Put the Glass Down
A university professor once gave a very interesting lecture to his students. He began his class holding up a glass of water, so all the students could see it. Then he asked them, “How much do you think this glass weighs?” “50gms! 100gms! 125gms!” they answered.
“I really don’t know unless I weigh it,” said the professor, “but, the question is: What would happen if I held it up like this for a few minutes?” “Nothing,” the students replied.
“Okay. What would happen if I held it up like this for an hour?” the professor asked. “Your arm would begin to ache,” said one of the students.
“You’re right, now what would happen if I held it for a day?” “Your arm could go numb, you might have severe muscle stress and paralysis and have to go to hospital for sure!” ventured another student and all the students laughed.
“Very good, but during all this, did the weight of the glass change?” asked the professor. “No,” they answered.
“Then what caused the arm ache and the muscle stress?” The students were puzzled and couldn’t answer. “What should I do now to come out of pain?” asked the professor again.
“Put the glass down!” exclaimed one of the students. “Exactly!” said the professor. “Life’s problems are something like this. Hold them for a few minutes in your head and they seem okay. Think of them for a long time and your head begins to ache. Hold them even longer and they begin to paralyze you. Then you will not be able to do anything. It is important to pick up the challenges or problems in your life in order to face them, but it’s even more important to put them down!”
This is a wonderful lesson. In fact, we can apply it to our lives on other levels than just our problems. As it is in our nature to believe that we are in control of our own lives, we constantly make plans and set goals. We try to program ourselves and the people in our lives to achieve them. There are even some of us, who prefer to take the fast track by speeding through life’s experiences without understanding or appreciating them.
Whichever life we may be living, we all experience circumstances which force us to slow down. We often come to a point where we realize that not everything goes according to our plan, and we have to adjust, make compromises, or simply face disappointment and sadness. We experience happiness only temporarily, and often we are left emotionally and mentally disturbed.
Thus, if we continue to hold on to our problems or even our plans and dreams as if they were the most crucial aspects of our lives, and give them more importance than they deserve, then we are prolonging our own pain and suffering.
If, however, we accept that our emotions, our plans, our highs and lows were never ours to begin with - they are not even within our control - then we open ourselves up to happiness and understanding.
Hazur Maharaj Charan Singh Ji used to explain that by following the teachings of the Masters, we can rise above the sphere of mind and matter so that pleasure and pain do not affect us.
The mystics explain to us that the only way to rise above the world and its dark coverings is to make the Lord’s will our own. In other words, put our glass down in front of the Lord and surrender everything to him.
Maharaj Sawan Singh explains in Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. IV:
Pain and pleasure, honour and glory, birth and death, the union of the soul with the body, coming together and separation, habitation in hell or heaven, recitals and penances, wandering in different species, knowledge and devotion, and crossing the ocean of the universe, all are happening according to his will.
Maharaj Charan Singh further says in The Master Answers:
We feel that we have surrendered, even in physical love, when we submerge our will into the will of the other person. We try to do what pleases the other person, and never try to assert ourselves or to adjust the other person to us. We always try to cooperate and to submit ourselves to the other person. Spiritual love is the same. We have to surrender ourselves to the Master. It means that we have to take our ego out of us and blend our whole heart with his heart.
So what pleases the Master? All he asks of us is to devote time and attention to our meditation regularly and punctually. He asks us to attend satsang regularly and adhere to the Sant Mat way of life. He advises us to spend our free time repeating the words of simran in our minds, even while walking, talking, working and moving around.
If we put in our best effort into following these guidelines, then we are learning to live in the Master’s will. The best part is that no effort goes unnoticed by the Lord.
If we follow the sound advice of the university professor, and put our glass down in front of the Lord, then we reduce the stress and problems of our lives. We will find we have more time for spirituality, and simran suddenly becomes sweeter. We begin to let go of our ego and surrender to the divine will of the Lord. And then we realize that what we have to do is actually very simple - just leave everything to him.
In self-surrender to the Master’s will
And utterly contented with your lot,
Remember the Master always, friend.
Whatever he may do,
Consider it to be of truest benefit to you;
And always treasure in your heart
Whatever word he utters.
Soami Ji, as quoted in Divine Light