It’s All in the Attitude
When you look at a glass that is filled half way with water what do you see? Do you see it as being a glass half full or half empty? This question is very common in philosophical studies, used to determine how a person perceives things. A person who sees it as half full is an optimist – a positive thinker; whereas a person who sees it as half empty is a pessimist – a negative thinker. A negative person always thinks “I can’t” but a positive person says, “I can”. A negative person always worries about problems but a positive person focuses on solutions. A negative person laments what is missing but a positive person counts his blessings.
It is very natural to have negative thoughts, especially when we face criticism and rejection and have to endure suffering. We get frustrated and depressed and just want to give up.
Our thoughts determine our action. When we constantly think about something, we slowly take steps towards achieving that goal. If we are always negative, we will never even take the first step. We tend to dwell on our fears and allow them to get the better of us. We find ourselves thinking, “I can’t focus during meditation, I am no good at writing articles, I am afraid of public speaking, I am not good at doing anything.” When we keep telling ourselves this, we are actually programming ourselves for failure. These examples reflect a negative attitude and lead us to disappointing results.
Look at a small child. When he first learns to walk, he stumbles and falls; he may even get hurt, but he still picks himself up again and again until he finally succeeds. He never gives up. If he were always afraid of falling, he would never learn to walk.
Life will always have its ups and downs. We may find it hard to overcome obstacles, difficulties and fears. We may make mistakes, suffer disappointments and, because of our human failings, when a strong wave of karma comes, it may shake us from the path. Saints tell us that we must never, ever give up. Persistence is the key. While we may not like failing at anything, it is a necessary part of the road to success.
We can look for the positive even in our negative experiences. Difficulties or hardships can give us perspective. If we suffer from a life-threatening illness, we do not allow the little things to bother us and we start to focus on the important things in life. Hardships teach us to be grateful. We do not usually appreciate something until it is taken away from us. Overcoming problems and challenges make us stronger and teach us valuable lessons, which helps us to grow spiritually. Whatever we have to go through, our good and bad karmas alike, they are a learning experience, and if we always strive to maintain a positive outlook towards everything, it will help us to keep moving forward and eventually inward and upward. As Hazur always used to say, “Instead of cursing the darkness, we must light a candle.”
Saints tell us that there are no failures in Sant Mat and that we should always take a positive approach and remain faithful. Meditation gives us that strength, that strong willpower, to keep us steadfast on the path. Even if we fall, we should not feel dejected but instead we should get up like the little child and try again.
Success requires effort, commitment, discipline, patience and the willingness to persevere through difficulties. The mystic Rumi says:
In this path struggle on and on and do not rest even at the last breath.
As quoted in Spiritual Gems
Meditation is difficult and it involves a lifetime of struggle, but we must be honest in our efforts and persevere. His grace is never lacking if our effort is honest and sincere. In a letter to a disciple, Great Master wrote:
I am well aware that you have struggles. You have some things within yourself to overcome and some things outside of yourself which must be surmounted. But you can do it.
We can do it. The Lord has planted that seed of love within us and it has to grow. All we have to do is take one step forward and then another and another. All we have to do is stay positive and keep trying. Slowly but surely, with the Lord’s grace, we will become successful.
It is a law of spirituality that if a disciple takes one step on the path indicated by the Master, the Master takes a hundred steps to meet him.
He is the bestower of all benefits. He is beyond praise or comprehension.
He is immortal and limitless.
Maharaj Sawan Singh, Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. III