From Mechanical to Magical
As we go through our daily lives and struggle to keep the discipline and regularity in our meditation, there is a tendency to approach our spiritual practice in a mechanical way - similar to approaching a chore that needs to be over and done with so that we can move on to the rest of our busy day. In fact, as we try to sit still, we literally have to fight off the endless thoughts that bombard us mercilessly.
While we appreciate the value of mechanical meditation in promoting routine and developing the habit of concentration, we often wonder how we might infuse it with the feeling of love and devotion for our Master. Maharaj Charan Singh advises:
Our approach to meditation should be that of gratitude. The Lord has given us the opportunity of this human form and then the environment in which to attend to meditation. So we should always approach meditation with gratitude.
Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III
Indeed, the feeling of gratitude is a great boon in creating a loving atmosphere for meditation. When we pause to consider all the priceless blessings that we are so privileged to have - this precious human form, initiation in the path of Sant Mat, a perfect living Master and, with the Lord’s grace, our eventual freedom from this world of illusion and this miserable cycle of life and death - we cannot help but be humbled by our good fortune.
This spirit of thankfulness touches our hearts to the core. It dawns on us that this magnitude of love is unique and extraordinary, so unlike any love we have experienced, and totally unmatched by even the summation of all the love we have known. It invokes and inspires in us a feeling of reciprocity - a strong desire to love him back the way he wants us to: through loving meditation.
And, this is where the magic begins - with the sense of thankfulness for all that grace that has been bestowed on us. Our meditation becomes more meaningful, more heartfelt and more sincere. What we once considered a chore, we now consider an opportunity to express our love. Furthermore, we carry the atmosphere of our meditation throughout our days, throughout our nights and throughout our entire lives. Over time, we are transformed into true lovers of the Lord.
We learn to see the Lord in his creation - in everything and everyone. We become kind, loving and helpful in a universal way because we see the Lord in one and all. We develop good qualities like cream coming from milk, and our love and devotion for our Master grows day by day.
It is in quiet appreciation that we comprehend all this magic which revolves around an internal change, an undeniable awareness of Master’s love and grace. Because our life remains on its destined course, we will continue to be challenged by the ups and downs that come with worldly living, as well as the highs and lows that are a part of our spiritual journey. But it is this approach of gratitude that brings the key ingredient of love into our meditation and to the rest of our daily life.
Furthermore, our hearts learn contentment. We stop protesting about all the things that we cannot have, understanding that what the Master has not given, is not meant for us, not good for us, and in the final analysis will not be to our advantage. We simply remain happy in his love.
To love is nothing but to give thanks. It is all his grace that he gives us his love, he gives us his devotion, and our words are too inadequate to express that feeling, that depth, that gratefulness to the Father. It is impossible.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III
Undeniably, how the Master’s grace affects our lives is impossible to articulate. But it is definitely possible for us to respond to it. With a heart filled with gratitude, we can sweeten our meditation, turning it from mechanical to magical.
He lays no great burden upon us - a little remembrance of him from time to time, a little adoration; sometimes to pray for his grace, sometimes to offer him your sorrows, sometimes to return him thanks for the benefits he hath bestowed upon you and is still bestowing in the midst of your troubles.
Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God