The Lord Is Everywhere
With regular meditation we begin to see the Lord everywhere and in everything. There is no place – not a blade of grass, not a distant star, not a human life – where the Lord is not present.
When our minds turn toward spirituality we can find inspiration everywhere. We begin to realize that we share common ground with all living beings. With this frame of mind, let’s take a moment to look at the words and lives of two great artists – Van Gogh and Pissarro.
Vincent Van Gogh is one of the most recognized artists in the Western world. Although he spent his life in poverty, today his paintings are world-famous. The purpose of Van Gogh’s life and work was not money, fame and worldly success. Van Gogh was dedicated to learning, practising, and experimenting. About his work he said, “I risk my life for it, and my sanity is half shot away because of it.” Painting was his purpose. He said, “One becomes a painter by painting.”
Similarly, our purpose in life is meditation. One becomes a meditator by sitting in meditation. One achieves self-realization by sitting in meditation. There is no substitute for meditation. In the same way that a person cannot become an artist by talking a good game, by reading books about art theory, or longing to have talent, as followers of Sant Mat, we cannot experience spirituality by giving or hearing satsang, by reading Sant Mat books, or by gazing at photos of our Masters. We can take a lesson from Van Gogh and become as dedicated to meditation as he was to painting. Maharaj Charan Singh says in Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. II:
We have to form a habit of meditation. If I say that I will meditate when I feel the urge, I will perhaps never meditate. If you think “I will meditate when I feel the right atmosphere”… you will always go on giving excuses to yourself and you will never attend to meditation.
We need to make meditation a habit, something that we do each day at a particular time – just as we go to the office or sit down for a meal at a particular time each day. Hazur says in Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. II:
Daily, regularly and punctually, we have to go on doing it, and ultimately we succeed. Then we would not like to live with ourselves, we would not feel happy, we would not feel that the day has been rightly spent if we have not given time to meditation. We are creatures of habit, and when once we get into the habit of trying to meditate, then that very habit will help us in concentrating.
With the same tenacity that Van Gogh showed for painting, we can develop tenacity for meditation. And like Van Gogh, our wealth lies in our efforts, not in a worldly perception of results. Do we have the courage to make our lifetime work something that is not recognized by the world at large?
Another artist we can learn from is Camille Pissarro, an impressionist who created revolutionary landscape paintings. He ingeniously used the confines of a firmly structured space (his canvas) to convey perspective, mass, volume, light and changing atmospheric effects. He turned the mundane into something beautiful. To look at his paintings is to be transported to late nineteenth-century France.
In his captivating paintings Pissarro often used a vanishing point. What is a vanishing point? Imagine we’re standing in the middle of train tracks, looking down the tracks as they stretch into the distance. Eventually two rails appear to become one and then disappear. Where they disappear is the vanishing point. In his paintings Pissarro would lure the eye down a road or along a river to a vanishing point, creating depth and an intriguing perspective on a relatively small flat surface. Through his paintings, we enter a world much larger than his canvas.
What does Pissarro’s vanishing point have to do with our lives on a spiritual path? Just as Pissarro transformed a small flat canvas, we can create beauty, light, and perspective on the small flat “canvas” of our lives. And, as Pissarro shows us, it is the vanishing point that makes all the difference. This vanishing point is not our physical death at the end of life, but the vanishing of ego, the merging into oneness. We are lured into the distance of a beautiful painting by Pissarro, and we are lured into a vanishing point during our meditation, where ego and individuality fall away. Hazur states in Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. II:
To become one with the Other, to lose your own individuality and to become the Other, that is a real spiritual experience. To become the Father, to lose your own individuality.… We want to lose that individuality and become one with the Creator. The whole purpose of meditation is to lose our identity, lose our individuality, and to become one with the Creator. That is the whole purpose.
So, paradoxically, our lives have perspective, spiritual perspective, when we vanish. If we can’t let go of our identities, we are like a crude painting with no dimension. When we see the Creator in every part of the creation, we are remembering the Lord, the Shabd, and the best moments of our meditation. Hazur Maharaj Ji says in Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III, “Attaching to everybody is attaching to none. Attaching to the One who’s in everybody is attaching to the Creator.”