You know the old question: Why do you always find the thing you are looking for in the last place you look for it? Obviously, because you stop looking when you find it.
As satsangis many of us, perhaps most of us, are still looking for that certain something which still seems to be missing. If we were able to meditate successfully and go inside and converse with the Guru, we would not need to keep searching.
That same force that drew us to this path in the first place is no doubt the same one that is urging us to keep up the search. That force is, of course, the hunger of the soul – the spark of the Divine inside us that is nagging for release from its entrapment here. Somehow most of us have come to realize that we are in the wrong place. And we have also realized that we are entirely responsible for our plight. We must help therefore by taking some responsibility for getting out of here.
What is this path that we follow? This path is a way of living the rest of our lives. We have to do that by paying attention to what we do with our lives from moment to moment.
We have to take responsibility for the results if we don’t take our lifestyle seriously every single moment. Each one of us is personally responsible for every thought, word and deed. There is nobody else we can blame and there are no grey areas.
This way of life is simple in its principles but much more difficult to practise. It is governed by four principles. Firstly we promise our Master not to eat meat, fish or eggs. In this modern world this is easier said than done. There are so many processed foods and so many foodstuffs and meals prepared by industry and other people that we require extreme vigilance not to break this promise of ours. We have to check all labels and ask lots of questions or, as an alternative, avoid that product.
Just a small example: You have been out with friends at a restaurant for a good meal (vegetarian, of course) and your host has settled the bill with the waiter. He passes you a soft peppermint which came with the bill. You unthinkingly pop it in your mouth and head for the door. Sadly you now have to pay the price of eating animal products in the form of gelatine in the sweet. You neglected to examine the wrapper.
It is precisely the same with our second promise of a life without alcohol or drugs. Don’t think that the occasional glass of wine is harmless. We have been told that, as initiates on this path, we will reap the consequences of wrong decisions in extra measure compared to our fellow man, because we should know better.
Still on the rules for this path, the third promise we made was to live a moral and upright life. This is really a subject of great difficulty and fraught with disagreement. It is indeed a minefield with little hope of getting across without some form of injury.
How should we be dealing with our fellow man in our day-to-day lives?
In The Book of Mirdad the Master tells the Companions:
So think as if your every thought were to be etched in fire upon the sky for all and everything to see. For so, in truth, it is.
So speak as if the world entire were but a single ear intent on hearing what you say. And so, in truth, it is.
So do as if your every deed were to recoil upon your heads. And so, in truth, it does.
In other words, think, speak and do responsibly, because the consequences are your responsibility.
Maharaj Jagat Singh gave this warning:
Never speak ill of others. It is a great sin … A wound inflicted on the body with a sharp weapon heals up in time, but not so the wound that the tongue inflicts on the heart of a man. Beware of hurting the feelings of any living being.
The Science of the Soul
Perhaps a good maxim here would be to watch everything that goes either in or out of our mouths. We can reflect on the message given to us by Baba Ji, when he says we have learned how to “do” but forgotten how to “be”. We all rush around, meeting deadlines and chasing our own tails. We would be better off prioritizing our actions and slowing down. Our ability to live a moral and upright life would be greatly enhanced.
We now come to the most difficult part of this path: to do at least two and a half hours of meditation per day for the rest of our lives. The whole purpose of sitting quietly and doing simran is to get to the eye-centre.
In Living Meditation we’re told:
We struggle in meditation because our attention is not concentrated in simran; it is thinking about the world. From the moment we were born, the mind has come out of the eye focus and has been working outside. The outward tendency of the mind has become a deep-rooted habit. We have to struggle to reverse this process if we are to concentrate our attention at the eye centre.
We know that our ultimate goal is God-realization. But our first goal has to be reaching the eye-centre – making our mind motionless and collecting our scattered attention at the eye-centre. We read further in Living Meditation:
The fact that it is a more humble goal than the ultimate goal of God-realization doesn’t make it less necessary or any easier. To achieve it we will need to concentrate all our attention, love, devotion, energy, intelligence, skill and effort on the task. To reduce and still our thought-waves by means of simran at the eye-centre – this has to become our main concern and challenge in life.
Sadly, here too there are no grey areas. There are no compromises. The responsibility rests with us. If we don’t sit for meditation we will stagnate on this path. We talk glibly about the soul and God and going home. We bandy about terms like “self-realization” and “God-realization”. What do we think we are doing? Aren’t we just fooling ourselves?
We have been born into this creation again and again because of the law of karma. Kal was instructed at the outset to keep souls in the lower realms of creation. No problem. Enter the universal law of cause and effect. Karma is born! It’s so easy – make the individual soul responsible for every action. The system then becomes self-perpetuating, with no hope of escape unless some intervention takes place.
Whatever we do, whether good or bad, has to be paid off. Unfortunately, we have kept creating more karmas than can be handled in a lifetime. We now have a situation where each soul is accumulating karmas at such a rate that they need to be stored in an account which has to be paid in full before the soul can be released from this prison. Sometimes the chains are gold and sometimes the chains are lead. But they all shackle us to our karmas.
Each time the soul is born it is allocated a set of karmas from the vast store in the account. These constitute the destiny of this life. They have to be lived in order for them to be eradicated from the stored account.
This is where responsibility comes in: We created these karmas and only we can erase them. It’s no good trying to blame anyone else for our predicament. The Guru has told us quite emphatically that he takes over the administration of our karmas at the time we are initiated. He has also said that he will not remove our current karmas, but that he will give us the help we need to endure them.
Of course, merely by living we have to interact with the world around us and are therefore performing actions. As we know, that leads to the creation of fresh karmas that will be added to our account. Our responsibility in this regard is to tread lightly and be mindful of our thoughts and actions.
Okay, a lot of words and theories so far. Practically we need to realize that we have to take the responsibility of making the necessary changes to get out of here. We have to follow the Guru’s instructions and in particular we have to meditate as we promised.
We are totally responsible for either success or failure. So, let’s go for it – and enjoy our meditation!