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The Writings of Ivor Browne

Steps Along the Road: The Evolution of a Slow Learner
Ivor Browne
Cork University Press


Although it is not the main purpose of our spiritual practice, what I have found, to my surprise, is that, as my heart has been opening up spiritually, my practice of psychotherapy has been trans­formed. I find that I often experience and understand things in the very first interview with a client which would have taken weeks or months to achieve formerly. The more the ego is cleared out, the more sensitive one becomes and the more available one is to be of service to the person one is dealing with. I now see psychotherapy more and more as rough work to remove gross impressions. This prepares the way for more subtle cleaning and for further spiritual development. Of course, not everyone is willing to continue further on this path, and that is their right. However, it remains true that the only real deep change is when this further step is undertaken.

To open this third level or the 'spiritual' heart is the main task of spirituality. To unravel and clear away these coverings around one's heart means hard work and inevitably involves pain and suffering. Sahaj Marg is a system of practical training in spirituality. It is in essence the well-known Raja Yoga (yoga of the mind) but has been remodelled and simplified to suit the needs of modern life. Its goal is inner perfection - God realization. As our present Master, Chariji, has put it: 'God is infinite, yet simple and therefore the way to reach Him must be as simple. By proper regulation of the mind through meditation, under the practical guidance and support of a spiritual master, one can evolve to the highest.'

Babuji Maharaj has clarified what he means by this 'regulation' of the mind:

"In order to control our thoughts and actions we have to look to the proper working of the mind which is never at rest even for a moment. I have often heard religious teachers railing at it in bitterest terms, ascribing all bad names to it and proclaiming it to be our worst enemy. The reason is quite plain. They think it to be the cause of all evil within us, and consequently they advise people to crush it and not to follow its biddings ... I, no doubt, agree with those who say that every evil has its origin in the mind ... at the same time I may remind them that it is the very same mind that leads us to virtue and also helps us to realize our highest self. So it is not every evil alone that proceeds from the mind but also every good . . . What is actually required is not the crushing or the killing of the mind but merely its proper training."