Mystics come here with a message of love; a message that is for the whole of humanity irrespective of race, religion or country. They tell us that the creation we see before us has a Creator and he is our Father. As Guru Nanak says, “There is one Father and we are all children of that One.” Our spiritual DNA and that of the divine is the same. Essentially, we are particles of the divine, and the relationship between us is pure love. But how can we develop love for the Father whom we cannot see, hear or experience.
Our current state
Having created strong identities for our material selves, in our present state we remain unaware of the Creator. We, who are mere specks on this tiny planet Earth, have little knowledge of where we have come from and where we are going. When someone talks to us about the Creator – our Father, the Lord or God – most of us believe that he exists. Yet, as we have not seen him or experienced his presence, he remains a concept to us – an entity, a power we try to imagine.
Currently, our primary instinct is to survive, to protect the fragile self we have manufactured. We turn life into a constant struggle of pleasure-seeking, wish fulfilment and the avoidance of pain. We are under the misconception that peace and happiness will be found in the material world, whether from our relationships, wealth, fame or art. Yet, we know all too well that our desires are never satisfied; when one is met, another is created.
Our preoccupation with satisfying physical desires stems from a need to quench a deep-seated longing in us. We do not immediately understand the nature or source of this longing, indeed we mistakenly believe that indulging in more of the same behaviours and activities will eventually fill this hole. Yet, as long as we continue to search for happiness in the material world, our struggle will remain.
Eventually, there comes a time in our lives when we are no longer able to ignore the feeling of loneliness tugging away at us and we begin to acknowledge the futility of satisfying it through physical means. So, we start to search, to look for answers about the meaning of life. We read books, scriptures and attend satsang, all of which provide us with theoretical answers about our existence. To gain absolute knowledge and understanding, however, we are urged to look within ourselves. The mystics inform us that truth cannot be attained through the physical senses or understood through the written or spoken word; it has to be experienced. They make clear that we can only attain permanent peace and happiness by merging with the Lord, and that the Lord is residing within us. As Bulleh Shah said, the beloved is not separate from us, and without the beloved there is nothing else, but as we have not developed the sight to see him, we suffer these pangs of separation.
The mystics inform us that our suffering will be alleviated if we are able to realize the Lord. This realization occurs naturally as our consciousness is slowly transformed by practising the meditation taught by a God-realized Master. In the Adi Granth, Guru Arjun Dev says:
Why would anyone cry in separation, O Lord,
if he could find you by his own efforts?
Those who have found you through the company of the Saints,
O Nanak, enjoy supreme bliss.
Jap Ji – An Introduction
So, we need to associate with a Master to begin our spiritual journey. Such a Master is the catalyst for our inner transformation. The Lord showers his love and grace throughout the creation, constantly. A sign of that grace is recognizing that the loneliness we feel is a yearning for him, a desire to return home. Another is guiding us to the path of God-realization. Thankfully, the Lord’s grace does not end there; it is ceaseless. Yet, the degree to which we benefit from his unconditional compassion and mercy depends upon how receptive we are. If the sun is shining and one is sitting inside, it is impossible to feel the full warmth of the sun’s rays. Likewise, if our mind is full of attachments and desires, our capacity to experience the Lord’s love is greatly diminished. So how can we become more receptive?
Enhancing our receptivity
We can start by being kind and loving to the Lord’s creation, to all our fellow human beings and the lower species. As we evolve spiritually, this becomes automatic because we start to realize that the essence of everything is the same as God; in effect, we see him in everything.
We can also make an effort to attend satsang regularly because this helps us to remember him and his teachings. In this way, our attendance is not only an expression of love for him, it helps deepen our love. This is why the Masters place great emphasis on satsang because without it, we are swept away by the tide of worldly desires and impressions. Regular attendance helps us regain our focus and strengthens our resolve. Seva is another positive action we can take. Any form of selfless service, undertaken with a loving attitude is very conducive to creating love within us. We should strive to be a source of strength and comfort to all around us. There is so much the Lord has given to each of us – not wealth necessarily, but talents and strengths that we can draw upon to help the less fortunate. The Masters are living examples of selfless service.
Needless to say, the most important action we can take to become more receptive to the Lord’s love and grace is meditation. Meditation encompasses simran, dhyan and bhajan. By practising simran and dhyan, we learn to focus our attention at the eye centre. In fact, the simran given to us by the Master can be seen as the ABC of learning the language of love. Through this practice, we are turning our face towards the Lord and slowly start to realize our link to him. Essentially, the repetition of the five holy names is an expression of love on our part; it is the means through which we seek, and become receptive to, the Lord’s grace. As our concentration increases, we begin to withdraw our consciousness from our body and, eventually, enter a higher level of consciousness.
The Lord is a treasury of infinite goodness and each of us has been given the gift of love. However, it is up to us as to where we channel it. Nature is not unjust; we get what we desire, what we work towards. The choice is ours: we can focus on the world or we can turn our attention to the Lord through our meditation. In the end, whatever we focus on, that is what we will get.
Do you think you have searched for and found the path by your own efforts? Do not be impatient. There is a time for everything. Can a babe talk and walk immediately at birth? Can a tree bear fruit when it is still a seedling or sapling? The Lord knows best when it is safe and fit to increase his love in our hearts.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Quest for Light