The Grand Design
A Question of Perspective
If you have ever looked through a keyhole, you have probably not been able to focus on more than one subject or person at a time. The reason is simple: our scope is limited by our perspective of depth and field of vision. Similarly, in life we are guided into believing we are the centre of our little universe with ‘me’, ‘my’, ‘myself’ and ‘I’ at the centre.
From the moment we are born, the pampering, the fuss, and the attention rarely seem to wane, so it certainly does seem that everything revolves around us and our little world.
“You are special,” we are told as we grow up, “you can achieve whatever goals you set for yourself,” and the list goes on. We are at the epicentre of it all. But zoom out from that scenario for a minute. Zoom out of your life, your home, your city; out of your job and the country you live in, the planet Earth, the whole wide universe, zoom out to the realm of He who controls not only your life but the zillions of other precious souls under his care. And then, ask yourself: how important am I in the grand scheme of things?
Shakespeare, in one of his plays, says:
All the world’s a stage
And all the men and women merely players,
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts …
Maharaj Charan Singh frequently used a similar analogy to express how we ultimately are under the auspices of the one who holds the strings, and we simply move, dance and shake according to his tune, according to his direction.
If we had a realistic grasp of the law of karma, it would dawn on us what little control, if any, we have over our life. Yet we wonder how it is possible that as humans, at the very top of the Lord’s creation, we exercise so little dominion over how our lives evolve.
My rules, not yours
Yes we have heard it before: “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” All good advice coming from management gurus and in vogue life coaches. And yet surprisingly, this happens to be one of the greatest paradoxes ever! How can we plan anything if ultimately nothing is under our control? We can go through the motions of planning, making lists, pretending we are actively seeking our goals, but until we accept the fact that it all goes according to his plan, we will continue to live in frustration time and again. There will be phases when we are happy, when things go our way, but there will be other circumstances when life backfires and things don’t go our way, when we look up and wonder what went wrong. Where did I mess up? How did I fail? But the fact is, things did not go wrong, our planning was not at fault.
We simply have not mastered the art of acceptance.
True, this path of Sant Mat is ultimately about God-realization and achieving union with the divine. But for most of us struggling souls, the biggest hurdle in attaining this lofty end is being able to achieve the level of acceptance that makes this objective possible in the first place. Without understanding this and making it part and parcel of our daily reality, we will never reach our ultimate goal.
We have heard it before: It is not the destination, but the journey. There is no gratification in arriving on the top of a mountain in a helicopter. But when you start at the bottom and climb your way up, then the journey itself becomes meaningful.
You might be hearing, but are you really listening?
The Master takes us through this journey with him. If we had the capacity to really listen, to truly grasp his words, we would actually hear him say: “Sweet child of mine, you need to go through this obstacle and challenge now, in order to consolidate your faith and strengthen your resolve.”
Every step of the way he tells us this. At first, we may only be able to take this in when we are in his physical presence. But the message continues, even when we are physically distant from him. Are we listening?
Master endeavours to wean us from our attachments to concepts of God and have us work on building our own direct experience with God. Ultimately, it is a question of perspective. When we stop our endless discussion and the egocentric analysis of the ongoing drama of our lives and focus on the grand scheme of things, maybe then we can start seeing his grand design. Mirdad said to one of his followers:
You have too many ears; therefore you cannot hear. Had you but one that heard and understood, you would require no proof. Therefore I say to you that if you pray for anything at all, pray first and last for understanding.
The Book of Mirdad