Building Heavenly Habits
Our main purpose of living in this world should be God-realization.
Maharaj Charan Singh, The Master Answers
While we don’t really know what the words God-realization mean, a spark of yearning responds to the idea that one day, with the grace of the Master, we will become self-realized and then God-realized. One day we will be more than the struggling souls we know we are, more than simply good-hearted people trying somewhat awkwardly to lead devoted lives; we will become completely focused, completely compassionate, completely immersed in God’s will.
But, Oh, my Lord, cries the soul, what to do with this monkey mind, prattling tongue and unbounded desires until that one day arrives? How do we shape our lives, which are here and now, and suffuse them with love and discipline?
One way to shape such a life is to begin with the end in mind and build habits which support our long-term goals. As we become more conscious, conscious on a moment-to-moment basis, of what we really want from this human birth, we begin to cultivate ways that support that ultimate desire. We begin to put into practice those words we hear so often from Baba Ji about being positive and natural and non-judgmental; we begin to catch Sant Mat in the way Maharaj Charan Singh often spoke of when he told us that Sant Mat is not taught, but caught. As we catch the teachings and then practise what we have caught we climb the ladder to our Master’s arms.
In the practice of these teachings, we are constantly reminded of the adage, “When you pick up one end of the stick, you pick up the other.” Everything we do has consequences, and we can seldom, if ever, accurately predict what those consequences will be. We are compelled by self-interest and, with his grace, by a deep moral sensibility to do what is right and leave the results in his hands.
Ay, there’s the rub: How do we know what is right? We have been told that all actions which lead us to the Lord are good and all actions which lead us away from the Lord are not. How do we bring this advice into our everyday lives? What practical tools can we use to determine what leads us toward or away from the Lord?
Perhaps the ultimate measuring tool for a satsangi is simran. We might ask ourselves: Are our actions, attitudes and conversations contributing to our ability to do simran? Or do we find ourselves falling into physical, mental or emotional patterns that spin us away from the solid core of an inner life bounded by the five holy names? We can perhaps benefit from some time spent in contemplation of our interior lives. Are we holding a grudge against a co-worker? Doing simran and nursing such a grudge at the same time is a pretty precarious ledge to be standing on. Are we addicted to TV, or food, or exercise, or analysis or (fill in the blank)? We cannot crowd these addictions into the eye centre.
And we don’t want to crowd them in. We want freedom, we want Guru, we want God. The beginning steps that will lead us to the end goal involve cultivating day-to-day habits that form the person we want to become. We must take the initiative to act boldly in our own lives, to be the beautiful people we are capable of being, to use the would-be worries of daily life to forge stronger links to the Master. Embedded in the habits of everyday living is spiritual gold; let us mine this gold with growing joy as we approach what Sant Mat is meant for – God-realization.