Small Steps and Giant Leaps
Last year saw the fortieth anniversary of the moon landing. Looking back on that event might lead us to think about small steps and giant leaps.
Here are three small reflections on the meditative life that have defied the gravity of passing years and remain inspirational to this particular would-be astronaut.
It was many years ago at the Dera, with Professor Bhatnagar expounding on a poem by one of the saints, while Maharaj Charan Singh sat next to him. Professor was explaining that before you sit in meditation you need to make an agreement with your mind.
Meditation is not a time for thinking or for allowing any thoughts in, he said. Put your mind in the left-luggage area. It will be kept safe for you while you are sitting. Your job now is to do simran and only simran.
When you finish sitting, go back to the left-luggage and reclaim your mind again. No harm has come to it, and if you follow this advice you will have enjoyed a holiday from yourself, in Master’s exclusive company.
The image that has stuck in mind is that of a crowded Indian railway station, with somebody carrying a huge bedroll on his head, checking it into the left-baggage area and getting a ticket to reclaim it later.
The leap was this: Meditation is simran time, not thinking time – nor list-making, day-dreaming, worrying or snoozing time.
A second reflection is from the time Maharaj Charan Singh was giving satsang to Westerners in Delhi and Bombay, while the Punjab was off limits because of civil disturbances. At that time there was a pop hit called “Don’t worry, be happy”. Somebody got up and asked the Master if the message of the song was right. He said yes, it was right, because if you don’t worry, you are automatically happy.
Lightbulb moment: Does the Master mean that I don’t have to search for happiness – just stop worrying and happiness will be there anyway? It seems so, and has seemed so ever since.
The image accompanying the message was the beautiful Master on an informal dais, patiently explaining the deepest truths in such simple words, with so much reassurance and lovingkindness.
A third small step may yet become a leap. It was not all that long ago at satsang. This time it was somebody recalling words from Baba Ji, who said: Give up separation.
It is not difficult to visualize him engaging fully with a questioner, taking this dialogue from the particular to the universal.
Does the Master mean that spiritual separation is not a condition we have inherited but a choice we have made?
At some level, have we settled for separation, and do we resist our soul’s longing for reunion? Are we saboteurs of our own hearts?
We can’t simply choose to cease being separate, can we? Don’t know yet. But the question is swishing around the brain.
This is how these small steps seem to work, attracting, then infiltrating the mind, seeping into the corners like water finding its level. One or two may become giant leaps, ideas that motivate one’s whole life and lead to inner action.
Our scientists may have landed somebody on the moon. But perhaps it’s more about the moon in the man than the first man on the moon.