Just Do It
In this fast-paced, result-driven world we live in, we often come across phrases like ‘survival of the fittest’, ‘quality improvement’ and ‘performance review’. We are constantly pushed to strive, perform, achieve, measure our developments, and assess whether we are moving closer to our goals or further away. And normally there are indicators that show us the status of our progress such as report cards for students, performance appraisals for employees, financial statements for businesses and so on. This then leads us to believe that it is necessary to see some tangible progress in order to know where we stand.
So when it comes to our spiritual practice, when we resolve to sit in meditation and instruct our minds to cooperate and our bodies to fidget less; when we then peer into the darkness and make an attempt to focus at the eye centre, we wait for something to happen. We stare into the darkness and think, if only we could see a faint ray of light or hear the slightest sound. Then, we would know that our time and efforts are being put to good use. If only our Master could give us a one-on-one ‘performance appraisal’ to acknowledge our efforts and assure us that we are on the right track.
The Masters remind us that the ways of the spiritual path are different from the ways of the world. The world will assess the end result or the ‘bottom line’ so to speak; but the Masters consider only our efforts. They are full of positive and encouraging words and urge us to continue to meditate, despite our difficulties, our countless number of thoughts or our poor concentration. They advise us not to analyze our meditation and not to sit with any expectations. They assure us that the Lord’s grace is never lacking; in fact, we are bestowed with all the grace we need to do our meditation and our efforts are all that matter.
A questioner once requested Maharaj Charan Singh to explain a line that was written in Spiritual Gems that says that grief resulting from failure in bhajan is also a form of bhajan. He answered:
Whatever time you devote to meditation, whether you achieve any results by it or not, is added to your meditation. That’s what it means. Even your attempt, your “failures” are added to your credit, because only that man will fall who tries to learn to walk or run. There’s no chance of falling for someone who doesn’t try to run, so failures will come only when we are trying to meditate. That is “failure in bhajan.” We are trying to attend to meditation, but we’re not achieving any results within, so we are failing in our meditation – that’s what we start thinking – but that is also added to our credit. Whatever attempt you make towards your meditation, whatever time you give to your meditation, whether you make any apparent progress or not, is added to your credit. You definitely get its effect and its results.
All these failures are part of our ultimate success. They should be a source of strength to us, provided we continue with our “failures”, we continue giving our time to meditation, and do not become disgusted and leave meditation. We should go on making attempt after attempt – that is what it means.
Great Master used to say, “If you can’t bring your success to me, bring your failures.” It means, assure me that you have at least been giving your time to meditation. Whether you have achieved any results or not is a different question, but you bring me at least your failures, because that means you have been attempting to meditate, you have been doing your best. And if you haven’t noticed any results, that is entirely for him to see about. We should do our best.
Die to Live
We may have heard the example of a little girl, who was asked by her mother to fetch a glass of water. The little girl runs into the kitchen and brings the glass of water with the single hope that her mother will be pleased with her. As she rushes back towards her mother, out of excitement, water spills from the glass and by the time she reaches her mother, the glass is half empty. The little girl feels dejected and is upset with herself as she feels she has let her mother down, as she could not do what her mother asked of her. But her mother gazes at her with nothing but love in her eyes and a smile on her lips for she is pleased and happy with her daughter. She only sees her daughter’s love and effort, and this was all that mattered to her.
Likewise, all that matters to our beloved Master is that we put in our sincerest efforts and that we are honest in our intentions. That is what pleases him the most.
So even if we offer a glass that is half full, but we have poured in each drop of meditation with earnest effort, sincere devotion and intense conviction, our Master will gladly accept it. And somehow, we all seem to know deep inside that if we are truly trying our best, then we are making it easier on ourselves and the Master. If we aren’t, then all that needs to be done is to remember that it is never too late to just do it.
The Master tirelessly urges us to sit in meditation, to turn our attention inward and upward so we can become more and more detached from the worldly attachments that tie us down. They advise that it is this detachment that will take us back to our true home as we re-attach ourselves to the Shabd within.
So actually, it is our attachments which are pulling us back to this creation. Meditation is the only way to detach ourselves from all these attachments. With the help of meditation, we are able to detach ourselves from all these bondages in this world by attaching our mind to the Shabd and Nam, to the Light and Sound within, which pulls us to its own level.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. I
Giving time to meditation is like accepting the Master’s invitation to play the game of love. So long as we actually ‘play’ the game, as long as we make an honest and sincere effort, we cannot lose, even though we might feel otherwise. For as Sant Paltu once said, “In the game of love, I cannot lose. If I win, I get you, and if I lose, you get me.”
The whole purpose of every satsang, of every Sant Mat book and of the Master working so hard for us day in and day out is to give us one simple message: You can do your meditation. You can concentrate better in meditation. You have the strength to do it. Just do it. It’s time to put away the books. Sit down for action and awaken to the Shabd.