Happily Ever After
Fairy-tale stories have been around for centuries. A typical plot usually involves a boy and a girl falling in love and in the end, after much drama, living ‘happily ever after’. Similarly, over the years we have seen many movies and read many novels with happy endings. Perhaps, such exposure may have conditioned us from a young age to aspire towards a life that would lead to our own ‘happily ever after’.
This is why we search for happiness in the world around us. We pin our hopes on our spouse, our children, our relatives and even material objects to make us happy. But saints repeatedly tell us that we are looking in the wrong place. They explain that this physical world is an illusion and this human life is just a dream. Therefore, any happiness we experience here is short-lived and temporary. Sooner or later, we will have to confront pain and suffering in one form or another. They remind us that real happiness lies within, and can be realized through meditation.
One might ask, if this were true, then shouldn’t every initiate of a true Master be the happiest person in the world? But, this is not the case. The sad reality is that even though we are travellers on the path to God-realization, we linger in a realm of negative thoughts.
If we were to examine ourselves closely, we would realize that most of us spend the day complaining rather than being grateful. Waking up on a rainy day, we complain how the bad weather ruined our plans. Sitting for meditation, we complain how difficult it is to curb the wandering mind. Travelling to work, we complain about our boss, how tired we are, or how horrendous the traffic is.
Perhaps we are so set in our negativity, we do not even realize it. Let’s take a step back and try to see what our thoughts would sound like from another perspective. Imagine what it would be like to have a grumbling GPS turned on while driving. It’s a beautiful day. The sun is out, you are relaxed, the car is packed with provisions, and you are ready to explore a new destination. But every time you reach a road junction or turn a corner, there is a complaint, a sigh or a disapproving comment from your ‘Grumble Positioning System’. Imagine it saying, “Oh, what a shame you didn’t turn left there,” or “The café we passed an hour ago was so much nicer than the one you are stopping at,” or “This traffic is terrible – you should have taken a different route.”
Your mood would sink in no time and you would no longer enjoy the trip. You would probably turn off the dreadful GPS and go back to map reading. Who would want to be subjected to such constant, debilitating negativity?
So perhaps we should swap our current Grumble Positioning System for a new Grateful Positioning System – a thought processing system that is positive and accepting.
Having a positive approach makes all the difference in the quality of our life. If we are able to look at every situation in a positive manner, we will be able to sit for meditation with a light and happy heart. And the more we are able to meditate, the more positive and happy our outlook becomes.
Looking at Maharaj Charan Singh for inspiration, we learn how, in every situation, he always looked for the positive. In Legacy of Love, we read of an incident when Maharaj Ji settled down in his seat and said, “Ah, fine weather!” His companions retorted, “How can you say that? It’s wet.” “It could be pouring,” was the optimistic reply. Throughout the trip, his companions were not allowed to say anything negative, as Maharaj Ji would immediately find something positive about whatever was going on, which would always result in a burst of laughter.
When we are positive, we recognize all the different things we have to be grateful for – no matter what our circumstances. The fact that we have been blessed with this human form and have come in contact with a true, living Master is enough reason to be thankful each day.
However, just feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like taking the trouble to wrap a gift but not giving it. The Master reminds us that the best way to express our gratitude is through sincere effort in daily meditation. When we meditate, we honour the promise we made to the Master during initiation. And when we fulfill our duty as disciples, we make the Master’s mission, easier to accomplish. What better way could there be to express our gratitude to him?
Saints remind us that this world is transient and perishable. Nothing lasts forever. Our bad times, heartache, grief are not a life sentence. Things will get better. So why pull a long face and grumble? Why not have a positive approach and cheerfully face the ups and downs of life? When things get tough, we tend to wallow in self-pity and drown in our worries and pain. But let us reflect for a moment and focus on the irreplaceable, unfathomable, most precious gift we have received: the gift of Nam, our beloved Master and his commitment to take us back to our true home, where everlasting joy and happiness await us.
Isn’t it strange, that we are being dragged out of our fiery furnaces and smoky hell and we are being dragged into the fragrance of the eternal rose garden, and all we are doing is howling and lamenting?
Rumi, as quoted in Between Heaven and Mirth
So why not strive to be happy, positive and grateful during our short sojourn here. As initiates on the path, let us be thankful for the ultimate happy ending that the Master has promised us. With his grace and mercy, one day, we will surely reach our true home. It is only a matter of time before the soul-bride reunites with her husband Lord. Together, as One, we shall, most definitely, live happily ever after.
Immortally wedded is the soul bride who attains union with her true Lord.
Guru Nanak, Adi Granth