Saints tell us that initiation is an opportunity to realize our connection to the Divine. To realize and revitalize this deeply hidden connection, we need to look inside our own selves. By being initiated, we are in no way special or different from anyone else. We are just more curious about reality and what lies beyond death, and more dissatisfied with the smoke screen that our false self – our temporary personality – raises in front of us, blocking access to who we really are. By stepping on this spiritual path, we begin to know our forgotten self, which is the divinity within. This is the self-realization that comes before God-realization.
The one connection that matters most is the connection to our own inner reality, our essence. God is nowhere outside, but closer to us than our own nose. Our true, divine self is like an old relative that has been secretly supporting us, sending us funds, friends, resources, to sustain us and keep us happy – but we did not even know of the existence of this benevolent kin.
In our ignorance, we run after all kinds of other connections, linking ourselves into countless networks that only keep expanding. Yet these attachments obscure the only one that matters. What we are really craving is our inner connection to a reality and a truth that is beyond the shifting sands of our daily struggle for survival. Baba Jaimal Singh in Spiritual Letters explains to his disciple Maharaj Sawan Singh (Great Master) that he has to work on detaching himself from the world in order to become permanently attached to the Divine within: “When the mind is not attached to any external tasks or material forms in the world, when in hardship or happiness the mind does not waver, then is the command for attachment to the inner form given.”
The inner form that Baba Jaimal Singh mentions is our true self. It is what we are eager to realize, to awaken to, to meet face to face. This is truth, because this is what lasts. We cherish our false, temporary personalities, but these will vanish into thin air the moment the body breathes its last breath. Our soul continues its journey loaded with so many karmic actions, good and bad, with so many impressions that it drags from life to life. But all that is false and illusory and does not last; the rust of time washes it away. We want to reconnect with something that is permanent, stable. We want to realize the truth within us. Truth is no abstract formula or idea, but life itself. It is also the essence of our own life. Most important, truth is something that we came from, something we are subordinate to. It is higher than us, bigger than us.
The truth is the Shabd, manifested in the all-powerful, conscious Satguru, who takes notice of the soul’s worth and longing and blends it with itself. The connection, the relationship to the Shabd, is initiated by the Satguru, the true Master. Once this connection is made, the Shabd then keeps the mind tightly in tow – tugging at it like an animal tied to a rope. Pulling the mind thus, little by little, the Shabd blends it with itself and leaves it behind in Trikuti, allowing the soul to go beyond the mind and maya, the illusion of this world.
Some people say that there is no such permanent truth, but the mystics disagree because they have touched and experienced it, and once they experience it, they all begin to speak the same language: the language of universal love and compassion, the language of unity and inner silence.
Mystics come to show us where truth can be found. The mystic comes to us in a human form, but he does not say that the truth is in that form. He says that truth is in the Shabd, the holy spirit. The physical form is an ambassador for that power in this land of limitation and darkness. As a faithful ambassador of the holy spirit, the Master always challenges us, claiming that he may be a fraud. He does not want us to worship the physical, including his own form. Indeed, if we get stuck on the level of the physical, if we do not make the effort to attain inner spiritual truth, to find truth in our own inner castle, we are just going from one illusion to another. Without the connection to the inner Name, Word, or Shabd, without an ever-deepening connection to the divine reality within us, we choose to remain with our unverifiable concepts and illusions. The only thing that can protect us from these concepts and illusions is our personal search for the truth and our personal experience of it. That is the only thing that cannot be washed away by the flood of time.
Our soul has come from high spiritual regions, from ultimate reality, and has the capacity to rise again to those heights and regain its lost freedom. We have the capacity to struggle. The best and most effective approach in the quest for this truth, this consciousness, this divine connection, is through meditation on the Word of God. So, it is a two-sided approach: our meditation is supported by our commitment to the struggle against our own weaknesses, and the struggle against our own weaknesses is automatically made ‘doable’ through our meditation and the path we are on. Through meditation we develop the strong willpower to go through life without reacting, no matter how powerful the provocations and challenges may be.
We inevitably realize our weakness and helplessness. At some point we realize that our individual strength and talent is not enough to attain our goal. Then we begin to realize our nothingness and start to develop receptivity to God’s grace. The more humble we become, the more we realize his grace. We then develop gratitude, which in turn feeds into our sense of connection with the Divine, the deeper truth within us all. In Spiritual Letters, Baba Jaimal Singh kept telling the Great Master to keep these words uppermost in his mind: “I am nothing.” As the self recedes, the Divine emerges.
The attainment of truth, of our divine connection, is not something that we will receive without an intense inner struggle. It is also not something that we will attain on our own, without divine grace. The struggle itself is a sign of grace. Every challenge and so-called catastrophe that we experience awakens a part of us that we were not even aware existed and helps us move forward with that better, stronger part of ourselves that was lying dormant until then. This is what living the path with positivity, faith, and courage is about. And this is only possible to attain on the bedrock of a solid, regular, and punctual meditation practice with love and devotion.
While those who successfully struggle against their own weaknesses may not become rich and famous, more importantly, they will become spiritually mature. Spiritual maturity is not based on talent, beauty, or wealth. It isn’t earned by being better than other people, but by being better than we ourselves used to be. Spiritual maturity is not glitzy. The spiritually mature person no longer relies on reactions from others to determine what is right, but on that inner yardstick that only asks: Will this take me closer to the Lord? Will it help me associate with him more?
The goal of our spiritual path is the realization of our own true self, our deep connection to the Divine. It is all about association with truth – truth not as a concept, but as love, life, an inner path or way that starts with the physical Master and ends in the innermost depths of our own being. The truth is the inner Satguru, the Shabd, the holy spirit that takes the measure of the soul’s purity and, when the soul is pure and the karmic coverings have cleared, blends it within itself. We then become aware of our connection to the Divine.