Randomness versus Order
When we look at the events and progress of our lives, we might be forgiven for thinking that we are the victims of random and chaotic forces. We never know what will happen next. When the phone rings, we never know what news it may bring – will it be good news or bad?
Aeroplanes crash killing hundreds, or perhaps the happy news that a new baby is born in the family. A virus arrives on the scene with the potential to kill millions of people, sending everyone into a frenzy of fear and paranoia. Scientists tell us there is a strong possibility that a huge asteroid could collide with the earth, causing another mass extinction. The world seems to be a place where human beings strive in vain to create order out of chaos.
In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. There is neither randomness nor chaos in the universe. Everything in the entire universe is operating precisely according to law. To illustrate this, let us imagine two snooker balls on a snooker table. If we strike the first ball with our cue, it will travel precisely in the direction we strike it, with precisely the energy or speed that we give it. Then if it strikes a second ball, the two exchange energy and both will head off in different directions that can be precisely calculated.
Theoretically the balls would keep on going indefinitely, colliding and interacting, changing direction and energy. But in the real world they would slow down and eventually stop, owing to the drag of the felt surface of the table and a bit of air resistance proportional to their speed. However, if we had enough information we could calculate the exact path and speed of each ball at any stage, and know exactly where and when they would collide, and where they would eventually stop.
This could be taken as a very much simplified illustration of karma and its effect on our lives. When we came into this world, we came with a certain momentum – a specific direction and energy. Even now we are moving along in a manner determined by our past actions. Our path will intersect with others, and the nature and effect of our interactions could be calculated or predicted absolutely, if we had the relevant information.
Now, if we imagine removing the snooker table, we can consider millions and millions of snooker balls all moving in different directions in three-dimensional space. And each one is on its own predetermined course – colliding with various other balls at various places and times, according to the predetermined path of each ball. In addition to their movement and collisions, each of these balls is blinking in and out of existence.
Each ball represents a life, and as each soul comes to the end of its earthly life it disappears, because it is no longer on the physical plane. Then it reappears, moving in the direction determined by the karmas assigned to that new life, with an energy or speed that has been likewise determined. This may give the impression of absolute chaos, that each collision takes place in a totally random way. But this response is incorrect because nothing is random.
Our own karmas have been incurred by our own actions, and will shape the events and nature of our onward journey in life. Only that which is written in our karmas can and will happen – nothing else is possible! Nothing and nobody can change this fact. As we undergo these karmas we are actually progressing towards our goal, in that we are in the process of accounting for all these debts that stand in our way and bind us to this physical plane.
Viewed from that perspective, everything relating to this life has already been taken care of, so there’s no point in wasting time and energy worrying about it. So what then should be our focus? Meditation!
We are on the path to our home, and our prime directive is to raise our consciousness to the eye centre, where we will meet the Radiant Form of our Master, which is the true Shabd. By Shabd alone we start to clear our path through the maze of the mind and find our way back home.
As Soami Ji says:
Establish your base at the third eye
and have darshan of the inner Master.…
This form of the Master is of unsurpassed beauty –
it will light up your inner being
like the radiant glow of the sun.
Sar Bachan Poetry
We are so fortunate to be on a path that is actually leading us to this objective. We will only fully realize this when we finally rise above the material plane and see for ourselves the wonders of the inner regions. Then, for the first time, we will truly see that nothing is random.
Our perception of randomness is really just the consequence of our inability to grasp the enormous truth of the Lord’s creation. He has created the universe to operate precisely according to his law – his will. As he wishes it to be, so it is. When we realize this, we should take a step back and reassess our priorities. What should be our focus? What should we be attending to as our prime directive?
The fragility of life should instill in us a sense of urgency, because we cannot afford to sit around amusing ourselves with the trinkets and toys of the material world. Time is fleeting. Death is coming for us, no question about that! We just don’t know when.
When we fully realize the implications of our mortality, we need to re-evaluate our situation. What are we doing with our life? Where are we directing our attention and our time? The sad fact is that most of what we do is merely passing time in the most comfortable and pleasant way that we can manage. When we reach the end of this life and we’re about to leave this body, will we do so peacefully, or will we be gripped with mortal terror at the prospect of being flung helplessly into the jaws of death?
And herein lies the problem. Are we keeping our eye on the ball, so to speak? Have we, in fact, taken refuge in the Master? To gain access to the realms within which the mystics so often refer to, is no easy task. We may complain that we do not see, we do not hear, we do not experience all the wonderful things we have been told about. That spiritual state is like the legendary pot at the end of the rainbow – it never seems to come any closer.
But we should not concern ourselves unduly. The process the Master talks about is actually ongoing within us, whether we are aware of it or not. We have changed, and are changing. The process may be subtle, but it is unstoppable. As long as we are trying, as long as our attention is directed to our Master within, we are making steady progress. Of this there is no doubt. But our attention should be towards the divine rather than the mundane. Every round of simran, every thought of him, are carrying us forward towards our ultimate goal.
We do not want to find ourselves on our deathbed thinking “if only…” Now is the time to decide what kind of end we want and now is the time to firmly set our priorities, so that at our last moment we will have absolutely no regrets and will be able to joyously face the next phase of our soul’s journey.