Saints have often warned us against the volatile tendencies of the mind. The Master has compared its nature to that of a mischievous monkey – fiddling and jumping from one branch of desire to the next. Because of its incessant tricks, we defer our meditation for some immediate gratification; a sports match, a new Netflix show, a social commitment, or a lavish meal tempts us away from our spiritual practice and the promise we made to the Master. Our mind somehow convinces us that we can meditate another time, when we’ll be less busy and worldly matters will need less of our attention. But does that time ever come?
Sometimes a wave of karma overwhelms us, and we lose our balance. It could be the loss of a loved one, a drop in our income or social standing, or poor health. As we put our regular meditation on hold, our difficulties mount, and we begin to doubt our capacity to fulfill our promise. We start wondering if we were really meant to be on the path. We forget the value of this human birth and get buffeted by passing worldly storms. Our mind then succumbs even further to worry and chatter, because we are attached to our loved ones, our wealth and property, our fine clothes, and our high-flying notions of the “good life.” We are afraid of letting go of those attachments and forget that none of them will accompany us beyond this perishable creation.
The only thing that does go with us beyond death is our love for the Master and our devotion to the Word. The Master never lets go of our hand. Even in the toughest times, he watches over us like a faithful friend.
The saints tell us that devotion to him can help turn our fickle minds into allies. The author of Living Meditation tells us how: “By switching our thoughts to simran, we extract ourselves from the world of concepts. We let go of the need to be endlessly entertained by our thoughts, give up our addiction to inner chattering and step out onto the path of inner peace.”
Once we still the bubbling chaos of our minds, we find that our lives become easier, whatever our external circumstances. Simran begins to lighten and cleanse us. We stop attaching ourselves to the objects of the world or letting our happiness be affected by things outside of our control. Over time, we see everything as a gift from the Master, without feelings of doubt or resentment. We learn to let go.
So why stay up all night regretting the past and pondering the future when we can trust our Master and rise above these petty concerns? Part of loving him means having faith in the larger plan he has laid out for each of us. We must live in his will to the best of our ability without giving in to our habitual calculations. We simply need to focus on our bhajan and simran and resist the tricks of the mind. As we learn to give ourselves up to the Shabd and embrace the stillness within, we begin to free ourselves from our addiction to our own inner chatter. As Soami Ji Maharaj is quoted as saying in Discourses on Sant Mat, Vol. II: “You have this opportunity to ascend the throne – give up your habit of pecking through rubbish heaps.”
We are told in satsang that we are all part of one divine being. We must not forget that we are spiritual beings going through a human experience and that our real home is in the kingdom of love. Our separation from God is an illusion, like the separation between a wave and the ocean.
Our reunion with the Supreme Being has already been destined. It is he who first pulled us to the path with a magical tug and then ignited our desire to seek the blessing of Nam. He created for us an environment of satsang, seva, and devotion. The nature of our journey will now be defined by our effort and love. He has done everything for us today, so we must not wait for a better tomorrow to be good devotees.