Good News and Difficult Truths
We often fail to realize how deeply we are ensnared in this world. Our actions reflect this as we run harder and faster after wealth, fame, relationships, and possessions. We become obsessed with the people, places, and things of this world. Yet in the end we have nothing.
Sometimes we are confronted with the undeniable and difficult truth that we do not belong here. When we are given an inkling of the truth that the world is not our true home, we feel restless and adrift. We begin to ask: Where is our true home, and how do we get from the world, with all its attractions, to that quiet inner peace where the Lord awaits us? Where do we find directions for going home? Is there a road map we can use? We may try different ways to go beyond this world in our search, only to find that we can’t seem to get there on our own. We need help. If we are fortunate, we meet a living Master who can provide the grace and the means to begin this journey home.
The Masters give us the tools to take this journey with instructions at our initiation for how to meditate. They tell us that it is important that we devote sincere effort to meditation. Maharaj Jagat Singh says in The Science of the Soul: “On this path, it is most essential to toil hard. Unless one puts in all the effort and labour that lies in one’s power, and pushes hard, the door will not open.” We often assume that progress will be forthcoming as a result of our efforts. Perhaps we believe that we will be able to easily sit still, concentrate, and keep our attention at the eye centre and that before too long, we’ll see and talk to the inner Master.
This hope for quick and easy progress is an intoxicating idea. Who doesn’t like quick results? But typically the journey home to the Lord is slow and steady as we finish off our karmas of many lifetimes.
So now we are grappling not only with the truth that we don’t belong in this world but that it will also likely take us some time to complete the journey home. However, the good news is that we are on the right road heading in the right direction with the right guide. Few are given this rare opportunity of a human birth and the blessing of meeting a Master who is able to guide them home.
After receiving this blessing, what’s next? The Master tells us to turn our attention inward, to put in an effort to quiet the mind. So not only does he tell us the truth, he gives us operating instructions for the journey. The key to starting and sustaining this journey is meditation and moulding our lives to support this effort. As we make use of the treasure of meditation, we are also given one more inconvenient truth. We hate to admit it, but our effort, our progress, and everything else in our lives are not under our control. Yet our effort is all we can offer – it is a plea for his forgiveness.
How do we deal with these difficult truths? We don’t belong here. The journey home requires great effort and time, and we control nothing. These truths are both harsh and uplifting. Alone we would never be able to go home, but with the Master anything is possible. The bottom line is that the Master tells us to get down to business if we are seriously committed to going home. The Master’s instructions are simple and straightforward. We just need to follow them. In Spiritual Gems we are told:
I took instructions from my own Guru and he gave me the exact method. That method … is simply the concentrated attention held firmly at the given centre…. It is all a matter of unwavering attention…. If one strays away for a time, one has lost the advantage…. If any earnest student should hold his attention fully upon the given centre for three hours, without wavering, he must go inside…. Before that, the mind … jumps around like a monkey. But after a time it will give in and settle down. It is a matter of will to hold the centre, also not to forget nor allow the attention to go off after some other thought or experiences…. The whole thing is just attention.
In following the Master’s instructions we need to let go and live in the will of the Lord. This is contrary to the ways of the world where we are taught to try and influence the outcome in our favour. Then we are disappointed when events are not to our liking. In our ignorance and limited view of the world we seldom know what is good for us. We cannot see behind the veil of illusion of this world. Many times what we wish for is the opposite of what would be in our best interest. Luckily for us, the Master is pulling the strings to direct our lives so that we can finish our karma and keep travelling on the journey home.
We need not worry. The Master is with us every second of our lives. The good news is the promise the Master makes at the time of initiation. It is all done; he has initiated us to Sach Khand. We are destined to return home to the Lord. All we must do is our meditation practice. All we must do is try, again and again. Baba Jaimal Singh in Spiritual Letters says:
Whatever is to be done has already been done, and that is what will happen – man does not do anything by himself…. Man does nothing – only the means for doing appears to come through him….Whatever is to happen has already happened.
We may have meditated for decades and feel we have not achieved anything. The Master suggests that what counts is not the perfection of our work (meditation) but the grace and forgiveness of the Master.
We should focus not on what we have done, but on what he has done for us. We are told that the Master’s grace is overflowing. His gift is that he never leaves us. Thomas Merton, as quoted in Cries from the Heart, says, “Whether you understand it or not, God loves you, is present in you, lives in you, dwells in you, calls you, saves you, and offers you understanding and light which are like nothing you ever read in books or heard in sermons.”
God-realization is the main purpose of human life and we should take full advantage of it. Please do not worry if you do not seem to be making as much progress as you desire. No effort on our part goes unrewarded. Every moment that we put in on the Lord’s way is credited to our account. Our personal effort is most essential for spiritual progress, though also a great deal depends upon our past karmas and the tendencies and inclinations created by them…. Then again, love, faith, and devotion play a great part in making spiritual progress, though effort takes first place.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Divine Light