A Real Positive Attitude
Having a positive attitude is a fundamental aspect of the spiritual life. Entertaining good thoughts, staying optimistic in the midst of adversity, and steering clear from negative influences complement the teachings of Sant Mat and are an indispensable aid towards achieving our spiritual goal. In theory, it is the perfect plan. But from a practical perspective, how does one stay positive in a world that is constantly bombarding us with negativity?
Be Positive. This counsel is offered to us all the time. And it is a welcome reminder, especially when one is embroiled in the karmic retribution of everyday life. With a little introspection, we can look at the bigger picture, come to terms with our situation and perhaps, feel a little bit better about our circumstances – at least, for the moment.
As disciples on a path of love, there is a part of us that can accept in a second that everything is good; that everything happens for a reason and is ultimately beneficial. But to be able to apply this understanding intuitively, all the time, while being buffeted by waves of excruciating karma, is not easy – unless one has a real positive attitude.
A real positive attitude is a natural viewpoint that is based on a wisdom that comes from within. It is an insight born of a clear understanding of who we are, what is the purpose of our existence and what this life is all about. Our spiritual life plays a big part in the development and application of this understanding.
In Spiritual Gems, Maharaj Sawan Singh explains that there are two ways of looking at this creation. From the top, looking down – the Creator’s point of view; and from the bottom, looking up – man’s point of view.
From the top, it looks as though the Creator is all in all. He is the only doer and the individual seems like a puppet tossed right and left by the puppeteer. It is his play and there is no question. Looking from below, or the individual’s viewpoint, one comes across variety as opposed to oneness. Everybody appears to be working with a will. The individual thinks he is the doer and thereby becomes responsible for his actions and their consequences.
The mystics explain that both viewpoints are correct; the difference lies in the angle of vision. From an individual perspective, we all look out at the world through an inner lens called the mind. Clouded by karma, attachments and impressions from our previous lives, our view is hazy and has a limited span.
Sant Mat teaches us that as the mind is purified and elevated to the eye focus by concentration, little by little it develops a healthier perception and, consequently, a clearer understanding. And, as the individual continues to make further progress still, the inner consciousness rises and one is able to appreciate a divine purpose in all things. It is clear, therefore, that the depth of one’s insight is largely dependent upon one’s level of spiritual understanding.
The individual, clothed in coarse material form, sees only the external material forms. His sight does not go deeper than that. The same individual from Daswan Dwar will see the spirit current working everywhere.
Maharaj Sawan Singh, Spiritual Gems
The path of Sant Mat is a journey to the highest perspective; to the single, most positive power in the universe – the One that supports and sustains the entire creation, the Shabd. The mystics assure us that every soul is a drop of this ocean of love, making us, by default, positive in nature. The only thing pending is our realization of this vital fact.
Thus, the perfect Masters implore their disciples to lead a way of life conducive to this awakening. Attending satsang, doing seva, reading spiritual books and remembering to do simran when the mind is free are all positive influences that assist us. They confine us within the orbit of purity and goodness and shield us from negative influences.
But most important this uplifting way of life cultivates in the disciple a humble need, the need to beg the Lord for forgiveness in the only way that invokes His limitless grace – meditation. It is in that inner sanctum of sweet solitude that the divine energy of the Shabd washes away the impurities of the mind, creating the impetus for a deep and profound level of understanding.
Ultimately, it is this precious understanding that becomes the basis for a real and enduring positive attitude. It helps the disciple accept his fate and go through his destiny with strength and confidence, without losing his balance. It is the inevitable outcome of diligent and loving discipleship – the beloved Father’s gift of grace to an obedient child for his untiring faith and steadfast devotion.
Attitude is more important than circumstances, failures or successes; than money or poverty, illness or health. If we have a positive attitude, we will make the best out of even the worst conditions. If we have a negative attitude, we will be miserable even in the best of circumstances.
A Spiritual Primer