Let’s Get Going
There is a wonderful story in Tales of the Mystic East entitled “How the Bengali Babu Won the War with His Mind.” It reads:
In the days when Great Master was working in Rawalpindi he came across a kind and devoted Bengali gentleman. One day he asked him the following question: “Have you been able to control your mind? Has it been attached to the sound current inside?” “Yes, but only after a great struggle,” he replied. “How did you do it?” the Master enquired. He said, “When I used to return from the office, I would have a bath and sit in meditation until I had tasted the spiritual bliss within me. I would not even get up to eat. I would tell the servant to leave the dinner for me and go to bed. Sometimes I had to sit till three o’clock in the morning before my restless mind would come around. Only after my mind had withdrawn inside and enjoyed the inner bliss would I get up to eat. Otherwise, I would stay hungry.”
From this story we are made aware of how our mind will not allow us to do our meditation if we listen to its biddings – but it can be overcome and made to do our bidding if we engage in the struggle. The danger is that we may use the excuse that it is just too challenging and then avoid doing our meditation or attend to it only half-heartedly because we want to get on with our “real” life.
The truth of the matter is that meditation is our real life. Returning to the Lord is the real reason for which we have been blessed with this human form, and thus meditation is our real job. Everything else in creation, in our life, is simply an illusion and will end one day – perhaps sooner than we think. So what are we waiting for? For days, months, years, decades – indeed for most of our life and previous lives – we’ve made the faulty assumption that we have all the time in the world.
We may have convinced ourselves that we will attend properly to our meditation when we resolve the problems in our lives, the internal issues we struggle with or the obsessions we entertain. But we actually don’t have all the time in the world. Each day our lives are ebbing slowly away. Are we content to let the mind distract us in such a way that we forget why we are here? Are we comfortable with the prospect of having to come back again for another birth or two or three? We would not have been initiated if we couldn’t do our meditation. So let’s drop the excuses, whatever they may be.
The Masters advise us to leave our worries and cares to them and attend to our real work – meditation. If we can do that much, we have the assurance that they will take care of the rest. As Maharaj Sawan Singh advises in Spiritual Gems, “Your worries and cares are Master’s worries and cares. Leave them to him to deal with. Having become carefree, your business is to cultivate his love.”
The Master is protecting us every step of the way. Leaving our worries and concerns in his capable hands, we can engage in the struggle with the mind and attend to our meditation, no matter how long it takes. It is a fact that progress on the path is slow. But we must not use this slowness as an excuse not to get going!
In fact, Great Master reminds us in Spiritual Gems:
Stilling the wild mind and withdrawing the attention from the body and concentrating it in the eye focus is a slow affair. A Sufi says, “A life period is required to win and hold the beloved in one’s arms.” Concentrating the attention in the eye focus is like the crawl of an ant on a wall. It climbs to fall and falls to rise and to climb again. With perseverance it … does not fall again.
We can’t lose heart just because our meditation challenges us. We need to understand that the battle to fight the mind is ongoing. At initiation we were given the tools – simran and bhajan – to help us engage the mind and ultimately win our way. If we choose simran to focus our mind and brush away the extraneous thoughts we have throughout the day, we begin to win the battle. We will eventually cut at the root of our desires, dilute the downward tendencies of the mind, and win a victory for our soul.
Finally, Soami Ji is quoted in the book Sultan Bahu: “With every breath, be vigilant and attentive. Let not a moment pass without simran of the Name.”
It’s time to get our priorities in order and show our gratitude to our Master for his priceless gift of simran. Let’s not have any more delays, any more excuses, any more putting-off until tomorrow. Let’s get going now!