We all do our best to follow the Master’s instructions about remaining positive when events take a different turn from the one we desired, but admittedly there are times when we find it hard not to become upset. Rather than dwelling on our disappointment, it might be easier to accept how things have turned out if, as suggested by Maharaj Charan Singh in Die to Live, we view acceptance – or what the mystics call ‘living in the will of the Lord’ – as a form of seva:
We have to face situations at every step in this life, and at every step in this life we have to explain to our mind, “You have to accept whatever comes in your fate and accept it smilingly, cheerfully. Why grumble?” It’s a constant training of the mind. This is also doing service, because that will help us in meditation.
Sometimes we become upset when people act negatively towards us. Whilst repeating simran is the best way to stop us thinking about the slight, we can also draw comfort from guidance provided in the spiritual literature. In Quest for Light, Maharaj Charan Singh encourages us to accept the will of the Lord:
Nobody ever does us any good or bad thing, nor can any person offer us insult or bestow honour on us. The Master moves the strings from inside and makes people behave towards us according to our karmas. All insults or loving attention come to us as a result of our own actions – sometimes from a previous life and sometimes from the present life. So do not take too much to heart the behaviour of other people towards you.
Receiving criticism is another situation many of us often find upsetting. Whilst our initial reaction may be one of hurt pride or even anger, the Master advises us to use this as an opportunity to improve ourselves. It is to our benefit if we view criticism as part of the learning and cleansing process we are undergoing, particularly if, as Maharaj Charan Singh explains in Spiritual Perspectives, Vol III:
Brother, we should not mind anybody’s criticism at all. I can tell you, critics are the best guide in life. We should always keep our ears and eyes open to our critics. We must weigh their criticism without any ill will towards them. If it has any weight, we should try to learn from that criticism.… Without our critics, we would never be conscious of our shortcomings, our weaknesses. They are very essential for us to improve ourselves.
We can all relate to at least one of the aforementioned scenarios. As spiritual seekers, it is not uncommon for us to feel doubly upset – by the situation itself and for not remaining positive as advised by the Master. However, since we are at the early stages of learning humility, we should not become disheartened. In fact, feelings of disappointment and hurt are a good reminder of how much we need to practise meditation. Every time we repeat the holy Names attentively, we are trying to awaken our higher consciousness. Eventually, when we reach the eye centre and our attention is turned inwards, external circumstances will no longer upset us.