Light and Faith
There was once a man who wanted to make an urgent journey during the night. He had been to visit a friend but now his family needed him and it was time he returned home. It was very dark and he knew the road would be rough and that the entire ten miles was unlit. All he had to guide him on his way was a tiny lantern. He stood hesitating on the doorstep of the house, wondering how he would reach his destination when the little lantern’s beam only shone ten feet ahead.
“Is something wrong my friend? Can I help?” asked a passer by. The man explained his dilemma.
“But don’t you see?” said his well-wisher. “Because you are holding the lantern, the light will travel with you. Never fear – it will always be ten feet ahead of you and that is all you need, however far you travel.”
There is a parallel for all of us here. Where have we come from? We are actually drops of the divine ocean of love. We are all children of God – children who are a long way from home. The path of Sant Mat has been given to us by a loving Creator to take us back home. Recognizing that we have a long way to go may present a terrifying challenge, but having acknowledged our situation we should then focus on what is asked of us on a day-to- day basis. Sant Mat is a path best walked one step at a time; we don’t need to see all the way, provided we have courage and faith. The step ahead is already lit up by the light we carry with us – the light we were given at initiation, which is the Shabd form of the Guru. By using our simran and bhajan we can help ourselves to live in the moment, stepping forward happily and confidently.
Living in the moment is possible for all of us. When we do this, we invite the Creator to accompany us and can see his guiding hand in everything around us. In Living Meditation we read: “Our life is made up of a string of moments. Being true to each will improve the quality of our life.”
Actually the Masters discourage us from spending time speculating on the stages of our inner journey and analyzing our progress. Speculation is akin to the man with his lantern worrying about the darkness beyond it. Such speculation reduces spirituality to an intellectual concept which, as the story of the lantern illustrates, is unnecessary. It is far more important to ‘just do it’ by putting what we have been taught into practice, one day at a time, one step at a time.
Having faith in our own light, our “lantern” of the divine within us, is rather like being the little child that Jesus Christ held up as a model for discipleship. Saint Matthew’s gospel in the Bible tells us:
At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Maharaj Charan Singh used to explain that a child is simple and innocent. He does not calculate – if you give him diamonds or pebbles it makes no difference to him. When his hand is in his father’s, he is happy to take whatever comes. Above all, he is trusting, and this is the childlike quality which will help us best on the spiritual path. It is faith in the teachings and faith in our Satguru that will make it possible for us to step forward.
Baba Afdal Kashani, an early thirteenth-century saint from Persia, advised us not to speculate, worry or analyze:
Don’t regret the past;
release your worries
about the future.
Don’t think about yourself –
and stop trying not to!
Now’s the time
to leave the shore –
the ocean of Unity
is calling …
don’t listen …
don’t see …
don’t say …
don’t think …
don’t be …
Baba Afdal Kashani in Love’s Alchemy, tr. D & S Fideler
If we can stop worrying and start trusting, that small lantern will light the road before us every step of the way.