Our Lost Soul
Soul, who are you?
Where have you come from?
The mind has created worldly entanglements –
why have you strayed into this net?
You are a child of Sat Purush, the true Lord,
and once you were a resident of the eternal home.
But Kal has put his noose around your neck.
Sar Bachan Poetry
Our soul has strayed into the net of worldly entanglements. You could say it has become lost. What is a lost soul? Maharaj Charan Singh tells us in Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. I:
I think we are all lost souls. By lost souls, I mean the souls who have forgotten the Lord. From what I understand, probably the lost soul means that soul which has forgotten its origin. We have just given ourselves to the world, have forgotten our real home, have forgotten our own real Father. We are all lost souls and we are all struggling souls.
Once we acknowledge this struggle, it becomes our responsibility, our mission, our purpose to return our lost soul to its origin. We have to release it from Kal’s noose and this world of illusion.
Even while our lost soul wanders, we are under the protection of the Lord. The Masters have told us that even without our asking, the Lord knows what to give us. He is not waiting for us to ask him to give to us. He knows what we need, whether we ask him or not. The Lord provides us with the company of the Master to support our longing for God, to encourage us to bring our lost soul home to him, to prod us to satisfy our longing through meditation, through being obedient disciples, through growing tolerance and compassion for ourselves and others.
Many of our difficulties on the path come from incorrect expectations and attitudes. One misconception we have is that pain and suffering are bad and that being initiated and having a Master will protect us from suffering. Ultimately meditation does help us to rise above suffering, but in the meantime we need to understand that suffering has a purpose. If there were no suffering and pain in this world, none of us would ever turn to God for peace and solace.
In Divine Light, Maharaj Charan Singh wrote:
All pleasure, pain, poverty, and disease are parts of our life due to our past actions. Disease, poverty, and pain are for our own good. They turn our face to the Lord and create humility, meekness, and devotion in us. They are essential parts of the economy of creation and are as necessary as health, wealth, and pleasure.
So our entire experience is the soil in which our love for the Lord can grow. Everything that grows needs both sunshine and rain. Understanding this can help us better accept the ups and downs of life as we travel the path. We then can accept that everything the Lord gives us is grace.
Simran and bhajan are the goal and objective of our life. That’s what will evoke the Lord’s grace. We are encouraged to live in the will of the Lord – that is, accepting our circumstances and doing our meditation. In doing so, we feel the presence and grace of the Master. In fact, our only objective should be to obtain his pleasure. If we have that, we have everything. Without the pleasure of the Master, we have nothing.
The Masters tell us that only by following a true Master, alive at the same time that we are alive – a God-realized soul – and meditating according to his instructions and following the lifestyle that he prescribes, can we wake up from this dream and experience the world and ourselves as we truly are.
Because we have forgotten our true home, saints somehow have to convince us of the inner reality and encourage us to persevere in our efforts to pursue it. Hazur says in Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. I: “The Lord himself gives his devotion within us. He gives his own concept. He himself is within us. I do not think we can explain that with words, but intuitively we know it is the Lord.”
He explains that we have come from him and we are trying hard to merge back with him, which is the natural inclination of the soul to go back to its source. That natural inclination compels us to seek him, to work our way toward him, toward the reality. Hazur continues: “He himself implants in us his devotion or his yearning or his longing for himself.”
Unless we actually practise these teachings, all these words we throw around – God, reality, soul, union with the Lord – they remain concepts. The saints often say how impossible it is for someone who is mute to describe the sweetness of molasses. When we meditate, we will be able to experience the reality of the teachings but this experience is beyond description.
We hear and read about the Shabd, which, we are told, manifests as sound and light. But this sound and light may not be what we think it is. In a very interesting passage, Hazur talks about what happens in meditation, after someone asks him how to keep negative impressions from coming into the mind during that time. He says that if we try to eliminate the pressure of the world by negative means, for example, by trying not to think certain thoughts – we won’t succeed. He says when we try to create better impressions in our mind, that pushes out the negative impressions. He says in Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. II, that the mind must form impressions; it must think about something; it can never remain still. But:
If you create the impression of light and sound within – in the mind – the other impressions automatically fade out…. Your object should be to create in the mind the positive impressions of Shabd and light within.
Hazur beautifully explains in Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III, that “the purpose of meditation is to prepare us to accept what the Lord gives, to prepare us not to expect. In prayer we always expect, but in meditation we always accept.”
We need to keep a positive attitude, because if we get discouraged in our meditation, there is a danger we will give it up all together. St. Francis de Sales, a 16th century French priest, wrote that for meditation, “what we need is a cup of understanding, a barrel of love, and an ocean of patience.”
So all we need to do is bring our attention back to the focus over and over, with an ocean of patience for the process. Though the process is very slow and can be very frustrating, we can take joy in knowing that this is all our Master wants from us; that in this simple process we are pleasing him and fulfilling our purpose – bringing our lost souls home to their Father.