During a recent conversation with an acquaintance, he made an interesting and inspiring point. “You are so fortunate,” he said, “that during uncertain times, you have a spiritual Master and follow a spiritual path.” He further continued, “It must make life more bearable, and help one live in a balanced manner I suppose, using spirituality as a filter in dealing with negative events.” He was certainly right in all respects, most especially during last year’s precarious times, where corporate bankruptcies, defaults, fraudulent business practices and massive lay-offs had reached record proportions. The global economic picture seemed alarmingly bleak and unpromising.
We have to be grateful to the Master for exposing us to the laws of creation and the teachings of Sant Mat. By applying our understanding of the inescapable law of cause and effect, we understand that whatever it is we are going through in this lifetime is either a result of our past actions, or is something we will have to account for sooner or later. And so the mystics always guide us to not react negatively to our circumstances. They encourage us to resolve our problems in the best possible way with the resources available to us and, ultimately, leave the results in the Lord’s hands. We are advised to foster an attitude of positivity, detachment and acceptance, and utilize this attitude to see us through difficult times.
For your part make all necessary efforts to improve your circumstances; but leave the results of your efforts to the Satguru’s will. He is not unaware of your problems.
Maharaj Jagat Singh, In the Footsteps of the Master
During a satsang session when the global economic crunch had just started to make its presence felt, the Master encouragingly reminded us that these dark clouds were unfortunately there for everyone, but that they would eventually pass. In the meantime, he emphasized that we should be strong, uphold our values and never lose sight of our spiritual goal. He further reminded us that we should never consider any gain at the cost of someone else’s pain, for that gain rarely ever lasts or flourishes. During the question and answer session that followed, he was very clear about what ethical course of action one needed to take when faced with difficult choices, always giving priority to spiritual values, and keeping in mind the repercussions of any action undertaken.
A life built on another living creature’s suffering, whether human or animal, can never be a source of long-term happiness, just as a life built on a lie cannot lead to the truth.
But the fact remains that we are often faced with numerous temptations that lure us to compromise our principles. And once we make anything in the outside world our priority, we can easily be tempted to ignore our scruples. The more we are preoccupied with the material world, the more we weaken our spiritual perspective. Frail humans that we are, it is all too easy to be seduced by life at the surface, and look to the material world for our well-being, sense of comfort, security, and last but not least, happiness.
By the very nature of this creation that we are residents of, mystics remind us that uncertainties and difficulties will always be there. If we seek a permanent solution, the only way out is by not returning to this cycle of birth and death.
There are two practical steps that we can undertake: First, we can focus on living honest and pure lives in order to prevent our karmic debt from increasing. And second, we can diligently build on our meditation, in order to tame the mind and re-direct it from its obsession with the material creation.
Without a doubt, it takes a lot of courage to actually walk the spiritual path and stay on track. Essentially, however, our task is to continually and seamlessly bring our lives in total harmony with our spiritual goal. This process of transforming ourselves spiritually will be a lifelong and steady evolution towards our ultimate goal.
Our hope in difficult times is not based on positive thinking, wishful thinking or natural optimism. It is a certainty based on the truths that God is in complete control of our universe and He loves us.
Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life