Waiting for the Perfect Moment
Maharaj Jaimal Singh gave this advice:
Do not waste time uselessly. Be concerned about time
spent in vain, and regret why so many breaths were wasted,
since they were utilized neither in worldly affairs nor in
We can spend our whole lives chasing certainty, waiting for the time to be just right, for the perfect moment to attend to spirituality. We believe that at some point we will have the courage, motivation and right conditions to accomplish our spiritual goals. But such an attitude leads to a state of limbo and procrastination. Waiting for the perfect moment is a bit like trying to peg down a tent in high winds. We need clarity not certainty in life.
We spend so much time dealing with things that are insignificant that we leave meditation till last. Our duties and obligations consume all our time. At the end of every day we may realize that we have not found the time to meditate at all. Worse still, what if we reach old age and find that our life has whizzed by without our having done any meditation at all? We should get serious about the path.
We are all getting older. Time may be an illusion, but it’s an illusion that’s running out for us. When we were young we thought we would have plenty of time to get around to doing what’s right for our soul. The mind is so subtle it convinces us that we are clearing our plates in order to keep the best for last. But death can remove our plates before we are ready.
One of our problems is that we insist on clinging to our identities. In Concepts and Illusions – A Perspective we read:
A river moves on, and by its own nature it is moving. But if you were to sit on a rock and paddle your feet in its water, it is for the sheer joy of it. But to feel and then to assert that your paddling is the cause for the entire river movement, is the play of your ego.
That’s the same attitude we have towards life. We stress about questions like “What will happen without me?” But we’re not indispensable. Let’s look around us. A country doesn’t stop functioning because its president passes on. Life goes on. Nothing, absolutely nothing, stops life from moving on. It’s like the waves in the ocean – they keep rolling.
We too are constantly changing, from infants to old age. The days are ticking by and our time will soon be up. It’s time to turn our attention inwards. What is impermanent is not worth delighting in and not worth clinging to.
The fact that death is inevitable should motivate our most important decisions. Everything – external expectations, pride, fear of embarrassment or failure – falls away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. No one wants to die, and yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. Are we making the best use of our lives? In Die to Live Maharaj Charan Singh says:
We have to form a habit of meditation. If you say, “When I feel the urge I will meditate,” you would perhaps never meditate. If you think, “When I feel the right atmosphere, then I will meditate. I will sit in the morning. I will sit at noon, I will sit in the evening,” you will always go on giving excuses to yourself; you will never attend to meditation.
Every letter to an initiate from a Master contains an urgent request to attend to bhajan and simran. Maharaj Charan Singh Ji told a questioner:
Whether the answer to your question is in six pages or in a book or in one line, the answer is the same: meditation! It depends upon how much time you want to take to understand that answer – whether by reading the whole book or by understanding only one or two words.
Die to Live
And that pretty much sums up Sant Mat. We are not willing to accept something so simple. We like complicating matters.
When it comes to meditation, we need to be as determined as if we are boring through a tunnel in utter darkness, not knowing when we will break through into the light. It could be today, it could be tomorrow or it could be some years away. Two things are certain: first, we will not reach the light unless we keep drilling, and second, once we break through into the light there will be no return to darkness.
Our time is limited. We do not have the luxury of waiting around for the perfect moment or for ideal conditions to manifest. We have to act now or we will miss the opportunity of our human birth. Our lives should reflect our priorities. The time we get up, what we eat, what we think, what we do and don’t do, all stem from these priorities. Our actions demonstrate our top priority and this automatically becomes the most important thing we do.
It is imperative that we choose to live the life of a true disciple. Meditation has to be at the top of our priorities. If something interferes with our meditation, we should discard it. Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least. Every time we sit for meditation we are doing the most important thing a human being can do.
A satsangi is one who is in contact with truth (sat means truth and sang meaning with). We are either there or we are not. If we are not doing our meditation, then we are not on our way to becoming satsangis. By putting more emphasis on the physical Master than on his teachings, we lose the entire point. The Master’s finger is pointing to the eye centre but we are busy worshipping his finger, not trying to reach where his finger is pointing. Through action we must now do our part for the welfare of our soul.
Given the urgency of our goal, why do we find meditation so difficult, and why do we get so disheartened on the path? One reason is that we want to measure our spiritual progress. As we do in our worldly activities, we look for some kind of scorecard. We are accustomed to seeing results from our worldly efforts. So we approach meditation thinking that the more effort we put in, the more results we should see.
Soami Ji says:
The fruit of worldly actions is quite manifest to the living being and hence he is easily entangled in the world. But the fruit of spiritual work is hidden, and belief in its value is therefore slow to develop.
We not only expect results, but we want those results instantly. Initiation today, enlightenment tomorrow!
What we are ultimately trying to accomplish is not easy. Controlling the mind and senses is the most difficult thing on earth to achieve. It is less complicated if we adapt the rest of our activities to meet this challenge – make it our life’s work. But if we try to squeeze Sant Mat into an incompatible lifestyle, we run into trouble. If we want true freedom, we have to choose between wanting the world or wanting to return to our spiritual home.
Meditation doesn’t work like our worldly activities. We are not able to measure our progress. We have been told simply to meditate – just that. No expectations, no rewards and no scores. Just sit every single day. It is never too late to start trying. At the end of it all, it is his love and grace that will pull us through. Let us do our best; without a doubt, our efforts will please him.
The sole purpose of every satsang, of every Sant Mat book and of our Master working so hard for us every single day is to give us one simple message: we can do our meditation. Otherwise he would not have initiated us. So let’s forget about waiting for the perfect moment and just do it.