Looking back at the time when we were seekers longing for initiation, we watched as disciples at question-and-answer sessions pleaded to the Master for the grace and strength to do their meditation. We listened to them talk about the challenges they faced, but could never really understand how serious their struggle was. We thought, ‘How could sitting in meditation for two and a half hours be so difficult?’ Sant Mat books are full of promises about the joy that awaits every sincere disciple, so why couldn’t they just bear down and do it?
Reality set in when we joined the squad of struggling souls. Everything changed. There were days when our duties vied for our attention and it was just impossible to focus. There were days when temptations and distractions lured us away. Eventually came the realization that to be able to meditate, not only were we required to put in the allotted time, but our whole life had to be regulated to meet our objective. Clearly, what was needed was a lifestyle change.
So, as it turned out, it wasn’t as easy as it looked. At times we felt absolutely incapable of meditating at all, and the guilt that came with that was another form of suffering altogether.
Thankfully, a disciple’s cry for help never goes unheard. Just when it seemed like we had hit rock bottom came some form of relief – either in a passage we read from a book, or an inspiring message we heard in satsang. The bottom line was clear. If the Master did not feel we were capable of walking on this path, he would not have initiated us. He believes in us and we have to draw our strength from that.
When the Lord has chosen you for eternal liberation, then what other power can keep you back for long in this creation? It is only a question of time. All are struggling souls and are carrying their individual burden of karmas. It will take a lot of time, effort and perseverance to control the mind and throw off this burden. But it will definitely be done one day. The Master will see you back home. So give up all your worries and with love and devotion do your duty every day. Give time to simran and bhajan without caring as to how the mind behaves. Slowly it will take interest inside and will turn away from the outside. That would be the turning point. The Master is always with you and so is his love.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Quest for Light
While battling against our mind, we learn that it is with effort and perseverance that we can strengthen our resolve. The Master assures us that progress is taking place with every moment of our meditation. They ask us to be courageous and to never succumb to the dictates of the mind.
A teacher once explained this analogy to his disciples: Some people, when asleep, are almost impossible to wake up. They may be called upon several times, and in irritation they yell, “Leave me alone!” After a while they may be shaken and finally, they wake up; they may even sit up. But the moment you leave them, they collapse back into their beds and fall asleep again. On the other hand, there are others who respond with alert attention the moment you call them. That, the teacher explains, is the way of the true devotee. The moment God summons him, he responds eagerly and willingly. Thereafter, he never thinks back to his sleep, but seeks ever greater wakefulness in God. This is the way of a true disciple.
The Masters never claimed that the spiritual path was easy; but they always remind us that there is a higher power that is guiding and calling us towards itself; that the Lord is yearning for every soul to turn towards him. Hazur Maharaj Ji has also said: “Nothing gives the Master more pleasure than a disciple contacting him within.” In this sublime relationship between Master and disciple, the only true expression of love is meditation.
Our efforts to show our love for God by purifying our hearts, refresh and delight him. It is for this that he “thirsts”… for the purity of our hearts, the emptiness of our hearts, that his joy, his freedom and his immensity may fill them.
Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas
The struggles, temptations and doubts are all part of the process. Just think, if the spiritual path was easy, when would we yearn for him? If we had no reason to turn to him, how would we experience the glory of his grace? It is only through struggle that we make progress on this path. The Masters have never asked for results in our meditation – they only ask for our best effort.
I would advise that a practitioner should have firm belief that he will surely succeed on this path, and he should go on struggling with faith until his last breath. It is better to die in sincere effort than to attain all worldly success. There is no task in the world so difficult as spiritual practice is in the beginning, but its end is the most joyful. Do not be anxious. The Master is taking care of you every instant. You cannot see it now, but as you advance in your journey, you will see it yourself.
Maharaj Sawan Singh, Dawn of Light
Hazur Maharaj Ji would say: “Why curse the darkness? Why not light the candle?” Rather than worrying about how difficult it is to meditate, he asks us to be positive and just try. Rather than dwelling on our weaknesses, perhaps we can remind ourselves that meditation is a joyful opportunity to sit in his presence – one on one; a precious time when we can fulfil the most important duty of our life – the purpose for which we were born – to love the Lord.