Too often emotions, rather than clear thinking, cause us to do things we would not normally do, or to react impulsively with no reflection on the consequences. Yet, we are constantly reminded to keep our reactions in check.
Parents who have to deal with children during a tantrum or a sibling fight tend to call for a ‘time out’ where everyone is supposed to disperse and remain silent for a fixed period of time until they are able to come together to discuss things calmly.
A time out is also used by athletes when an opponent starts to become too dominant or overwhelming. They use this time to take a breather, gather their thoughts, and strategize on new tactics to win the game.
For all purposes, a time out is a welcome break that has amazing potential for productivity and success.
Our Master has given us a wonderful chance to call for a ‘time out’ at any point in our daily lives. Meditation gives us the opportunity to retreat to the backstage of this worldly play, take a break from the drama of life, gather our strength, and readjust our focus.
While living in this fast-paced world, we find ourselves constantly being swept away by the tide of our aspirations, our responsibilities and our attachments, to the extent that we forget that this is simply a transition period in our existence – our true happiness lies far beyond these things.
Our meditation allows us to switch from being performers to spectators; it helps us get our bearings and re-orient ourselves in the right direction. That sense of detachment that we are able to experience in our meditation allows us to put things into perspective and consciously choose our next move in life – to act instead of react.
There is, however, an important difference between taking time out in meditation versus taking time out during a fight or a tournament. People generally take time out to think things over, but a meditative time out enables us to stop thinking.
We already know the answers to most of our questions and the strategies to adopt for most of our endeavours, but the answers are buried under the clutter of obsessive thought, worry and fear.
Dr Sherri Wilcox, in her book Gift of Freewill, says:
If you wish to know the specifics of how you will do this or that or how this or that will be accomplished, then that is for you to ask these questions to yourself in that silent space within you. And you shall be given the answers.
When we sit for meditation first thing in the morning, we tend to use the time to plan for chores that need to be done during the rest of the day; we worry about what will or will not happen; we strategize about how we will deal with all the possible outcomes. And if we meditate after running around all day, then we use this precious time to assess what we have achieved and how far we have come, how we feel and why we feel that way. But is this really a time out? If our mind is in constant motion, how then can we clear the mental clutter and confusion that assails us? How then can we learn to see the bigger picture?
So when we sit down to meditate, let us remember what a fantastic opportunity we have been given to take a time out from our mind – to stop thought and enjoy mental silence. As Maharaj Charan Singh reminds us, “Simran of the Master cuts the simran of the world.” Every round of simran will delete a thought, will clear the pathways within. Every round of simran will make us more receptive to the wisdom and guidance of our Master, who actually called for the time out in the first place and is waiting for us to listen to his Word and unravel all the answers.
Life is precious and it is only after thousands of years that you got your turn to be born as a human being. This opportunity should not be lost, and every minute that you can spare from your duties should be devoted to simran and bhajan so that you may soon go in and thus finish your round of births and deaths.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Light on Sant Mat