No Easy Way Out
If we keep the company of lovers and devotees of the Lord, by seeing them a desire to love and worship the Lord will automatically awaken in us too…. It is essential that someone keeps hammering away at our minds, explaining things to us, reminding us what is real in the world … directing our attention inwards.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Spiritual Discourses, Vol. II
What is it about the Master that attracts us? He is just so positive, so cheerful and generous! Every contact with him renews our sense of purpose to achieve our spiritual goal. His influence redirects us, reminding us that there are other possibilities, that we do not have to remain tied down and depressed by the things of the world. His message is charged with love and awakens in us a determination to achieve what might otherwise seem impossible.
If we are honest, in most cases our efforts on this path do not bear much examination. No doubt, there are times when we are fired up with devotion, but we probably also experience long periods of laziness and discouragement. But no matter how we are managing, sooner or later we are always brought back to the awareness that someone very special is travelling along with us, watching us and offering us unseen help. Though we may be weak, his will is strong. He wants us to get out of the foggy dream-life and experience something infinitely more real and pleasant. If nothing else, our recurring sense of gratitude towards him helps us to renew our efforts.
He is offering us something so wonderful – he is offering to permanently remove our spiritual darkness. And the sacrifice he asks of us in return is so little in comparison. But sometimes we do not see it that way. A gentleman once told the Master how hard he found it to follow the path. The Master acknowledged that it is difficult but followed this up by asking what the alternative is. The important thing, from our perspective, is to somehow maintain that daily contact with him and not let the world completely rule our destinies. He tells us not to worry about what has happened. We should just adopt a positive attitude today. He reassures us that as long as a person is trying hard to do the right thing, to work in the right direction, the grace of the Lord will be with him.
Sometimes we don’t like to hear what the Master says, but the effect is to motivate nonetheless. Master points out that our thoughts are the seeds of our actions. Wayward thoughts inevitably lead us towards wayward actions, because at this level the mind is all-powerful. He says that if we are not careful, we will find we are digging a pit for ourselves. Then definitely, he says, we will fall in and have to suffer the consequences. Instead, we should be trying to fill the pit, developing the strength we need to confront our destiny and growing to know reality.
There is obviously no easy way out. Those who have been on the path for a while know this, because we’ve tried every shortcut we could dream up! But we were forced in the end to admit that the simple approach Master gave us all those years ago, was indeed the easiest. It is astonishing how effective constant one-pointed simran can be.
We must come to the third eye if we are to enjoy the Shabd. The first steps are always the hardest – when we have to struggle with our mind at its wildest. Initially, we may feel little effect from our meditation, but inevitably a shift takes place in our lives. With a little perseverance, our attitude begins to gradually change. Even if our mind keeps bombarding us with doubts, we are gaining ground.
We may not think that we are capable of much love and devotion. But what is the battle to persist with meditation (even when it is dry), if not love? The ability to be calm in the midst of family and business problems is also love. Accepting our lot in life, and still being kind and generous to those around us; keeping a place in our lives for Master; giving him time every day – these are definitely expressions of love. Adopting the right attitude to seva is love. These things may not seem much to us at the time we experience them, but you cannot keep storing up riches without their becoming noticeable one day. Eventually true love springs up as a result of this inner struggle, and meditation becomes sweet.
We are not going to become perfect overnight. Our weaknesses may plague us for a long time before they gradually die out. We may see our present problems as a form of rejection on the part of the Master, a lack of love by the Master. We are plagued with doubt. But the Master feels our suffering more deeply than we do. He knows what is best for us. If we were to receive an apparent excess of grace when we are impure it would be like a father giving too much money to an immature son – it would bring him only trouble and confusion. The Master knows the value of our present suffering. He knows how to condition the mind to make it receptive to the Lord’s grace. He loves us too deeply to take half measures.