It’s likely that none of us live lives that are absolutely easy, with no reason to ever worry. This funny old world of ours can give us plenty to worry about. And even if our lives are fairly comfortable, the chances are we would still find reasons to worry. We might feel anxious about our children, or our financial situation or our health, or about changes that we have to make. Even the simple act of picking up a newspaper can become a cause for concern, when we read about some of the awful things that are happening in our world.
And our minds just love to worry. We cling to our worries and find it hard to let them go. Even when we should be meditating. Especially when we’re meditating! And what is all this worry doing to us? Perhaps we should take a closer look at it in the light of our Sant Mat teachings.
In Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III, Maharaj Charan Singh poses these questions:
When are we happy? When are we relaxed? When there is no worry on our mind. … If we throw our worry on the Lord, live in his will, accept what comes and think that whatever comes is best for me, naturally we are happy and relaxed. When we take all those worries on our shoulder, we will never be able to solve those worries. … When you take all that burden on yourself, then you are crushed under that burden of worry.
So we’re told that if we want to be happy and relaxed, we just need to throw all our worries on the Lord and then accept whatever he gives us – just hand all our worries to our Master and let him deal with them. But then, this raises an important issue for us: trust. Do we really trust our Master, or the Lord, to deal with our problems? We would probably say we do. But here’s the acid test: can we just hand over all our troubles and then stop worrying? Most likely not. Or probably we’re just not sure that our Master, or the Lord, would deal with our problems in the way we’d like.
Well, we can be sure that the Master is not going to arrange our lives in the way that we want – because he’s not going to change the pattern of our destiny to suit us. Karma is karma. There are many things which just can’t be avoided.
But then, if we do sincerely turn to him for help, we can often feel or see how he is looking after us. He might not give us everything we want – that might not be in our karma – but he helps us cope. If we open our eyes we’ll probably see that this has been happening all our lives. So what does this tell us? He knows best what to give us. And we should just accept what he gives.
But can we do that? If we’re honest we’ll admit that most of the time we don’t. And this is where a change of attitude has to come in. We must cheerfully accept whatever comes to us and be happy to live in his will. If only we could do this, then a big load would be lifted from our shoulders.
But still, all of us, even the most advanced satsangis, fall prey to worry. In Spiritual Letters we see that Baba Jaimal Singh (often called as Baba Ji Maharaj) wrote to his then disciple Babu Sawan Singh to console him after he was thrown from his horse and broke his leg. Babu Sawan Singh was worrying, not only about his leg, but also about how he would support his family if he couldn’t do his usual work. So Baba Ji wrote to him:
Do not worry about how your family will be fed, or how you will be able to carry on. The Lord will take care of everything. Our house belongs to the Lord, as also does our wealth. … He will look after everything to the end.
Such wonderful letters Baba Ji wrote to him! They must have brought such comfort. In another letter he tells his disciple: “The Satguru in Shabd form is always by your side; he is protecting you at every breath.”
And we can absolutely take it for granted that the same assurance applies to us. Our Master is always with us in his Shabd form and he has everything firmly under his control. In fact, as we have been told, he is doing everything himself. He is behind everything that ever happens to us. And through it all, he has us safely in his hands while we go through our karmas. All that we need to do is have faith in him – and do our meditation.
But then … it may be that our biggest worry is our meditation itself. We come to satsang and we read the books and we see that the Masters stress the importance of focusing the attention at the eye centre. But after so many years of trying we’re just not getting there. (That’s true of those of us who struggle with our meditation. Maybe there are others who are getting it right.) But the Masters urge us to just carry on. They tell us that progress is going on all the time, even if we are not aware of it.
In Divine Light Maharaj Ji writes to an initiate:
Do not mind whether you see any light within or not, or whether the Sound is audible. You simply do your duty and leave the results to the Master. When a man pays wages to one who works for him, do you think that the Lord would not do so? He alone knows what is good for us and when it should be given. He will pay in abundance. Have faith in him.
The Masters don’t expect results from us; they ask us only for our effort. The Master himself is the one who will give us results – when the time is right; perhaps only at the end of this whole lifetime. We worry about our poor meditation, but he tells us that every bit of meditation has value.
But maybe we do get sad that we can’t find our way to our Master’s form through our meditation; and possibly we do get frustrated that even though we do try to fix our attention where it should be, our minds don’t want to cooperate. They’d rather fixate on anything but simran. And worry is a wonderful distraction. But if our worries are keeping us away from concentrating our attention in the eye centre, then one might even say it’s a sin to worry.
Maharaj Jagat Singh was a Master who wrote quite a lot about the habit of worrying. He pointed out:
As a rule concentration becomes difficult when we have cares and worries, for then the attention sticks to the heart centre instead of rising up to the eye centre. We should take the right steps to meet the situation, so far as it lies in our power, and then worry no more. We should leave the rest to be worked out as the Master thinks fit.
The Science of the Soul
So we should see for ourselves that worry is a definite obstruction during our meditation. How often have we not sat in the mornings (or whenever we sit) and spent that time worrying about something instead of doing our simran. Even though we really do want to do our simran, our stubborn mind keeps reverting to the thing that’s worrying us. It’s even possible that many of us have become so conditioned to worry that it’s almost become second nature. But if it’s holding us back, then this is a habit we need to break. And how to do this? How else but through our simran and our daily meditation? These somehow help to lessen the effect of our karmas, so that we don’t feel their effects so much.
One can’t help thinking about the advice and encouragement that Baba Ji Maharaj gave to Babu Sawan Singh after he broke his leg. Here’s an example:
My son, please do not mind this suffering. … The body is a house of pain and pleasure and in it both will certainly come to pass. So endure the pain as good for you – it will last only a few days. Years and years of a satsangi’s sufferings are paid off within a few days. So do not worry about anything.
It’s interesting what Baba Ji is saying here: that if we’re going through tough times we should endure it – because we’re going through in a short time what would otherwise have lasted for years. Acceptance of our destiny – that’s what it’s all about, acceptance of his will. If we can accept everything as his will, then we must know that he has everything under his control. Then, where is there room for worry?
Perhaps when we feel anxious about anything we should remind ourselves that the future may hold losses for us or it might hold gains. Whatever comes is already written on our foreheads. For the moment we can just do our best and leave the rest to him. And if we do have to worry, let’s worry about our spiritual work … which is, after all, what we’re here for.