Time and Tide Wait for No Man
Every breath that we take without thinking of the Lord is time wasted. Every day is a step nearer to the end of this life.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Words Eternal
There is an old proverb that emphasizes the value of time and how every moment that goes by is lost forever. Legend has it that there was once a king who was told by a sage that he had the power to do anything. Wanting to test the authenticity of the sage’s words, the king went to the oceanfront and ordered the waves to stop. When nothing happened, he had an epiphany and said to the sage that time and tide wait for no man and one day he too would die.
I declare to the loud beat of drum:
With every breath that passes
In forgetting the Name of the Lord
You are losing the chance to conquer the three worlds –
Your chance to reach the spiritual heights.
If you lose a single one of these invaluable breaths
Your loss is greater than the loss of the fourteen worlds.
Why do you throw away such precious breaths?
Kabir, The Great Mystic
We all long for perfect, unlimited happiness. We say that we want God-realization and we want to attain the absolute Truth, but we postpone our spiritual practice thinking that we can find time to attend to it later. And as time goes by we continue to slack in our efforts and become more and more attached and involved with the world, forgetting the importance of our spiritual practice.
We are living in a world of opportunity brought about by new technology and highly advanced social and working conventions. But the consequence that comes with this is a world that lures us into a mode of ‘drifting through life’.
The one thing that technology cannot change is the passage of time. The hands of the clock are ticking and we do not know when we will take our last breath. We will not live in this body forever. If we do not attend to our spiritual practice now, then we are losing the opportunity to return home to our beloved Lord and we will not get this opportunity so easily again.
Our lives reflect our priorities. The time we get up, what we eat, what we think, what we do and what we do not do, all stem from our priorities. We spend so much time and energy on various activities, some out of necessity and some just out of indulgence. We make time to take care of our body and health so we go to the gym or for a walk. We make time to relax so we watch television or go to a movie. We feel the need to keep in touch so we check our mobile phones for messages and then take the time to respond to all of them. We make time for our family and friends, we make time to go to work in order to earn a living. We even make time for physical seva, and the list goes on. But what about making time for our meditation?
Unless we discipline our mind, it will always find excuses not to sit in meditation. If we try to do one thing every single day, we will eventually get into the habit of doing it. If we neglect it and leave it for some other time – if we postpone it – we will get out of the habit. And if we lose this habit, we have to work hard again to get back into it. But unless we get into the habit of meditation, we will never achieve any results. Just as a car will not start unless we put the key into the ignition, similarly we will never realize God unless we ‘start’ our meditation. Maharaj Charan Singh Ji once said:
Whether you are giving a very soft knock at the door or whether you are giving a very hard knock at the door, whether you are frightened to knock and only shouting, you are at the door and you want the door to be opened to you. Even when we are too nervous to knock, our intention is that the door should be opened and we should get admission. So our effort is there – everybody has a different approach. Everybody who is on the path wants the door to be opened. Effort is when we are sitting in meditation, whether we are too nervous to knock or whether we are knocking. But when the owner of the house sees that you are not interested to get in, he will close the door again.
Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. II
It is human nature to procrastinate. But if we really want to succeed, we need to adapt our lifestyle to Sant Mat and not Sant Mat to our lifestyle. We cannot afford the luxury of being lazy and allowing the disease of procrastination to overpower us. If we want to experience the Truth, if we want to reach the Lord’s gate, then our actions must reflect that desire.
Our meditation is the most important thing in this life, which is so short-lived and so uncertain. Every moment is precious, as we do not know when the call for exit will come.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Quest for Light