The winds continued to whistle as the rain came smattering down against the window pane. The typhoon was raging outside as a family remained safe in the shelter of their home. A little girl lay in her bed, afraid of the rolling roar of the thunder. She closed her eyes tightly, but this only helped fuel her imagination further – making her more fearful of the night and the storm. She prayed to God – and slowly felt the reassurance of her mother’s arms around her. “Don’t worry, it’s just a storm. It will pass.”
“But mommy, why does God make storms?”
The mother was about to spew the scientific explanation of how storm clouds are formed, but instead she answered tenderly, “To make us appreciate the sunny days.”
And so it is with all of us – we are all faced with storms, difficulties and depressing times in our lives. And we allow ourselves to be carried away by these storms, closing our eyes to the reality of our predicament. We forget that the storm will surely pass and give way to yet another bright, sunny day.
There is a reason for everything that takes place in our lives. Every action gives rise to an equal reaction. But more often than not, we are unaware of the action and are unprepared for the reactions that occur. At times like these, it is easy to lose our equilibrium and balance. We do not know how to react to the situation and we make terrible decisions that can bring about more pain and suffering.
We all carry around with us an extremely dangerous instrument – it causes chaos in our lives and plays havoc with our emotions. We were born with it, have to live with it, and have no idea how to control it. It did not come with any instruction manual nor training session. It is our mind.
Our mind is the window to our perception of events. It dictates how we perceive and analyze the incidents that make up our lives. We can continue to look at things negatively and let ourselves be pulled into the vortex of the typhoon, or we can take a step back and think that something good will result from this storm, and realize that this too shall pass.
The Masters understand how difficult our lives can be and how strong of an opposition the mind can become. That is why the first step or hurdle in our meditation is to subdue the mind – to tame it, so to speak – so that it can help us achieve our true purpose, instead of hindering our progress.
The struggle with the mind is always there with everyone. And we must struggle. We should be bold enough to struggle and try to keep up that atmosphere in which we have to live. We must build up that atmosphere of love and devotion and live in that. We have to struggle to live in that, no doubt. It’s not so easy. It’s difficult, I know.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Die to Live
Make no mistake, this is a struggle from the first to the last moment, and it gets fiercer the longer we stay in the ring. But there is a tremendous consolation, not the least of which is that the longer we keep trying, the stronger we will become. Just as a runner gets a second wind, we get a stronger will.
Without Nam, the mind remains a wild horse that runs out of control at the slightest pretext or whim.…We have to comprehend for all time that what matters is the bringing of one’s body consciousness into the orbit of the divine melody.
Maharaj Charan Singh, as quoted in In Search of the Way
The Master does not leave us to fight the mind alone. He stands behind us, ready to lift us up every time we fall back. He is always ready with an out-stretched hand; all we need to do is take hold of it. This is our meditation – constantly trying to overcome the mind – so that we can move forward and realize our true potential.
Sometimes the pain we feel at this level is almost unbearable – and we look for a way to escape the whole situation. Our mind drags us down into depression and we lose hope. The Master knows what is best for us, and as unbearable as the pain may feel to us today, he makes it better tomorrow and each day after that. We may have to go through that pain, but he helps us – even if we cannot realize his presence in our lives.
Hazur once related the story of Maulana Rum: A woman came to him crying, saying she was heartbroken and could not bear the loss of her only son, so he comforted her with an analogy: “Think a moment! If your son, when he was a child had been playing with his toys and you wanted him to come for his meal, and he refused because he was interested in his game and began to cry with frustration, how would you have dealt with the situation?”
She replied, “I would have taken the toys away from him even if he cried. He would soon have got over it; I would have reasoned that it was for his ultimate good to do so.”
“Yes,” he said, “that is what God is doing to you now. He has taken away your toy and presently he will give you the meal he has called you for, and then you will forget the sorrow that the loss of your son has caused.” In the words of Maharaj Jagat Singh:
The soul has nothing but frustration and misery as long as it is in the custody of the mind. When we entrust it to the Shabd, we escape the miseries of birth and death.
Discourses on Sant Mat, Vol. II
This world is full of misery – behind every calm is a storm waiting to brew. But the Masters have graced us with a way to weather the storms and to cope with our karmas. For the reality is that nothing in this world is real – not even the storm.
In the storm and stress of life, devotion to God proves a veritable rock where one’s tempest-tossed boat finds refuge. Only in this haven of safety does one find shelter from the hurricanes and tempests that rage in the ocean of life.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Quest for Light