A sudden noise shatters the stillness of the night, softly at first and then louder and more persistent. A hand reaches out from under the covers flinging fumblingly at the blinking culprit. Then, just as abruptly as it began, the noise ceases. Silence permeates the darkness once more. The snooze button has graciously granted a few more precious moments of sleep.
Yet, in what seems like just a few seconds, the merciless culprit wails its ear-splitting noise again. The hand reaches out for the second time to strike the puny button marked STOP.
Finally, as deep slumber begins to settle, gray light drifts in through the curtain slits. A long list of reminders, errands, meetings and appointments come flooding in with the morning sun. Alas, it is too late. An unwelcome pang of guilt for not putting the early morning to better use starts to sink in.
Another familiar morning we can all relate to, but on this particular morning, the outcome can be completely and positively different. How so?
As we navigate through life, there will be days when we are unable to rise early in the morning and complete our course of meditation for the day. Perhaps it was a work or family obligation that led to a late night. Perhaps we are feeling physically ill and our bodies need the extra rest.
When life takes an unexpected turn, we have two options. The first is to bury ourselves in guilt and give up trying. Far from completing, much less starting our meditation in the morning, we decide that we will never get the chance to fulfill our commitment to meditate that day. We convince ourselves that we will try to do better tomorrow.
However, for this particular morning, we can choose a second option. Instead of feeling guilty, we simply tell ourselves that we still have the rest of the day to find the time to live up to our commitment. A window of opportunity could arise after lunch or at the end of the day. We could also skip that episode of our favourite program or put aside that novel before bedtime to free up a pocket of time to meditate. Even a quiet corner in the office can be a suitable location. Anytime. Anywhere. All it takes is determination. It is this constant reminder to stay committed that becomes the gravity that keeps our attention within the Lords’ orbit.
It is dangerous to believe that this day does not matter much, given all the days that lie ahead of us. What guarantee do we have that tomorrow will be better than today? In Maharaj Charan Singh’s words:
We should never feel guilty at all. We simply should try to put more time in meditation.
Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. II
Yes, the ideal is to complete our daily two and a half hours of meditation in one sitting. But the Masters always say that if this is not possible, then we can divide it into two or three sittings.
The crispness and serenity of the early morning has certain advantages because we are fresh, the mind is not scattered, and the world has not arisen to the frenzy of the daily grind. However, Maharaj Charan Singh also says:
If for some reason somebody cannot give time in the morning, he shouldn’t think that his whole day is lost. He can attend any time – any time is good.
Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. II
There will be beautiful days when we complete two and a half hours of meditation in the morning but today we may have missed the golden opportunity. Instead of cowering in guilt, we could ride the wave of divine remembrance throughout the day, until we are finally absorbed in the Lord’s embrace once again at nightfall.
It is pitch black outside as the world retires for the day. A hand reaches out for the TV remote, and, with the push of a button, silence and darkness engulfs the room. The blinking culprit is now a friend showing that sleep is miles away and the time is just perfect. With the steady rhythm of repetition slowly yet surely forming a cocoon of divine love, we are heading towards our goal, guilt-free.
If we are real satsangis, we should have no feeling of guilt.
Whether you are considered good or bad makes no difference,
as long as you remain a satsangi in the true sense of the word.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. II