Being Who You Really Are
Living in this world is no picnic. In fact, if we were to conduct an informal survey on what people think of the world as a place to live in during these times, we might be surprised at how few positive responses there would be. We are constantly being bombarded with bad news in every area of endeavour on our planet. Everything that sustains our society seems to be eroding – kindness, compassion, morality, respect for one another and even respect for ourselves.
Hazur tells us that this world has always been an unhappy place. However, what concerns the Masters is how our sojourn in this gloomy, illusionary world, affects our innocent, pristine souls. Soami Ji has this to say:
Heavy, intense darkness prevails in the world
and the body is a storehouse of shadows.
Whether they are awake or asleep, I see people
helplessly caught in the maze of the creation.
Through ignorance of its own real home
the soul is living here like a homeless wanderer,
stumbling through different life forms,
tossed about in the cycle of birth and death.
Moment by moment she lives her days in utter misery,
defeated, demoralized and crying in pain,
but who is there to listen to her cries?
Sar Bachan Poetry
The sole purpose of the teachings of the saints, as guardian of our souls, is to galvanize us to obey the vows that we made to our Master so we can realize our true essence. The tragic truth is that we are those souls living in “utter misery, defeated, demoralized and crying in pain.” We are not objective bystanders looking on and shaking our heads in sympathy. We are the souls that Soami Ji is talking about.
We need to act now. We are morally obliged to move from our narrow-minded, false and misleading view of who we are to a spiritually accurate view of our true reality as spiritual beings. The Master is here for each of us and only with his love can we begin to recognize that we are not body and mind. Only he can lead us to this understanding. As Soami Ji says:
‘I am here to explain to you now
that only the Master can save you.
Burn your attachments to the world
in the fire of your love for the Master –
the kind of love that should make you forget
your body and mind.
Obtain the alchemy of Nam from the Master
and be free of all your confusion.
Only the Master is able to save us from Kal’s web of attachments and from returning lifetime after lifetime to this realm. Receiving initiation from him is the key to this huge privilege. In the book, From Self to Shabd, the writer says: “Ignorance of who we are is the ‘disease’ at the root of all our problems.”
We are not yet clear about who we really are. Can we become aware of who we are if we live in the illusion that we are separate from all other beings? As we read in self to shabd:
The misconception that we exist as a separate individual is a big hurdle on the path of spirituality. Soami Ji Maharaj says, “Man does not know who he is, whose essence he is, nor where He (the Source) is.”
Not knowing that in reality we are the formless, deathless Shabd, we remain stuck in the identity we have created as we go through our human experience.
What we already know – and accept – is that, as we read in The Path of the Masters, “All men are born to an inheritance far beyond and above their wildest flights of fancy.” Our egos make this concept very easy to accept. Man has always aspired to being more deserving of better circumstances. And the Masters promise us that the process of learning the true value of self will be most illuminating. As the author confirms: “When a man gets but a glimpse of what he really is now, and especially of what he may yet become by a little effort, that knowledge will give him the greatest possible inspiration.”
We must examine our soul to see if we are in a fortunate or poor spiritual state. How do we do this? The Masters tell us that the soul is Shabd, and Shabd is the essence of every being – every creature, every entity, everything that comprises the world we live in. However, this still doesn’t enable us to examine our own soul.
There is a truth about the soul that true mystics and even some quantum physicists agree upon – and that is that Shabd is love and therefore the soul is love. Understanding this, we have some idea of how to examine our soul. We know that true mystics are supreme living examples of love – embodiments of love. By studying how the Masters conduct themselves we have some idea of what we have to do to clean up our own act. This ongoing introspection and re-evaluation of our spiritual state, holding the impeccable model of our Master before us, should enable us to shape ourselves with the objective of realizing our spiritual essence.
Baba Ji has told us so often that we ought to constantly ask ourselves: why are we on the path? Why do we meditate? Where are we trying to go with our spiritual practice? We know our goal: to eventually become one with God. We need to keep this goal in mind. We must keep in mind the magnitude of our divine objective.
We have been instructed in the techniques involved to discover who we are, and the practice has been thoroughly demonstrated. Maintaining this focus on our objective is exactly what our Master requires of us – and what better motivation is there than that of pleasing him? We really can’t go wrong if we focus everything we do on pleasing him. That is true gratitude.
But our lives as disciples on the path are unfortunately not without obstacles. Every obstacle which hinders our progress on the path stems from the mind. American author Will Durant sums up an extract from the philosopher Aristotle’s writing as follows:
We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
Our actions can become habits. If we repeat positive actions often enough, they become what we are. Through prioritizing our simran and bhajan, our spiritual practice will become a natural part of us. With this approach, the divine love we have yearned for will present itself and we will realize our true identity.
This complex creation with which we have become so besotted has not presented us with a single permanent benefit – other than that it has enabled us to meet our Master and enjoy his dedicated friendship and unconditional love. Rumi says:
Do not strive so much to achieve your worldly ambitions;
Strive only in your religious affairs.
Otherwise at the end, your life will be unfulfilled,
your bread unbaked.
Juliet Mabey, ed., Rumi: A Spiritual Treasury.
Rumi is saying that if we put all our effort into our spiritual practice, his grace will ensure that our lives are fulfilled and joyous – and will secure our passage out of this creation.
Pleasing our Master should become our habit and pave the way to our objective. With this as our objective we soon realize that there is no spiritual gain from indulging in material objects and pursuits. The only permanent treasure is attained by our spiritual practice as instructed by our Master.