From the Rim to the Axis
The central truth of our existence is that we are spirit and that spirit has become entangled in matter.
By the touch of a Master’s hand, smitten with love and longing, we still grope about in darkness and cannot find a way out of mind. Where is that portal within mind that will once again connect us and then reunite us with the Beloved?
Our whole dilemma and our salvation are both simultaneously contained within the image of the spinning wheel: at the rim there is ceaseless movement, the vertigo and nausea of a mind in perpetual motion, while in the axis there is pure stillness.
To slip from the rim to the axis is the key.
We spend most days in the blur and whirl of the spokes, retiring each nightfall cut and lacerated by the spokes of life. Is there a way out of pain? Where is that place of peace?
It lies within.
On this plane action is inevitable, life comes at us from point-blank range. And it is only action itself that can free us from action – the action of daily contemplation or meditation, the way of repetition.
The five words going around and around in the mind define the circumference of that axis within. Simran both creates and sustains the silent centre. When thoughts threaten the inner sanctum our simran deflects them away, so defining and defending that place of peace.
In the equanimity of a motionless mind we are ushered into the presence of the Beloved. We experience the currents of love and bliss emanating from within our very own soul – currents that in time mingle with that supreme current of love and light, the Shabd. Questions of effort and grace now dissolve after years of diligently doing the inner work. The journey from the rim to the axis is also the movement from theory to knowing, from concepts to understanding.
And yet the mind rejects simran. It sees itself as all-powerful and all-knowing. It wants to think its way out of entanglement. It expects a complex formula to solve the complex questions of human existence. How to get this small self out of the way? How to surrender an entity, the mind, that is possessing us? Only simran can neutralize and numb the mind. Only repetition, something so divinely simple as a child counting marbles, can open up that clear and quiet space within the complicated mind.
At our level of consciousness, repetition is surrender.
Analyzing only makes our predicament worse and tightens the stranglehold of mind.
We are told to live in the moment, the now. Yet no human mind can stand a vacuum. Clear a little space and that inner vacuum is soon imploded by thoughts. It is a law of nature. Occasionally when our lives and karmas are in balance, we taste a little of that inner peace we are so thirsting for. Yet it does not last long. How to attain and maintain a connection with spirit despite the ups and downs of life, an invulnerable peace? Daily meditation with firm and concentrated simran is the timeless answer. The circle of repetition protects the space of the now, the eternal present, all that is.
Yet, it is a sad fact that when the world consumes us and we lose our balance, our meditation is often the first to suffer, so converting our little bumps and knocks into true drama. Only by giving regular and consistent time to meditation can we retain inner peace and perspective. To lose a little money or your health is irritating, to lose your centre is devastating. To go through suffering while connected to the presence of the inner Master dissolves the very notion of suffering. We are to cling to simran as a drowning man clings to a life-ring.
When the going gets tough, the tough get meditating.
We are to win our freedom amid the madness and motion of life. Anyone can be still, calm and loving when everything is going right. A serenity not attained amid turbulence is not serenity at all, it is circumstance. Simran takes us to the silent axis amid the spinning wheel of karma, our inevitable reaping and sowing. We are to trust its simplicity to once more reunite us with the simple One.
A wheel has thirty spokes; but its use
depends on its centre of emptiness.
Clay is made into vessels; but the use of the vessel
is in its emptiness.
A house has doors and windows; and their use
lies in their emptiness.
So it is that there is the use of what is,
and the use of what is not.
Tao Te Ching