Real joy is more than common everyday happiness, which is based merely on satisfaction of the senses or some worldly pleasure or relationship. There is nothing wrong with that kind of happiness. Life’s simple pleasures, such as happiness at the birth of a child, satisfaction from a job well done or the purchase of some new gadget or toy brings some happiness. It’s all good – until it’s not. Then we are off looking for something more to lift our spirits.
Deep down inside, we all know there is something more. That something more is always pulling at our hearts and is always leaving us with a sense of emptiness. Oddly enough, there can be a sweet melancholy in that emptiness because that nagging feeling is designed to remind us that God wants us to come home.
Real joy comes from within. We will experience it when we reach the eye centre. This joy manifests as light and sound. The sound, the Shabd, is the voice of God and it is always calling us, always ringing within us. It is the divine energy that permeates all existence. When we connect with this sound, we will experience true love and absolute joy.
This joy is our destiny, and can be realized with practice. What kind of practice? We know that the Master tells us to practise our meditation. The practice of meditation stands above all else and will lead to real and lasting joy. But we can’t spend every moment in meditation. There are places to go, things that must be done. So what practices can we put in place during the rest of the day? What attitudes can we work to develop that will support our meditation?
First, we can practise the way of life prescribed by the Masters to enable us to better succeed on the spiritual path. This means being steadfast in our adherence to the first three vows: keeping a vegetarian diet, abstaining from all addictive and mind-altering substances, and living a moral and honest life. These three commitments help prepare us for the fourth vow – which is a commitment of time and attention to God: two and one-half hours of daily meditation. Meditation is the path to joy. And along that path we can develop habits to support our meditation, because we improve with practice.
Practising joy is an antidote to worry and negativity. Maharaj Jagat Singh tells us in The Science of the Soul:
Life is not worth worrying over too much. It begins in folly and ends in smoke. It has to come to an end one day whether you like it or not. And its middle portion also passes away. The best policy is to laugh its worries away.
Let’s face it, many of us have already reached or passed the middle portion of life. We can certainly testify that everything quickly passes by or fades away. If that is the case, there is not much reason to take life too seriously. Why fret and worry if it is all going to end up in smoke? We should practise being more light-hearted. We must attend to our duties, but we don’t have to do it in misery or take life so seriously.
In Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III, Maharaj Charan Singh talks about the relationship between meditation and acceptance:
Meditation is the solution to all our problems. Instead of putting up your list of demands, put up your meditation…. Events will never change…. happiness lies in adjusting to the events.
Happiness comes with adjusting to the events of life, accepting what comes our way. Instead of the more typical human tendency to pray with a list of demands, just sit quietly and trust God. Just meditate and try to adjust to life’s events as they come, not worrying about what is to come, not fretting over what is already done. This can be done only through meditation.
In Legacy of Love, Hazur further explains: “If we live in his will and if we are grateful to him for whatever he has given us, then we feel extremely happy and light.”
Acceptance of whatever he has given us lays the foundation for contentment. Acceptance and gratitude help us to be lighter and live in positivity. This positivity will also support our meditation. And likewise the peace we get from regular meditation practice will support our positive outlook in life. They go hand in hand.
The longer we are on the path, the more we begin to see the subtle changes in our attitude and approach to life. Perhaps things just don’t get to us the way they used to. Or we find we are more easily able to suspend negative judgment of situations and other people. We at least are more aware of the need to work toward these attitudes.
Hazur, in Quest for Light says, “A slight change in one’s angle of vision makes all the difference.” Can we make it our goal to practise making a slight change? How do we do it?
If you keep the simran all the time with you, you will see how it changes your life and your general makeup of the mind. A slight change in one’s angle of vision makes all the difference.
If we practise simran regularly, both in formal meditation and in our day-to-day lives, it will change the direction of our mind and help us let go of negativity. When we repeat those names, we take our minds out of the hubbub of the world and the chaos of our own minds and put it into a place of calm.
Simran throughout the day helps us deal with the world with calmness and grace. It trains our mind to return to the centre and be still. If we can catch moments of stillness throughout the day, it will help us find our focus and remain in the stillness for longer periods in meditation.
It is in stillness that we will find joy. Simran creates love in our hearts and desire to be with the inner Master. It is that which will pull us up to the eye centre. Hazur continues to remind us:
The eye centre becomes our haven where we can retire for rest and quiet whenever we like. Simran and bhajan with faith and devotion is the method by which this attitude can be attained.
Simran is the antidote for complaining, worry, and anger, but we have to train the mind to turn to it. In times of trouble and times of peace, we need to make simran our constant companion.
Turning to simran will bring us into the present, into the now, and into our Master’s presence. Because he is always with us, we only need to turn our attention to him. Hazur says in Quest for Light: “Forget the past. Live and meditate in the present, and do not worry about the future.”
Live and meditate in the present. Be here now, do our simran, remember the Master’s love. And be grateful.
We are fortunate to have been given a great treasure. Practising meditation will lead to a more relaxed life and to joy. Meditation will, in time, reverse our negative habits; it is the game changer.
Now is our time to practise with as much love, faith, and devotion as we can muster. Step by step, with persistence and perseverance, the unattainable becomes attainable. With practice, we will know the truth. With practice, we will know the love and joy that awaits us within.
Love does not care for caste or creed;
Love is the foe of orthodox canon.
The land of the Beloved is across the river,
And the waves of avarice have engulfed me.
The Master is holding the boat.
Why do you tarry, why this delay?