Seek the Real
There is a story of a man who fell into a deep, long sleep. Weeks passed but he remained in this state of endless slumber, unable to wake up even when prodded. Puzzled by the man’s condition, the villagers sought a sage who could reveal the mystery behind his sleeping state. The sage visited the village and used his inner vision to access the man’s psyche. Upon learning the truth, the sage turned to the villagers and declared: “This man is dreaming that he is awake and so he has no intention of getting up.”
Our human experience is so real for us that we have little inclination to rise above it. We can relate more to our worldly affairs than to the concepts of self-realization, God-realization, and making a journey within to our real home. In fact, the underlying reason we find it challenging to focus during meditation is that we believe our worldly experience to be more real than the experience within. We are not convinced that if we let go, events will unfold just the same. We feel we will lose out if we do not entertain the ideas that come to us during meditation. As a result, we drift along with our thoughts and persist with our problem-solving rather than our simran. Consequently, our meditation often becomes an extension of our time to think and plan our daily affairs. And in this way, yet another day passes without meditation.
Do not worry about anything in this life, which is all an unpleasant dream. The real life lies beyond, where your Master awaits you.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Quest for Light
In the movie The Matrix, the character Cypher is actually disgusted with the nature of reality in comparison to the comforts found within the illusory world of the Matrix. Cypher exclaims that “ignorance is bliss” and arranges for his body to return to the Matrix.
Perhaps we are not too different. Even after being made aware of the illusion, we cling to it. Probably because like Cypher, the current point of comparison for most of us is the darkness of our experience of the real. But Hazur used to remind us that when we close our eyes, the darkness is where we should be. He also reassured us that the dryness we experience in meditation only occurs in the beginning; later on it becomes fulfilling.
The pity is that what we see, what we feel, what we touch is not real. What we don’t see, that is real…. So we are in love with the creation. And we cannot love what we don’t see, what we can’t hold, what we can’t feel, and yet we have to love the Lord and detach ourselves from this creation. That is the whole struggle. That will be real – what you will see with your inner eyes.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. I
The saints reveal that our worldly responsibilities, our ‘dharma’, are a result of our past actions or karma. The playing-out of these karmic responsibilities is already predetermined and our destiny cannot be changed. While we still have to go through the motions and undergo our karmas, it must be done with a relaxed approach, surrendering to the divine flow of things. Our true objective is to journey inward and build our heavenly treasure. And our meditation practice is the time we allocate to our primary responsibility. At that time, it is our dharma to strive to direct and redirect our attention to our simran. The efforts do not need to translate into any specific results, but the effort must be there nonetheless. It needs to reflect an active striving, not a passive sitting, for the act to carry any meaning for us.
Imagine a crowd of people in a cellar, very busy trying to stay alive. They are scrambling around for food and blankets. But one of them has caught a gleam of light at the top of the staircase. And he is convinced that there is a way out to a larger, brighter, easier world. He tries to tell. Many are too busy to listen. Some are too stubborn or too blind to believe. Others listen and say, “Yes, but not now. I have an appointment with a man who has a blanket. That is more urgent right now.” And the saint, for such is he in the world, loses interest in the business of the cellar, spends long hours upon the staircase, knowing that one day, through grace, the door will be opened and he will go out.
Nancy Pope Mayorga, Hunger of the Soul: A Spiritual Diary
Like prisoners, instead of receiving better blankets we can escape from the prison altogether. That is where the saints come in. To inspire us to seek more, to seek the real.