From a young age, we are conditioned to have a plan of action in our lives. Ask any young people, and they will tell you the career path they aspire to work towards, the dream home they wish to live in, the qualities they would like in a life partner, and the number of children they would like to have.
We all work towards the intended goal. However, we know all too well that life does not always turn out the way we plan it. When things do not go the way we expect them to, we begin to focus on how to make them right and how to get back on track. We wander down the road of frustration, anger and despair. The entire focus of our lives is directed towards making things go our way and before we know it, we become consumed with achieving our worldly pursuits.
For those on the path, we easily turn to the Master and question, “What is going on? Why aren’t things turning out the way I want them to?” We know the answer all too well – yet it does not stop us from asking. Maharaj Charan Singh explains beautifully:
Summer has to come, winter has to come. You can never change the course of the weather. If you go on adjusting to the summer, you’ll be happy; if you go on adjusting to the winter, you’ll be happy. Nobody can change the events of life – we have to go through all that.
Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III
The truth of the matter is that we have to go through whatever our destiny sets out for us. But being true to our nature as human beings, we question the Lord every time life takes an unexpected turn. We understand that this turn of events is also a part of the Lord’s will, but because it does not fit with our plans, we question and we complain.
So how can we follow Hazur’s advice and learn to live in the will of the Lord? To begin with, we must learn to accept whatever life throws our way. Every day cannot be a sunny day and sometimes it takes a few rainy days for us to appreciate the sunshine. If we understand that certain situations occur in order to make us more grateful for what we do have, perhaps we can better face them.
We often complain that it is very difficult to wake up each day and fulfil our promise of sitting in meditation for two-and-a-half hours. We comment on how we don’t feel as if our practice is getting us anywhere. It is only when we are facing a tough situation that we realize just how much we have gained by living up to our promise. It is our meditation that is able to give us the strength and the courage to face whatever comes our way in life, and it is our meditation that gives us the attitude of acceptance. We begin to understand that destiny is going to play its part out, irrespective of whether it fits into our plan or not.
So we ask ourselves, does that mean that we should not have a plan of action for the life we want to lead? Someone once asked Maharaj Charan Singh the following question (as quoted in Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III): “How much capacity do we have to plan our future, Master?”
He replied, “We have only one future: to go back to the Father. There’s no other future.”
We are constantly reminded in satsangs that everything happens according to the will of the Lord. There is nothing in our hands except our efforts. By offering our very best efforts in our spiritual devotions, we are automatically planning for our soul’s journey back home. If we simply focus on that plan, and are as dedicated to achieving it as we are with all our worldly activities, we will surely be successful.