The Master’s Reassurance
A letter from one disciple to another
Recently, I found myself reminiscing about our time at the Dera – what an intense experience it was. Many people who have been on the path for decades came together and we all felt so close to one another -there was a deep companionship amongst us all even though we came from different parts of the world. One would often meet a stranger and immediately feel that one had known them for ages.
I also remember the day we talked about our shared sense of despair at having spent so many years regularly doing meditation but feeling that we had made little progress and worrying that, in spite of our best efforts, we had been unable to go in. Something was said at an evening meeting, which really brought this concern to a head and gave us both a great deal of soul searching. You may remember that, as you were leaving, I promised to ask Baba Ji about our concerns. This I managed to do and I am writing to share his response with you. Actually, it seemed that his answer was meant not just for us, but for many other people too.
I began by explaining that, though my question was personal to me, I also felt that it would be relevant to other people, as many of us have not experienced the inner sound and light even though we have tried our best. I went on to say that I have genuinely tried to live in his will, not demanding, asking or expecting, and that I felt especially anxious on hearing him speak of the importance of concentrated simran during meditation as I have struggled with this for over forty years. I explained that, over this period, I have tried all sorts of approaches to no avail. For instance, I tried the ‘big stick’ approach to the mind to try and force myself to concentrate, but this failed to work. Then there was the ‘let go and let the simran do itself’ approach, which also achieved little. I also tried focusing intently at the eye centre, but again, did not manage to sustain the repetition. “You name it and I’ve tried it”, I said.
I mentioned that somehow simran goes on quite happily during my daily tasks, especially when I am driving and not supposed to be doing it. Clearly, this illustrates just how contrary the mind can be! But, as soon as I try to bring simran to the forefront of my mind during meditation, all my efforts are in vain, no matter how many hours I might sit. What has kept me going is the belief, rightly or wrongly, that one’s intention as well as attention counts for something.
I finished by asking whether Baba Ji could reassure us that our efforts are being held in our account or whether we are just kidding ourselves, which I would hate to believe. My closing statement was: “You have asked if we are confused enough yet and, for me, the answer is, Yes!”
Well, the reply that came back was truly wonderful – a little satsang in itself – which I share with you here as it will be of great support during those times when we are feeling dry and inadequate. Baba Ji started by saying that anyone can go to a disco if they want to hear sounds and see some flashing lights. He explained that experiencing the inner light and sound is definitely not a measure of one’s progress in meditation. The Master may grant such experiences to satsangis when they are not strong and need this reassurance in order to keep going or to build their confidence. He then went on to explain that, in order to maintain their yearning and effort, the Master may withhold inner experiences from those who would get over-confident from them or whose faith is stronger. We receive what is right for us at the right time.
Baba Ji reiterated that intention is as important as attention and said that the main reason we practise meditation is to please the Master rather than to experience the inner light and sound. This is such an important thing to remember as we sit each day. We are simply to do our meditation to please the Master and with no other desire or expectation. Then, in no uncertain terms, Baba Ji went on to reassure us by saying that no meditation is ever wasted but is gaining interest in our personal accounts and is being saved for us.
Baba Ji reminded us that it is important to do our meditation in order to fulfil the will of the Master and not out of calculation (i.e., with the thought, “What do I get out of my meditation?”). We are to do our meditation because our Master asked us to do it. We are then his responsibility. The attitude with which we sit is as important as the meditation itself. Once more he emphasized that meditation is not measured by sound and light; essentially there is no measurement, only practice. If we sit on a daily basis with the the right intention, faith and perseverance, nothing else matters.
As Baba Ji drew his answer to a conclusion, he reassured us even further in the most wonderful way when he reminded us that all Masters have had to go through the process of discipleship with all the ups and downs, the longing and perseverance it entails. Therefore, they know exactly what we are going through.
Well, dear friend, I don’t think there is anything more to say. Baba Ji has given us the most wonderful support and advice that we could hope to have. All we have to do is to try to live up to it. In the end it is all his grace and that certainly flows in abundance. Simran is our opportunity to say thank you.
Love and Radha Soami