Every human being is born to have a relationship with the Lord. The Lord is in our lives every minute of every day, but often we become absorbed in the day-to-day demands of our life and do not realize this. We are told that not a leaf moves or a breath taken without his will. But do we really believe that? Have we shifted our thoughts and deeds to be aligned with and experience that relationship with the Lord?
Until that relationship becomes known, Rumi, as quoted in Mysticism, the Spiritual Path tells us:
Our reality is hidden from us.
Poor man knoweth not himself;
From greatness doth he come,
But alas, he hath become small!
Even though we have come from the greatness of the Lord, we may feel small and inconsequential. Though we may achieve some of our worldly goals and desires, we still often feel restless. We start to wonder about our purpose in life. The question emerges, why am I here? In asking this question we sense that there is a reality that is hidden from us. How do we find that which is hidden?
Do we travel to a far-away place exploring the unknown, or do we look within the recesses of our heart to get in touch with our deepest thoughts and feelings? Essential to the search for spirituality is a guide – a living Master who has made that inner journey back to the Lord. If we find a Master to entrust ourselves to, then we have the opportunity to appreciate, strengthen, and commit to a relationship with the Lord. To build that special bond, we need to become familiar with God. Brother Lawrence, a 17th-century Christian monk, tells us: “I made it my business to be in the Lord’s presence.” In doing so, the Lord “begets in us a holy freedom and a familiarity with God .”
We need to turn our attention and energy toward that quest – to make it our business and our priority. To achieve that familiarity and closeness with the Lord, we need a living Master to help us realize that hidden treasure within. To awaken spiritually we go through a process of transformation. One of the greatest tools we have to assist us in that transformation is to constantly think of the Lord. The tool we can use to think of him throughout the day is our simran. In thinking of the Lord, we are seeking his grace and we are making a habit of remembrance. Maharaj Charan Singh, quoting the Adi Granth, says in Spiritual Discourses, Vol. II:
When, after coming into contact with a saint, people meditate on the unutterable Love, the Word, the Name, they reach such a high degree of consciousness that “between them and the Lord, now no difference remains.” By worshipping the Lord, they go back and become the Lord.
However, we often feel unworthy to meet the Lord. We may need to be shaken up and awakened to loosen our worldly attachments. The Master gives us courage to look within, to question, to challenge and to eventually accept and surrender. A great part of our journey is to just surrender and accept his will. To break with the ties of this world, the Master takes us on a journey. Sometimes we may feel like we have no idea where he is taking us. But he is our spiritual travel companion and guide. So let’s feel confident that he knows the entire route, and step on the plane with him. It is the Lord that gives us the power and the desire to turn away from the world and direct our efforts inward. We need the power of Shabd – the sound and light – to realize our soul’s connection to the Lord.
Rumi captures this feeling when he tells us:
My soul is screaming in ecstasy
Every fiber of my being
is in love with you…
My arrow of love
has arrived at the target
I am in the house of mercy
and my heart
is a place of prayer.
Rumi, as quoted in The Love Poems of Rumi
Through that inner connection of love, our heart becomes a place of prayer. Only the Lord is important and critical to our salvation. With him, we have everything. Without him, we are lost and afraid. We feel empty. Which would we rather feel – the love of the Lord or alone and lost in this universe?
Too often we feel the Lord is separate from us. Yet the Lord is always with us. Saints advise us to let the Lord be the only love of our life. To do this we need to take action. Action translates to meditation and right living. It is not merely thinking about these things and vowing to get to them tomorrow. We don’t know if tomorrow will come. The beauty of action is that it slowly begins to create awareness in us of who we really are – soul, with an inborn connection to Shabd. As awareness grows, so does our awakening and transformation. In practising his presence it becomes natural to us. What a wonderful state to be in – to feel familiar and natural with the Lord.
Living in the world and making effort to achieve a spiritual life is not easy. Many of us struggle. Our mind, our associations, our attachments, they all pull us down. We go through cycles where we may feel devoted and other times when we feel dry. We have to subdue the mind, and the only way to do that is through meditation. Only then will the sting of the world, our attachments, our relationships, our desires be controlled. The mystics admit that this struggle to control the mind is constant. It is not an effort of a year or two but that of a lifetime.
We have been given the greatest gift and promise from the Lord – that he loves us and wants us home again. He does whatever is needed to pull us out of this world. We are not meant to be lost and wandering. He makes us receptive to his love. We are meant to escape, to be free. It is in his hands to reveal that which is hidden.
Every human being is born to have a relationship with the Lord. We need to nurture and build that relationship. We have been sent a living Master who knows the way back to the Lord, and who will lead us there. We need to practise living in his presence. Building that relationship requires effort and dedication. He showers endless grace on us. Once we are initiated our destiny is sealed. Bliss awaits us.