The Magic Sauce
After fumbling for the chilli sauce on the shelf, my wife responds, “It’s not here; we must have run out.”
Impossible, I say to myself and go back to the shelf that she just looked through. There it was, towards the back, tucked away – my favourite chilli sauce. Perfect!
It just so happens that I am over 6 feet tall and a good 12 inches taller than my wife. The sauce was there. She just could not see it.
Similarly, when we approach a path of inner search, we can at times hit a faith roadblock. The scriptures mention levels of awareness that are, in theory and in practice, within the reach of one and all. The discourses we hear in satsang corroborate these magnificent states of happiness and bliss within. And yet here we are, grappling with our frustrated attempts, our limited vision of reality. It makes us wonder why and how the Lord enjoys his game of more ‘hide’ and less ‘seek’.
How much faith is required before we are afforded an inkling of these higher states of consciousness? It seems that in spite of our efforts, our long hours of meditation, our unceasing devotion to the path, the objective seems as elusive as ever.
Are we simply unworthy? A bad disciple? The result of a faulty design? Unfit for this path? No, no, no and no. In reality, it is our vision that is at fault. Put better, our lack of it.
Faith can only take us so far. Faith, like belief, can bring us to the threshold. After that point, we either dive into the joyful world of experience or we turn around and go back to where we came from. The path of spirituality, as taught by a true Master, is a path of experience based on a platform of faith. It is not a path designed to build our faith based on the experience of others.
In A Wake Up Call: Beyond Concepts and Illusions, the writer explains the meaning of the Indian term puran sant satguru:
The literal meaning of ‘puran’ is complete, nothing lacking. He is a ‘complete’ Master because his realization is complete instead of partial.
The long and winding road to our objective is to make us more complete – in the most subtle sense of the word. Complete in our focus, inner vision and approach to life – which at present for many of us, is not complete. However committed to the path and its teachings we may think we are, we lack the completeness that is fundamental for spirituality to take root and grow deep within our psyches.
We have brushed aside the very teachings that expound the building blocks that will make us complete. There is only one way that will take us to our objective, lift us out of this fog of illusion and make us whole; and that is to surrender.
Aha! But isn’t that what we practise day in and day out in our meditation? Maybe. What is lacking is our ability to hold on to the right perspective – no matter what. The operative phrase here is ‘no matter what’. When the Masters clearly tell us that we are already there in the darkness, where we are meant to be, what do we do when we get up from sitting? We evaluate and measure, thereby inviting our mind to analyze the depth and validity of the experience we just had. Instead of absorbing what we just went through, we mull over it, analyze and come up with our own conclusions. The mind churns out its all too familiar meditation statement, like a weather report, which it then promptly interprets for us: Today’s session – mediocre, with vague attempts to concentrate: seven out of ten.Yesterday: frustrated outbursts of focus with no signs of light in the horizon: six out of ten. And so on.
Analysis to paralysis
Where is the perspective? Why do we feel the need to put in our two bits of reality when we are clearly told what we need to do? We are lovingly asked to stop the analysis and the evaluation. To simply just be and to just enjoy the darkness.
This brings us back to the central issue of this path: surrender. Masters have stated that surrendering is difficult, and that the shortcut to reaching our goal of spiritual realization is through meditation. It is our effort in meditation that will enable us to surrender and gradually increase awareness.
To surrender, we need to understand that to a large degree we must accept that which we are confronting. We need to accept the darkness, the silence, the void. Accept it for its entirety, and let go, above all because the Master tells us that it is the means that will provide us with the experience.
The ethos required to keep the proper perspective is a combination of time, dedication and interest – all of which we are happy to forego to attend to what we consider ‘important’ worldly tasks.
Ultimately, it is a question of perspective – ours or the Master’s? Like the bottle of chilli sauce in the back of the cupboard, the reality of our inner spiritual home has already unfolded itself for us at the third eye. It is already there, where it should be.
Though there be thousands, there is none other than the One.
The ‘many’ are imaginary.
Only the Ocean of unity is there, though in waves.
There is no place for duality.
Reality and Essence are not separate from the waves.
Jalaluddin Rumi, Masnavi