There is a brilliant story, a classic epic about love and hate, lust, desire, power and control, cruelty and suffering, kindness and happiness. Many years ago, far too many to acknowledge, I was born. As I started to take my first steps and develop and grow, I never realized that I was writing a story – the story of my life.
Each thought and action, every relationship, each crushing disappointment, every magical success relates to me. I play the main character − the hero’s role. Everything and everyone in my narrative submit to me − the constant witness.
We may not think of our lives as material for a blockbuster success or a best seller, but the truth is that our lives are often filled with as much intrigue, pain, love, power and control as any gripping novel. If we could view our lives and actions in the light of another’s eyes, from someone else’s perspective rather than from our own familiar concepts, we may be unpleasantly surprised at the analysis.
Look back at your life, at all the events that make it your life and not anybody else’s. You are the hero, the central character. At any given moment, any given memory you have means something to you; it belongs to your narrative.
Each of the events that shape the story of our lives, are still clearly in our memory, because of a powerful emotion that was associated with them. They may have been shared with someone else, but our perception of an event is conditioned by the filter of our ego, and the emotion that we felt. An event may have been shared with some else, and their narrative will probably record a very different perspective of the same event, irrespective of how close they are to us.
If we think back to our first day at school, perhaps our narrative reflects fear and trepidation, while that of our parents reflects pride and joy. We don’t remember shopping in the supermarket: this is simply a chore, an unemotional, repetitive task. But what about the day we were married, or a child was born, or the day someone close to us died? Momentous events in our lives are recorded through emotion. The closer the event is to our hearts, the greater the emotion, the deeper the memory. On one level our life is a record of events; at another level a rainbow of emotional colours. Fortunately we only recall the events. The emotion, intensity and feelings fade into the memory of time.
We are each the architect of our own lives. Every breath we take, everything we do is ploughed into this timeless epic − this incredible work of fiction. At some stage though, we realize that our narrative is not going to be a best-seller. In fact it is rather uninteresting, for there are millions of similar manuscripts on the market. We finally realize that we have put far too much energy and emotion into it and, to our dismay, we realize that it will in fact amount to little. We need a new script, something different and exciting to write about.
Enter the Master. He has a brilliant idea for a new script: one of truth, love, trust and commitment. We agonize over this opportunity, unsure if we are up to the challenges it poses. After all, it is so very different from what we are accustomed to. Finally, with his encouragement, we start a new narrative, but this time it is not a work of fiction, rather, it’s an authentic script, a timeless classic. It’s the story of a soul − your soul and mine.
The story now changes as the Master directs our writing. The more we apply his instructions to our narrative, the more successful it will be. This may be our own journey, but it is his hand that guides us. By practising what he teaches, the events in our lives appear less dramatic, and our narrative takes on a different hue − coloured by spirituality. It changes from best-seller status to what most people might think of as boring, but our new perspective is very different. Touched by the Master’s hand, we slowly begin to understand the magnificence of what he offers us.
The old manuscript is outdated − it must now be rewritten in the light of change. It is no longer a story about life, a fiction based on effervescing emotions born of controlling karmas, and dancing to the tune of the senses. Change and surrender − letting go − now become integral parts of our narrative, as we learn about letting go of those things that hold us back from our spiritual growth.
When we take our first step on the spiritual path, our lives begin to change, and we may find change difficult at first. It is not easy to let go of the tangible and instant gratification of the world, for the ethereal timelessness of spirituality. Tearing up the old manuscript or wiping the disk is not easy. This is the work of a lifetime. The Master tells us not to be in hurry, to do it slowly − to let go, page by page. Again and again we need to apply the tenets of his teachings to our daily lives, as we examine both ourselves and our life-style, to see how effectively our narrative reflects his spiritual teachings.
It may seem an impossible task, as nothing is as difficult as letting go of the things that have formed the background of our narrative. Letting go of the past − the old patterns of thinking, the old me, the hero of my story, is like dying – we actually kill off our old selves.
In Die to Live Maharaj Charan Singh says that meditation is nothing but a preparation to die. There are many ways in which we have to die before our actual physical death. These all refer to our letting go. But letting go isn’t that difficult if we replace the old with the wisdom of our Master − if we occupy our minds with simran.
Through his teachings we develop a new perspective on life. The old manuscript no longer fits; the story has changed − a new edition of the narrative of our life is to be released. It may collect dust on the shelf of time, but in the realm of the spirit, it is a best seller − a Master-piece!