Karam khand (grace or synchronicity) and Sach khand (Truth or authentic nature). (SGGSJ 7-8).
Dharam khand is the external sphere, while wisdom, effort and grace are regarded as the tri-dimensional inner sphere as consciousness progress through the tri-dimensional spheres, ones True Nature or original face is realised.
Contentment and compassion are considered as two essential qualities towards self-realisation and both self and non-self healing. (SGGSJ 3, Maskeen 1990)
Contentment is achieved through the control of flow of sensory stimuli through dhyan sadhana (general term for meditation).
Gyan sphere requires the person to engage in spiritual dialogue, (Gurbani vichaar) in order to understand the nature of the human condition. Essential to the process of healing and self-realisation, is the company or community one engages in. Gurmat lays great emphasis to seek out Sadh Sangat (community of those seeking self-realisation) and discourages Kasangat, (community of those engrossed in semi-consciousness or maya) (SGGSJ 42).
Sangat (collective of those on the path of self-realisation) provides one with the support, enabling to get a better understanding of one condition and redirects the motivation to make an effort (saram) towards constructively change their life situation. Within the realm of effort, the person puts scriptural and intuitive knowledge into practice. Selfless or egolessness service or sewa help in cultivating new behavioural patterns and also combat the ego-complexes self-centeredness.
Sehaj, inner harmony (skt. Natural state of Being)
Sehaj can be described as an inner balance or harmony devoid of distraction from emotional or mental content, abiding in ones unchanging True nature. The practice of Naam Simran combined with Seva leads to this inner state of balance, of knowing and being.
Knowing and Being are intimately linked. Awareness of certain epistemological truths can only be available in certain epistemological states. Calmness to cognise emptiness (sunn samadh), ultimately these two are one, by Being is to know and being is, intrinsically, aware of being.
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