A Higher Perspective
Life for many of us is like looking through a peephole or a tunnel. Our vision and our perspective are limited. While living our individual and separate lives, we become caught up in our own stories, and so we believe that our life experience in this time and place is everything.
From a higher perspective, our life – our physical experience of the body and senses, which means everything to us and which we hold onto so tightly – is a small piece in a puzzle. If we look at the earth from an airplane or even a tall building, we find a different perspective than when we are on the ground. And from outer space, we can imagine the earth, looking like a tiny ball of life, slowly turning to the tune of the universe.
In the physical body, we mostly operate from our mind and senses and act according to thoughts and feelings. Influenced by family, culture, and the rhythm of our times, we live our days mostly unconsciously, swimming with the flow of those around us. Is it possible to change our perspective and find equanimity through all the ups and downs of life? Could it all be a question of how we choose to look at ourselves and the world?
In Concepts and Illusions, the author says:
How often have we watched the clouds lazily pass over us in the sky – each individual draws his own conclusion about its shape, and even while we are visualizing the shape, it continuously changes. The shapes the clouds form are illusions and eventually evaporate into nothingness. Our lives and relationships, wealth and poverty, happiness and sadness are the same – merely illusions. As we watch them, they slowly evaporate into nothingness.
The Masters and saints give us the perspective of a spiritual life. They maintain that life in this physical world itself is only an illusion, a dream in which we find ourselves. They tell us that we cannot find permanent happiness through external objects. In the Bhagavad Gita we read:
Pleasures from external objects
Are wombs of suffering.
They have their beginnings and their ends;
No wise man seeks joy among them.
Quoted in Living Meditation
When we experience the transient and fickle nature of the world, we search for the safety of permanence and unchanging truth. The Masters offer us an opportunity to experience reality from a higher perspective. They don’t ask us to accept their words blindly; but instead, they give us a method of discovery that leads us to the understanding of how things really are. By following the practical steps taught by the Masters, we experience truth for ourselves and overcome our deep-rooted illusions. A disciple feels immensely grateful to the Master for revealing the path of meditation. Guru Angad Dev says:
If a hundred moons were to rise,
and a thousand suns appeared –
even with such light,
there would still be pitch darkness
without the Guru.
Quoted in Concepts and Illusions
Through initiation, the Master teaches us how to realize God within ourselves. He shows us how to go within through the practice of meditation and to gain an awareness of who we really are. Then we learn that we are not a drop in the ocean, but an entire ocean in a drop, to paraphrase an expression sometimes attributed to Rumi.
The Master sees our potential to evolve, and through the very act of initiation, he invites us to find a new perspective. In Living Meditation, the author says:
Meditation helps us reach a state where we can detach ourselves from our emotions and obsessions. Through Shabd meditation, we actually experience that we are not these ever-changing identities that we assume through our feelings and neuroses, but that we are fundamentally pure and constant.
Living in this world, yet not of it, the Master is ever in touch and present with the Shabd or primal essence of God. His words and actions are continually steeped in the love of the Lord. While we absorb ourselves mindlessly with the ways of the world, the Master keeps his gaze and attention constantly towards the truth and light of the Shabd, and he urges us to do the same.
The Masters and saints have the highest perspective. They have risen above the limitations of this world and are full of the greatest love. In their presence, we get a glimpse of a higher reality that shines through them, although they are in a human body like ours. They ever invite us to share in this higher perspective and to eliminate the distance between us and the Lord within us. Sultan Bahu says:
Love flourishes in that heart
in which glows the Name of God.
The love of God is like the fragrance of musk –
even a thousand wrappings cannot hold it in;
or like the sun, which cannot be hid behind one’s fingers,
or like a river that cannot be stopped in its course.
My Friend is in me, in my Friend am I;
there is no distance left between us.
Our perspective makes all the difference. During this life, we have a rare privilege, a unique opportunity to free ourselves from our false and limited perspectives based on thinking that the external world is the only reality. When we devote ourselves to meditation, we begin to develop a higher perspective, and we start to get a taste of the permanent love that is the essence of our being. That higher perspective changes our experience of life in every way. Eventually, as our meditation brings us to the awareness of the love of God that glows within us, we realize that “there is no distance left between us.”