My Restless Mind
My restless mind doesn’t listen to me –
how can I deal with it?
The Master always advises and explains the method,
and I sit in satsang with an attentive mind.
When I listen to his words I deeply repent of my actions,
but then the mind deceives me again and I go astray.
I devise many ways of my own to crush this mind,
but I never get to the threshold of Surat Shabd,
so how can I rise to the inner sky?
Sar Bachan Poetry, 19:4
In this shabd Soami Ji tells us about the struggle with the mind. The mind refuses to obey or listen to the Master’s advice. It is amazing how we continue to fail miserably at controlling our weaknesses and desires while we attempt to tread this path of spiritual enlightenment. What is the solution to this dilemma? How can we deal with it?
Master tells us the method over and over again, but beyond his process, the mind deceives us and we may try to come up with other ways to try to deal with the ravages of desires, attachments and maya. In addition to not listening to the Master’s directions, we continue to repeat mistakes, over and over and over again. How can we expect to crush the mind and rise to the inner sky if we don’t follow the Master’s directions? Indeed, our condition is that the mind is crushing us. The mind is so addicted to maya it sometimes makes us feel out of control – crushed. Even the Great Master, Maharaj Sawan Singh, quoted in Call of the Great Master, said, “I possess no merits and my mind has thoroughly crushed me,” when he was asked how to pray.
In the poem quoted above, Soami Ji tells us that he has devised many ways of his own to try and crush his mind. But that’s part of our problem – we are incapable of doing the crushing! The Master tells us over and over to just do our meditation every day and he will do the rest. Without the Master’s grace, success is impossible. In Sar Bachan Poetry, Soami Ji says:
Why don’t you give up your lust for Maya,
the seductress who is always chasing after you?
Practise the Name given by the Master
for without his grace
you can never release yourself from her grip.
Contemplate on the form of the Master within you
and keep your mind in check.
The gracious Master is full of compassion,
helping and protecting you at every moment.
Sar Bachan Poetry, 15:9
Baba Jaimal Singh explains our situation to the Great Master in Spiritual Letters:
Regarding bhajan and simran, you write that your mind gives you a lot of trouble, that it does not let you do bhajan and simran, and aimlessly creates waves and ripples. This is the mind’s job, my son, because it is the creator of all gross and subtle evil tendencies…. To stay within the directives of the perfect Guru is the real work, my son…. You, however, ignore the Guru’s will and bring your self in between, and this allows the mind also to put forth its demands.
So many times, the ego takes on ownership of our efforts to reach some spiritual height, and when our efforts appear to be futile, we become frustrated and complain to Master that we cannot do it. But, as Great Master and Hazur have told us: If you can’t bring me your successes, then bring me your failures. The Master often says that he can’t make it any easier for us – we have to make our own efforts. We just need to sit and let go, even as our mind looks for results and constantly judges our poor effort and crushes us. Baba Ji has not directed us to attain great insights or stand on our heads and meditate. All we have to do is sit and knock on his door at the third eye, to seek him – to show our love, only that.
There is a story of the man who lived in a hut near a large rock. One day while praying to God, God told him that his job was to push on this large rock with all his strength. So, he set about doing that every day, even though he never managed to move the rock an inch. For years he pushed on the rock without fail and without any results. One day, in great frustration, he lamented to God, saying, “I have been pushing on this rock for years, and I have not moved it an inch. I have accomplished nothing.”
God answers him saying, “You have accomplished a lot, my son. You are so much stronger now. Look at your muscles; you are fit for a long journey.”
“But I did not move the rock” the man complained.
God answered: “I did not ask you to move the rock, only to push on it with all your strength. Now you are strong and fit, and I will move the rock for you.”
We are like this man trying to move a huge rock. We think we must accomplish enlightenment, forgetting that our job is just to sit and still our body and mind. God will do the rest. Baba Ji has said so often that all we can do is simran, and the rest will happen automatically. Making ourselves fit and reining in the mind is slow and steady work; progress is imperceptible on a day-to-day basis. Our motivation to continue doing our meditation is not to make great spiritual gains or have inner experiences to satisfy our ego, but rather to show our faith and love for the Master and invoke his grace. Soami Ji reminds us of this when he says:
I carry your burdens in my own heart
so that you may be free of worries
and nurture my love in your heart.
Give up your misgivings, be steadfast in your love –
a love tempered with faith.
I shall myself help you put in the effort,
I shall myself take you to your ultimate home.
Listen to what Radha Soami has to say:
all will be worked out
as and when the supreme will ordains it.
Sar Bachan Poetry, 33:16
This is a path of love: anything can be accomplished with love! We are just to do our part, our effort – as little as it is – and he will take us when we are fit and strong enough to make the transition. Live within his love and devotion every day. If we look on everything that happens as God’s will, we can then sit, relax and let go – it’s that simple. No more restless mind, no more crushing!