Keep Him in Our Heart
Sometimes we forget just how lucky we are. But then there are also moments when the sensation of a loving presence touches us. And there are times when the Master is absolutely real to us – sweet moments when our only wish is to remain as long as possible in the thought of him.
At other times, we get so used to the idea that we have a Master, we forget the incredible good fortune this implies – we forget his value. Sad to say, our loyalty and devotion are often quite limited. Look at how persistently we struggle to ignore the Master’s message. How craftily we try to take the blessings and avoid the realities and responsibilities which go along with them! Again and again we come in contact with true love, and again and again we look for lesser loves.
Some years ago, a disciple at an evening meeting told a poignant little story. It was about a scorpion who asked a frog to take him to safety by carrying him on his back across a flooding river. The frog reluctantly agreed, but predictably the scorpion panicked in mid-stream and stung the frog, causing them both to perish in the flood. The disciple sadly told the Master that he thought the scorpion in the story depicts our own ungrateful and fickle natures. The Master nodded, then replied with great tenderness that the Master holds out his hand to us, even though he knows we will sting him, and nonetheless he carries us safely to the other shore – for that is his nature. And later, he said something quite similar: that the Master is always holding out his hand to give us everything – even if we are doing all kinds of wrong things – just hoping that one day we will get it!
So what do we do when we think we are not strong enough, when we think we cannot break free? What do we do when we get anxious and panic – doubting ourselves, doubting the flow of grace, doubting even that he can really help? Sometimes we spend long periods in such a state, but when this happens, are we not just forgetting Master’s unfailing determination to help us? Are we not forgetting his reassurance that we already possess the strength we need to succeed? Fortunately, we are luckier than we deserve. Master knows exactly how to keep the spiritual flame alive in us. He knows when to seduce us with love, and he also knows when to shake us up and force us to see the truth. In the end, despite our fears and doubts, we come to realize that his influence is always going to reappear in our lives. The brightness is always filtering through even in our darkest, most negative moods. Naturally we cannot help feeling close to someone who is always giving us such loving support.
Sant Mat should be a fascinating adventure. And at times, that’s exactly what it is – especially when we manage to keep ourselves focused on our goal. But it gets tough when we weaken and give up the struggle, when we dilute the teachings with our own ideas and start to stagnate. Very simply in The Gospel of Jesus it says:
Mysticism or true spirituality is a path of action, of spiritual practice. It is something you live and do, something you experience. Essentially, it is something that happens to you, not something you believe in. It is an experience, not an intellectual philosophy.
When you think about it, there are two ways to live this path. Either we can go through it passively, expecting the Master’s grace to solve all our problems with little or no effort on our own part – or we can actively try to keep the spiritual experience alive. We may not be very good disciples, or even believe that we could ever become spiritual beings, but one thing we know for certain is the value of that sense of happiness which occurs in his presence, and the sense of peace and fulfilment which come to us at times when we are thinking of him. We already have a relationship with the Master; we just have to work on developing it. We just have to go after that personal experience.
The path is so simple. The Master tells us to demystify Sant Mat, not to idealize it. We want to reach God, he says, but we cannot see him. God is within us. He tells us we are all potential Gods, but we cannot realize this ourselves. Alone, we can never do it. We need someone alive at the same time as we are who has achieved God-realization, someone who can teach us and guide us to that level. We have to create a relationship with that person so that he can help us channel our energies and direct our devotion towards the Lord.
The Masters tell us that our natural tendency is to worship the physical Master. But when you worship someone, you place them mentally above yourself. You cannot develop that close bond of love with someone you consider as high above yourself. You feel awe, but cannot feel that all-consuming sense of love which comes from feeling his presence in a natural, personal way. Master helps us by association. Our association with the Master is with spirituality. This eventually leads us to the Shabd within. So we have to develop an association with the Master, by building a relationship with him, rather than worshipping him.
Our actions must always reflect our purpose, if we are to succeed – and we are reassured that we do indeed have the strength to succeed. The Master at first comes and goes in our lives, but gradually the relationship deepens and the experience grows until, no doubt, it becomes such a powerful guiding force that it never leaves us. At this stage, we can try to please the Master through our meditation, and try to bring him into our hearts as a friend. His love, guidance, and response are always there.