What Zone Are We In?
Since the goal of Sant Mat is to eliminate our ego, we need to study the enemy. “Know thy enemy” is an advice as old as the advice to “Know thyself”. Ego or I-ness covers everything we are attached to and everything we regard as ‘me’ and ‘mine’.
To create a picture or map of our ego, let us start by colouring red every aspect of me and mine. So our body is painted red as well as our house and car. All our loved ones are red. Paint our office red and the road from home to office in red. Red is the sangat and red also any people we depend upon. Loved ones overseas are red and draw a red line from them back to ourselves. Colour red also any area of our life where we might get upset or be disturbed – our finances should be red and our sports club and so on. When we have finished this process, we will have a giant map of the Red Zone, which represents our ‘field of concern’. We spend time every day managing and guarding our Red Zone like a faithful dog, constantly allowing our attention to roam around the Red Zone to check that all is going well for us.
Now everything which is outside of our Red Zone, we colour that green. Green is for God – the will of God can prevail in the Green Zone. However, in the Red Zone, our attitude is that ‘my will should prevail!’
So it works like this: if there is a flood or a famine somewhere where we have no relatives or business interests, then we say, “Well that is God’s will; that is their karma!” Of course, we feel sorry for them but we lose no sleep because that happened in the Green Zone. Similarly, the will of God prevails when some outbreak of disease kills people in a place far away, in the Green Zone. However, when our own spouse falls ill or we lose a job or some other setback happens in the Red Zone, the zone where we care about things, then we get very upset and we think the Master has forgotten us and the Lord does not love us and we whine and complain.
Here is the catch – our Red Zone is someone else’s Green Zone! And for God, everything is green. Viewed from this angle, we realize that our Red Zone exists only in our own minds. This insight shows us perhaps what the mystics mean when they say our ego is an illusion. For the people in another country, all the Red Zones in our city are painted green.
Now we can see clearly why we do not weep when there is an aircraft accident and hundreds die. That happened in the Green Zone and we are so ego-focused that we only react when something happens in our Red Zone. The next time we get upset about anything, we should step back and remind ourselves that this is just Red Zone thinking and that for God all zones are green.
The goal of Sant Mat is to die while living, which requires withdrawing from our own body. We need to think about the fact that the body is the very centre of our Red Zone and we will never be able to withdraw from our body until we have also withdrawn from the rest of our Red Zone. Until our Red Zone becomes green in the sense that we surrender to God’s will in everything, we will not be able to bring our attention back home to the eye centre and paint even our own body green.
In the book Spiritual Letters, there is an interesting quote in a letter written to the Great Master by Baba Jaimal Singh. In that letter, he lists the aspects of life which the disciple should not regard as his own. In a sense, Baba Jaimal Singh is telling us the things which we are not allowed to include in our Red Zone. The list makes it clear that disciples should have no Red Zone at all!
The body belongs to the Satguru, as also do pain and pleasure. All activities, occupations, households, service, money, shops, mansions, land, wealth, sons and daughters, all belong to the Satguru – everything is the Satguru’s. Then why should you get perturbed in pain or pleasure?
Baba Jaimal Singh, Spiritual Letters
We may be rich or poor, healthy or diseased, happy or unhappy. All these states are boons from him, a result of our own karmas. Accept them cheerfully. Be happy with his will. Try to act as you are directed by the Master, and thus free yourself from the shackles of karmas and death, through the Name of the Lord. His will is his greatest gift. Nothing excels it. It is only if he wills it that we obey him. We can meet a Master if it is so willed by him. We can attune ourselves to Truth and then share the bliss, only if he wills it. But only those for whom it is ordained can obtain it.
Maharaj Sawan Singh, Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. IV