What Is Our Objective?
Masters ask us to consider what our objective in life is. When we take time to ponder that question, our response might be: “Well my objective in this life is to achieve God-realization.” Or: “My objective is to work diligently at my meditation, so that I don’t have to return to this creation.” Or it might be: “I want to die while living. I want to reach that level of consciousness that will take me in and up before I shed this physical body.”
All of these seem like appropriate answers. But then the further question we have to ask ourselves is: “If I know what my objective is, how do I achieve it?” If we are really honest with ourselves, we realize that “we” don’t really achieve this objective. It is all in his hands. In setting our ego aside, all we can do is surrender to the possibility that this being – this soul in this body – can achieve nothing unless the Lord wills it. Baba Jaimal Singh, in Spiritual Letters, advises:
He [the Satguru] is ever the loving friend of the individual. You should regard yourself as nothing. Let only the Satguru remain; leave it all to his will. Listen to the Shabd-dhun every day and hold fast to it.
With great yearning, we can give him our willingness, our devotion, and our efforts in meditation, even when the objective seems all but unattainable. We know that when we attempt to clear out our attics or basements at home, we are often surprised at how much “stuff” we have. The same is true as we continue making our efforts in meditation. We don’t realize how much we have accumulated in the subconscious until we make the attempt to concentrate. But we can’t let these distractions stop us from going forward. We can’t let them distress us. We don’t know how these challenges are making us grow stronger even though our mind seems dark and dull. There is no failure on our path as long as we are willing to continue to make an effort. Maharaj Charan Singh encourages us in Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III: “There are no failures if I am doing my best. One only loses a battle if one does not fight it.”
We all admire people who practise a certain discipline to reach a goal in life, such as a pianist practising to achieve the ultimate goal of playing in the symphony or an ice skater relentlessly practising to reach the Olympics. Similarly, those who want to find God begin with dedicating everything they do every single day to God. However, the illusions of this world often keep us from remembering what our objective is. Sant Charandas, in the book Sant Charandas, counsels the seeker that although the world looks real, ultimately it is only an illusion. He writes:
O Saints, this carnival will end in a short while;
we will depart after watching this show.
Never again will you meet those
who have gathered here together.
Many travellers from different directions
cross the river in a boat – they meet
only to go their separate ways a few moments later.…
The happiness from wife, children and property is fleeing,
like dew drops on petals.
They meet you here and leave you here –
why then grieve over them?
In this give and take, each action has its consequence,
so do your real work.
We see that when we identify ourselves with material things and relationships that do not last, we forget our real work – of merging back into our source. This is why we need to keep our eyes fixed on our objective in life.
We keep our eyes fixed on the Master. We follow his example and do what he has asked us to do. We remember that, as we go through life, we are to live so that no harm or pain is caused by our thoughts, words, or deeds to any other being. If we try to think of ourselves as servants of mankind, we will be ready to put ourselves at the disposal of those who need us while keeping our eyes focused on our destination.
Masters often remind us that we cannot understand spiritual truths by just reading books. They tell us that understanding will come only when we actually have the experience; and that our experience will come only through our continual daily practice of meditation.
The purpose of our daily spiritual practice is to gently and consistently move us from the place where we normally “hang out” in our day-to-day behaviour to a place of greater refinement. We never know what life will bring. But as we build our treasure within, through meditation, we will be better able to digest the results of his grace and find peace of mind. Maharaj Charan Singh tells us in Die to Live:
By meditating we are building a treasure in heaven.… The more you treasure and digest within yourself your wealth of meditation, the more he showers his grace upon you.… We do achieve results in meditation when we start honestly on the path, and if we are able to digest and treasure that bliss and peace within, we get more and more grace within.
At initiation, all that was asked of us was to follow the directives given to us. The saints and Master call this practice “dying while living.” Is that not our objective in life? Let’s ask ourselves, “How do we maintain that focus to keep our objective before us?” Perhaps the answer is, if we can bring ourselves to live in his will and take life as it comes, we will not be disappointed. Whatever he wills is always for our good. We have to remember that the Lord is within every one of us and that he sees and hears everything we do. He knows those of us who want to reach our objective and he helps us. So when Master asks, “What is our objective?” what will our answer be?
You see, brother, meditation makes us receptive, enables us to receive the Lord’s grace. Meditation is nothing but to make us receptive. He is always giving, always giving. He’s more anxious to give to us than we are prepared to take, and meditation makes us receptive to receive his grace. There’s no other way which can make you receptive to receive his grace, only meditation. If there’s heavy rain and your cup is upside down, it won’t catch even a single drop of water. If you put it in the upright position, it will be filled. So we have to become receptive, and it is always raining. His grace is always there.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. II