Grateful for the Pain
Life can be like riding a roller coaster. There are many ups and downs. One day we are on top of the world and the next we are scraping ourselves up from the floor. It’s on the days when we face adversities that we begin to wonder, “What did I do to deserve this?” We might not want to know the answer to that question.
The positive thing about the harsher conditions of life is that it is human nature to want to make them stop, to get rid of them, to move on. The more misfortune we have, the more we want to alleviate it. Times like these make us so desperate that we turn towards the Lord and beg for his help and mercy. Maharaj Charan Singh tells us in Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. I:
The Lord knows what is best for us. So he will only give us that which pulls us to him. The Master will not give us those things which make us forget the Lord and attach us to the creation. That is not his grace at all. Not that he wants us to suffer. He wants to save us from suffering.
What looks like misfortune to us is actually the opposite if we begin to think of the Master, if we do more simran to just get through the day, if we meditate so we can survive. Perhaps we have a misconception of suffering in general.
The Masters don’t come to this world to take away our pain and suffering during this lifetime. They come to take us away from pain and suffering forever. If we were to know how much suffering and anguish we’ve experienced lifetime after lifetime, for aeons and aeons, we would realize that the pain of this short span of life is minuscule. It’s like the blink of an eye from a spiritual perspective. The Master wants to save us from the continuation of suffering. He wants to put an end to it forever. He wants us to turn toward him – that is his grace. His grace is helping us detach from this perishable world, where things are in constant flux; he wants to attach us to the permanent: the one Lord. What looks and feels like the heaviest karma in the world is actually helping us to go back to our true home, to merge our soul back with God. Hazur explains about the Lord’s grace when he tells us in Spiritual Perspectives, Vol I:
Our concept of grace is always what looks pleasant in the world. And it’s no doubt good to think positively, but that may not be his grace at all. Anything which takes our mind away from the world and creates his love and devotion and yearning in our heart to go back to him, that is his grace. But they may not be pleasant incidents, pleasant events.
When we ask for the Master’s grace, do we realize what we are asking for? Can we endure more grace? The difficulties that we experience come from only one place: our own past actions, our karmas. It is God’s grace that allows us to clear them so our soul – our true, everlasting self – can return to him and never come back to this wheel of eighty-four again. In The Science of the Soul, Maharaj Jagat Singh compassionately tells a disciple:
I am sorry to know of the hard life you have had to lead, but adverse or easy circumstances in life depend upon past karma, which should be borne patiently and resignedly. In future, only good actions should be performed to avoid creating bad karma. And there is no better action than that of listening to the Sound Current, for this cuts at the root of karma and frees us from the karmic tangle.
Whether we experience the death of family members or friends, financial difficulties, humiliation or health problems, these misfortunes result from our own deeds, from our previous actions in prior lives. We cannot blame anyone else for our suffering, but we can do better this lifetime by not creating any more bad actions for which we will have to pay. Every karma is a heavy load on the soul because it keeps the soul from returning to the Lord. When our karmas are cleared or paid for, we are free to return to him. Hazur tells us in Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. I:
Every little load on the soul is heavy. So some people feel that anything concerning health is heavy karma. Some people think anything which concerns the mind is heavy. Some people think, perhaps, that the poverty they have to face is a very heavy load. Some people are rejected in love, and they think this karma is very heavy. So it is an individual way of thinking. But from my point of view, every karma is heavy as long as it keeps the soul tied down to this creation – even to the last, last wrapping.
In another answer, Hazur refers to this world as “a field of karmas.” We sow a seed in the field of our life, and we have to harvest or reap the fruit that grows from that seed. Whatever we sow, so shall we reap, either now or in the future. Every action we take results in a consequence to be dealt with in either this lifetime or in the next. We come back again and again to gather the rewards due us or to pay for the debts we owe – all the while sowing more seeds that we will have to harvest in some future life. According to the Masters, the predicament of being caught in this karmic wheel is our true suffering. The Masters come to teach us how to get off this roller coaster, this joyless ride of life and to help us return home to the Father, to the true home of our soul, merging back into the source from where we came. For this we should be most grateful!
We can show our gratitude by giving back to him in the form of our meditation. He wants us to think of him, to remember him in everything we do, with every step we make, and with every breath we take. We should be thankful for any difficulties in life that turn us toward the loving arms of the Master, for those dilemmas remind us of him and how much he loves us.
This real pain never comes unless love is there. With the mystics, their heart speaks. It is not the tongue that speaks, it is not the pen that writes; it is the heart that speaks, it is the heart that writes. And the mystics just express all that.
Without going through the pain, nobody knows the pain. And that pain can be experienced only with the Lord’s grace. When he pulls from within, then this is what happens – what Mira has written. Unless he pulls from within, there is no pain.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III