Nothing Ventured …
As struggling disciples on this path, we face the roller coaster of ups and downs in our lives and our emotions. From the heights of excitement and dizziness we feel in the presence of our Master, to the depths of despair and depression that consume us in his separation.
We sit in the darkness of meditation, searching for his Light and love, feeling and knowing that it is there, but unable to reach it due to our own shortcomings. Our wayward mind has imprisoned us in the quagmires of worldly complications, binding us with the trappings of possessions and acquisitions. In the words of Rumi:
Man is a mighty volume; within him all things are written, but veils and darkness do not allow him to read that knowledge within himself. The veils and darkness are the various preoccu-pations and diverse worldly plans and desires of every kind.
A Treasury of Mystic Terms, Vol 5
This generation consumed by worldly materialism has tried in vain to live oblivious to God. The recurrence of spirituality in the world is like a mass confession by humanity, that materialism has failed. Many, seduced by the worldly pleasures and possessions, may have proclaimed: “We are rich, we have everything we want to enjoy;” but have also discovered that like physical beauty, riches are also only skin deep and not enough to satisfy our eternal souls. We are still left destitute and hungry for something more.
To love what is deficient, trapped in time,
Is more than foolishness, it is a crime -
And blasphemous the struggle to evade
That perfect beauty which can never fade.
Farid-ud-Din Attar, The Conference of the Birds
Where do we get the notion that man’s idea of success and God’s are the same? We may win a Nobel Prize, we may become talented artists, we may achieve fame and fortune, but without the gifts of intelligence, imagination, personality and health – which are all endowed by the Lord – where would we be?
Are we not born with nothing? Do we not die with nothing? And would we not be nothing indeed without the Lord’s infinite mercy and love?
Naked and empty-handed you came into this world, and naked and empty-handed you shall leave it.
Maharaj Jagat Singh, The Science of the Soul
We come into this world with nothing; and if we are anything, it is because God is everything. If He were to withhold His grace for one brief instance, if He were to deny us the breath of life for one moment, our physical existence would shrivel into nothingness.
The overriding purpose of the Masters is to impress upon us the need to realize the Truth, the Shabd within. This singular purpose, if pursued with sincerity and unwavering determination, alters our perception and direction in life.
It is not possible to persuade our rebellious mind, through reason alone, to change its ways and thoughts. Daily practice in meditation is the only way to convince the mind that its determined resistance to all things noble has brought it no tangible benefits or happiness. Because of the survival instinct of the mind, it has always acted in its immediate and quick-fix interest. The Masters explain that the mind’s tendency is to react to the events and situations in life, rather than focus on the objective. This is largely why our attention has remained scattered and fragmented.
To develop our spiritual acumen, we need to venture with persistence, even as we sit in the darkness of our meditation … waiting; for nothing ventured is nothing gained. It is no small challenge, but the Master holds us in the embrace of his compassion and consideration. He sustains us even as we cannot visualize his immense love and magnificence.