Addiction is the condition of being habitually occupied with or involved in something to the extent that we become consumed by our addiction, and our whole day is geared towards its satisfaction. It is always on our mind, driving us crazy with desire.
Previously our addictions were for the attractions or substances of this world, but once we manage – with the help of meditation – to quiet our minds, we start to come under the exquisite spell of divine addiction. Now we become increasingly drawn to the meditative state – to the ocean of Shabd that gently pulls us away from the complexity of this world towards the simple state of a permanent awareness of the divine presence.
We become so enriched by this awareness that we begin to experience it not only during meditation, but even as we move and breathe in this world. This is divine addiction: when we cannot stop thinking of the Lord, when we see him everywhere and our whole day is geared towards our daily meditation.
During our initiation we are taught how to tune in and listen to the divine Sound – the Shabd. This is done by closing the outer physical ears that take our attention into the world and opening the inner spiritual ear. It is this ear that hears the Shabd and takes our attention inward, towards the Lord. This has to be practised every day if we want to achieve any results, and it must become the purpose of our life here on earth. It is the only credit that we can take with us beyond death. All else that we do or achieve here will be left behind.
Shabd is the Supreme Being in sound form. It is the dynamic power of God that creates, enlivens and sustains the entire universe, and through which the soul returns to its source. This spiritual path teaches us how to allow our soul to experience the Shabd. But first we have to turn our interests, fascination and attachments away from the world and aim them inwards.
There comes a time when we become disenchanted with what this creation has to offer us. After being bullied and battered by the ups and downs of duality we finally turn our attention towards the peace, tranquillity and love promised by our return to the Lord. But we cannot do this alone. This is the time that we need to direct our attention towards a spiritual Master – an adept on the path to spiritual liberation – and beg him to guide us on our inner journey homewards.
We all have unfulfilled desires and suffer inner loneliness, a constant yearning, an unsatisfied craving. This feeling of a lack of fulfilment and aloneness is actually the constant yearning of the soul for the Lord – which is why the things of this world can never satisfy us for long. It is this aloneness that drives us towards the Master as the soul yearns to be back in the fold of the Creator – its true home.
Our mind is the master of indulgence. It thrives on overdosing in a hedonistic and addictive way of life that has no purpose. Such indulgent behaviour ensnares us in a web of self-destruction. Using the five senses, we desperately but mistakenly try to satisfy the soul’s yearning with the attractions of this creation, but all we succeed in doing is to lock ourselves into the circle of life and death. We cannot find permanent satisfaction for this inner ache out in the creation.
The result is that our yearning continues to hop from one distraction to another in a cycle of never-ending frustration and worldly addiction. Many try alcohol or the latest street drugs to try and soften the craving and constant dissatisfaction that follows us day after day. Our mind is never calm, never still and never content. Our intoxication with the world leads us to momentary exhilaration as our senses are excited for a short while. Then we plummet back into unhappiness and worldly cravings.
We need to turn this worldly addiction into spiritual addiction. When we first learn of the Master, his teachings excite us and we become curious about the path. Once our curiosity is satisfied through reading the books and attending satsang, we apply for initiation. Then we need to put in the effort of meditation to truly achieve spiritual progress.
In Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III, Maharaj Charan Singh explains how the spiritual hierarchy has been reversed by the mind:
Mind is dominating us. We don’t dominate the mind at all. You see, the soul, no doubt, is the essence of the Lord. But it has been dominated by the mind, so the mind has become the master and the soul has become the slave. But the mind itself is not independent and has also become a slave of the senses. So actually, the senses are the master of the mind and the mind is the master of the soul.
We have to turn this mind-dominated hierarchy around, so that our soul is in command and the mind obeys the soul. This can only be achieved with our daily meditation, when the chatterbox mind – highly active and seeking satisfaction through things of this world – quiets down. Then our emotional cravings and yearnings will subside. We will become less engaged with our five senses and the world and more connected – to the Shabd within.
Although we may sometimes feel frustrated about our spiritual progress, over time we do make headway. In everything we do or apply our minds to in this creation, there is always an expectation of results. Whether in sports, weight-loss, business, studies or any worldly activity, we expect results. We have to understand that in spirituality we are not the doers – the Lord himself is the doer. While we just sit in meditation he is the one doing what needs to be done. All we need to ensure is that every morning we get up and sit, which is what pleases him.
Where is the space for frustration or guilt if we are doing what we were asked to do – which is sitting in meditation? Our job is to sit at the door. In due course he will open the door. No credit is due to us and there is no need for frustration on our part. He will give his gift when he sees fit. We should have faith and patience.
While still outside in the world, we may have many doubts and questions. But on the day that our addiction for the divine leads us to meet the Radiant Form of our Master inside, we will have nothing more to ask.
An addict has no option but to follow the source of their addiction, mesmerized like a moth to a flame – as if in a daze. When we are blessed with divine addiction we move towards the Lord as if on autopilot, offering him our total surrender. And who but the Master can be the example of a perfectly surrendered lover of the Lord?
The ultimate result of this addiction is unity with the Lord. Actually, we have never been separated from him, but because of the dictates of the mind we turned our backs on him – and our five senses keep our backs turned. Now, finally, we have again turned our faces towards the Lord, and in time we’ll find that our perceived separateness was only a deception of the mind.
So let us be content in our faith. If we can turn our worldly addiction into divine addiction, then even if we have had no signs of progress during meditation, we can rest assured that at the time of our death we will meet the Radiant Form of our beloved Master.