In this life our breaths should be used wisely and in such a way that as they decrease in total, we increase in our love for the Master and the Lord. It is love alone that counts in the kingdom of the Lord. We only have limited energy, and time is fleeting. The Master tells us that our breaths are numbered. Let us consider these breaths to be the same as money sitting in a bank account, a finite sum of fixed capital, gifted to us at birth. The funds – our breaths – can only leave the account, and we can earn no further income to top it up. Therefore each day the account only gets smaller and smaller. In addition, we never receive a breath statement; we have no idea at any time (from birth onwards) whether we are rich or poor. We will only know what is in the account when we draw our last breath – then the account is at zero and we die. And so for this life the ‘breath account’ is closed.
So we should carefully spend what breaths we have wisely. As we only have a fixed amount of breaths, then it would be prudent to ensure that they are used in order to secure for us that single most valuable purchase available only in human life – liberation of our soul. To use our precious breaths in exchange for anything else except this would mean we will leave this world truly empty-handed.
It is natural to experience periods of failure. These are inevitable and even very necessary on the road towards any success. While striving to improve our current situation, inevitably we will experience difficulties, temporary setbacks or periods when progress seems to have stopped. We just need to keep on putting in the effort – that much is in our hands.
As travellers on the spiritual path we have the Master’s absolute assurance that there are no failures in Sant Mat. With that guarantee we can forge ahead with confidence knowing that in the end, with his grace, we will reach our spiritual destination.
With the Master at the helm of the ship of our life, we will reach the distant shore. Storms may come, we may drift, or flounder, or we can feel becalmed and directionless in an ocean whose distant shores we cannot even comprehend. But the Master will carry us home. He will ferry us across. He intimately knows us, he understands the ways of the ocean of phenomena, he knows its depth and the forces that make it swell and rage. He knows the faithful winds that will carry us homeward as well as the bright beacons of navigation that will illuminate our way. We are not the ones in control, we are not the captains of our ship – he is. We simply need to have faith in his orders and keep within his commands.
Our true priority is God-realization. Everything else in our lives should support this one clear objective. Our meditation is the chief means of fulfilling this objective, and so it should never be missed – not for one day. If we have meditated today, then we have done what God has wanted from us and we have fulfilled our promise to him. If instead we present him with a list of other good and wholesome tasks that we have performed – but we have not done our meditation – then the day has been wasted and precious time lost.
Great Master said, “If you can’t bring me your success, bring me your failure.” He is telling us to put in the effort, and leave the results in his hands – he knows best. When we were initiated the Master took responsibility for our liberation, and as a loving Father he would never ask us to do something that was impossible for us to do. Our perception of failure is the outcome of our misplaced expectations that results will come immediately. The Master knows best when to give and what to give. He knows how many breaths we have left in our account. Our duty is simply to attend to meditation. This is how to live wisely.
We cannot escape the dangers which abound in life without the actual and continual help of God; let us then pray to him for it continually. How can we pray to him without being with him? How can we be with him but in thinking of him often? And how can we often think of him, but by a holy habit which we should form of it? You will tell me that I am always saying the same thing; it is true, for this is the best and easiest method I know.
Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God