The sixteenth-century Catholic theologian Blaise Pascal wrote, “All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.” This observation still holds true today, perhaps even more so in this hectic 21st-century environment. Masters and saints encourage us to sit alone quietly and contemplate.
Why do we find it difficult to sit quietly alone in the corner of our house for our daily silent prayer, our meditation? When we sit for meditation, many of us are faced with endless chatter in our minds, rather than the experience of stillness. The mind distracts us, and the senses pull us toward outer, materialistic attachments with the result that we grow increasingly unaware of our true nature of calm and peace.
Saints come to awaken us. They ask us to consider the purpose of our lives. When we listen to their teachings, we begin to stop the continual chatter of the mind long enough to ask: what do we want out of our lives, and what are we going to do about it? In answering these questions, we first need to determine whether we are looking towards the creation or to our Creator to achieve our goals. Each one of us has to search deep within ourselves to understand what we value most. Saints guide us to look inward and to become aware of our true selves.
Mystics explain that the source of creation is within each one of us. They tell us that the divine Shabd is present in every pore of our bodies and every part of creation. That spiritual treasure is within each one of us in equal measure. So, what is missing? The consistent application of the meditation technique, which the Master has bestowed on us at the time of initiation. Through initiation, the Master has given us a new direction, and we have to follow it to change our life.
Meditation will raise our consciousness. Over time, through self-surrender and devotion to Nam, we grow spiritually, without which we can neither know the Creator nor comprehend his qualities. We must commit to the daily practice of meditation to raise our consciousness, even when the meditation is a struggle. When we do this, our higher, finer qualities emerge, and we eventually rise above the chattering mind and the outer influences of the world. Meditation changes our focus, shapes our beliefs and our thoughts, and ultimately transforms us. The saint Eknath said in Many Voices, One Song, “The mind has one great gift: if it takes hold of spirituality, salvation becomes its slave.” The saints show us the way to still our minds and break away from old habits and deep attachments. From their own inner experience, they have realized the Divine. They give us the same technique to reach our spiritual home and fulfil our destiny. They have given us the compass; they point our direction inward. Saints have given us the encouragement to put in the effort to do our daily meditation, and most importantly, they create a love for the Lord within us. Ultimately it’s that love that becomes our focus, eliminates attachments, and stills our mind. That love transforms us and is the greatest reward. Hazur says in Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. II:
You are meditating because you are in love with him, you want to become one with him. A lover never loves because he wants the wages of his love. If a lover wants the wages of his love, he is not a good lover at all.
With the help of our spiritual teacher and our meditation, we develop true love, and in that love, we enjoy the inner stillness in which we eventually experience what the saints mean when they quote Psalm 46:10 from the Bible, “Be still and know that I am God.”