Filling the Void
Since the beginning of our existence, humans have been fascinated with the paranormal. Prior to the development of the empirical scientific method, societies believed that forces of nature, such as earthquakes and floods, were acts of the gods and mythical creatures that kept the balance in the universe. To this day, though many books and movies are labelled as ‘science fiction’; box office hits in cinemas include plots with fantasy, witches and wizards travelling through the galaxy and alternate universes; we cannot get enough of fantasy because such stories provide a possibility of other realms of existence, where the boring, restraining rules of the physical world do not apply in a conventional way.
It is easy to become sucked into these alternative realities and be awed by them, especially when day-to-day life can be so monotonous. During the COVID-19 quarantine period, many of us have had to follow the same routine day-in and day-out and have been socially isolated from our friends and family. Things can get a bit monotonous at times, and the mind needs to be entertained. Thus, the natural tendency is to escape into some fun TV program, book, or other distraction.
However, this quiet period has also been the perfect time to dive into the practice of spirituality. With time saved from our daily commute and simplified lives, and our basic needs being met, we have had the opportunity to recover some balance and embrace the practice of meditation. Of course, we can kill time by watching TV shows. However, if this becomes an addiction, we lose our balance and waste the precious opportunity to turn our attention inwards.
The mystics always stress the importance of keeping a balance between our worldly and spiritual lives. The constant need to entertain ourselves and fill our minds with media is a product of discomfort. Our souls yearn for a much higher reality than the one we are in, and it seems we will do anything to fill that void: making new friends, attending social gatherings and distracting ourselves are some of the approaches we take. Though these pursuits feel good temporarily, their effects are short-lived, and soon we feel empty again.
There is something in us which is always disturbing us, something within us which always makes us feel that we are lonely in this world. We feel that we are missing something, and that which makes us feel that we are missing something is nothing but a natural inclination of the soul towards its Lord.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. I
The Masters have provided us with a foolproof method to satiate that emptiness and discover our true identity. They urge us to go within to taste the inner bliss of Nam, or the Lord’s Name, which eventually will end all misery and rebirth.
Sugar, buffalo milk and chocolates, all are sweet,
But incomparably sweeter
Is the repetition of the names of my Lord,
Like pure warm honey melting in my heart.
Sheikh Farid, quoted in Living Meditation
A drop, by merging into an ocean, becomes the ocean. Our soul is a drop of that divine Ocean of Nam. Nam is the essence of our soul. Once we merge with Nam, we become one with the Lord. Nothing is sweeter than the bliss of Nam, and only through the practice of Nam will we feel and be complete. The choice is ours. We can decide if we want to live with the feeling that we are missing something, or if we want to enter the everlasting bliss of the Lord’s abode and our soul’s true abode.