The population of the world is approaching seven billion people. If a survey could be undertaken, we would probably find that there are seven billion different perspectives on life on this planet. Every person views life through numerous filters: our upbringing, the environment we live in, our education, our social status, our financial situation and the traditions and customs of our country. There are countless factors that influence our outlook on life.
Let’s take an extreme example. A rich man living in a mansion, with all the trappings that go with an affluent lifestyle would have a totally different outlook on life than a beggar who doesn’t know where his next meal is coming from. A soldier who has seen the horrors of war would have a different outlook compared to an office worker.
We perceive the world through the five senses. What we see, feel, touch, smell and hear is received by the sense organs. That data is captured by the brain, processed, analyzed and evaluated, and then we formulate our finding or opinion. But because of our limitations, whatever opinion we come up with is likely to be flawed.
Then the mystics tell us that there are numerous realms of existence and consciousness much higher than the human level. So how do we raise our consciousness to penetrate these higher realms of existence?
Even with our limitations, mankind has made many wonderful advances in the medical, scientific and engineering fields. A hundred years ago it would have been inconceivable that you could talk into a small instrument and communicate with someone on the other side of the world.
What would we regard as mankind’s greatest achievement so far? One achievement stands out: landing a man on the moon. But is it really such an outstanding achievement? It depends on your perspective. Mankind thought it was marvellous. But how would an alien from another planet view it? He would probably say: “My, but you earthlings are really backward! We can travel from galaxy to galaxy any time we want to.”
When we look at our position in the cosmos, we see that we are as insignificant as a grain of sand. So putting this event in its proper context, landing a man on the moon could be about as important as an ant crossing the road.
On this physical plane with its myriad life forms, man alone has the potential to access higher levels of consciousness for the purpose of self-realization and God-realization. And if we do not avail ourselves of this opportunity, this human birth has been wasted.
If we look at our lives, what are we striving for? The saints tell us that our souls are hungering to return to our source – to return to God. But because we don’t know that we are actually seeking God, we look for substitutes: in worldly attractions, relationships, people and objects. But these substitutes never seem to satisfy us. The novelty soon wears off and we are left with our longing. There is a persistent desire for something more lasting.
What’s more, it’s virtually impossible for ordinary mortals to understand God and how he operates. Over the past decade we have seen untold suffering in many parts of the earth. As a result of wars and other conflicts, many people have had to leave their homeland to live in refugee camps in the most appalling conditions. We have had tsunamis, floods, earthquakes and ongoing wars, and hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost. Wives have been widowed and children have been orphaned. Many people have had their entire livelihood wiped out in seconds. Seeing all these events might make us ask: How can God allow this?
We tend to judge God by the events on this earth plane alone, without considering the bigger picture. So let’s put this into perspective. Let’s look at the situation from a practical and realistic point of view.
At our level of consciousness it is impossible to understand the reasons for the misery that is prevalent on earth. It can only be understood in the context of the soul, which is deathless, timeless and limitless. When we experience a paradigm shift to a higher level of consciousness, a higher level of understanding, then we will realize that there is a divine plan – that the Creator knows what He is doing; that everything is unfolding perfectly according to the divine cosmic dance.
Let’s digress for a moment and talk about ants. If an ant had to understand how human beings lived and behaved, it would somehow have to raise its consciousness to the level of man. For the ant to do that would involve a quantum leap, for there is no mechanism whereby an ant can reach that level of consciousness.
Similarly, there is a massive difference between human consciousness and the level of consciousness necessary for self-realization and God-realization. But we do have the potential to attain that consciousness. How can we do that?
When we received the gift of initiation we made a commitment. We agreed to begin our spiritual life in earnest. We agreed to change our lifestyle and behaviour. Initiation calls for a complete transformation of our thoughts, words and deeds.
In Sant Mat our code of conduct must be based on the first three vows we took at the time of initiation, which provide a foundation for our meditation. Maharaj Charan Singh tells us in Spiritual Discourses, Volume 1, “There is a secret concerning seeing God in meditation: If you keep your heart pure, you will see God.” So what level of purity is required before we can see God?
In 1993 the Hubble space telescope went into orbit – the most powerful astronomical observatory ever built. Its task was to transmit photographs of outer space back to earth. A problem soon became apparent: the transmitted photographs were blurry. The eight-foot mirror inside the telescope was unable to focus precisely enough because the outer edge of the mirror had been ground too flat by one-fiftieth of the width of a human hair. Similarly, for us to have visions of the inner realms, the mirror of our consciousness must be exactly ground. There can be no flaws. And there must be perfect concentration. By means of concentration we have the ability to access the astral and higher spiritual regions. Our task is to concentrate our attention at the third eye. We can do this under the guidance of a perfect Master.
When we are given initiation we are given a method of meditation whereby we can enter a higher level of consciousness, to make contact with the Shabd, the audible life stream. That will take us back home. The Masters give us specific details about what the inner journey entails. First we have to get to the eye focus. That is achieved by concentrated, ceaseless simran. This will bring us into contact with the Shabd, the stream of divine power that will draw the soul upwards until it reaches the end of its journey.
When you connect your consciousness to the sound current, it will carry you back to your source. There the soul regains supreme consciousness and merges back into its source.