My name is Steve Smith. I live in Columbia, MD, work as an accountant, and am fifty-one years old. I've been a vegetarian since 1980. I consider myself a life-long student of spirituality and meditation, and study with H.H. Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj, an internationally renowned author, meditation teacher, and spiritual leader. For more information about Sant Rajinder Singh and the tradition of Sant Mat, www.sos.org.
About Our Group:
The theme of the group will be meditation in the Sant Mat tradition (customarily translated as The Path of the Masters). I hope to create a space where everyone feels welcome and we enjoy our time together. Thank you to other meetup group coordinators of Baltimore Vegetarian Group, Columbia Insight Meditation Group, and ZenAdventures for letting their members know about us.
I plan to start and end the group with short, 10-15 minutes meditation sittings. Most of the time at Oakland Manor will be a chance to learn more about the teachings with opportunities to ask questions or share with one another as well.
After our meetings, we will have opportunites to get together for dinner or other activities which may be suggested. Love and fellowship are our cornerstones, yet we seek to first nurture ourselves by going within via meditation.
Meetings will generally be held 2nd and 4th Sundays at Hebron House in Ellicott City, Maryland.
PLEASE READ OUR MEETUP PAGE REGULARLY FOR OUR LATEST ANNOUNCEMENTS
A Personal Testimony:
In early 1980, I first found out about yoga when an English Professor handed me a book. I had already been exposed to meditation techniques at home, because my mother and two brothers had practiced alternative methods. I yearned for more in my life, and I wasn't sure where to find it. The theory of yoga and how everything is within us struck a chord. I started to "OM" on my bed in my dormitory room. Naturally, when my folks found out about my search, though they were open-minded, they were also concerned. In truth, so was I. This was years before the internet, and I struggled to gather information about what my spiritual options were. I attended Bible studies on campus, and I also enjoyed reading about Buddhist meditation practices.
After the spring semester, I returned to my folks' home, and my mother handed me a California publication called "Common Ground". I leafed through about 30 pages and came across an interesting ad: "Are you really seeking God? Do you expect to find Him in massages and whirlpools?" Then there was a quote by Darshan Singh about the cry of the soul. I was amused and intrigued. I wrote to California (snail mail - no email in those days) and in return, I received a few handouts and the phone number of someone in Columbia, Maryland who coordinated the local satsang (spiritual meeting). I attended my first satsang, and my life's never been the same since.
I respect other meditation paths, and I enjoy sitting in with other groups. Many people nowadays benefit from various meditation practices. To say that all meditation paths are the same is a different story. Not all fitness programs are the same, not all diets offer the same results, and not all academic institutions offer the same quality of education -- Why should we imagine that all spiritual paths or meditation practices aim towards the same goal or are equal in their ability to conduce towards spiritual awakening and empowerment?
Sant Mat still appeals to me as offering the most comprehensive and hopeful message and the highest possible goal. I've discovered what many others before me have learned: Spiritual development involves many paradoxes. In order to make "quick" progress, we need to learn how to become "still". If we are in a "hurry" to experience inner peace and fulfillment, we need to development "patience".
I'd never trade my good fortune in being led to this path for anything else. It's always felt like a great blessing to be led to a caring, competent spiritual Guide, and the price I've had to pay is commitment and opening my heart. Spirituality is a gift like any other gift of nature. In the Sant Mat tradition, programs are offered for free. In a country like the States, we need to put our suspicions on hold for a few moments and allow this simple thought to sink in. It's not easy to discover ourselves. Many of us arrive at the doorstep of direct spirituality and mysticism after a long and painful journey. When we connect with the love that's already within us, healing naturally occurs.
I've shared a little of my story, because I wanted to highlight how this is a personal experience for each one of us, and there's hope.
Best Wishes to everyone on your own spiritual journeys.