Elevators, escalators, and wheeled suitcases. What do these three have in common? They make it easy for us to manage our baggage in airports with minimum effort, especially when traveling alone. Of course, once we reach our destination and exit the airport with our multiple bags, it’s a different story. Sooner or later, we will most likely have to climb up a flight of stairs – from the platform of a train or subway station to the street, from the street to a hotel and sometimes even up to our room on a higher floor. Even the young and fit among us may be challenged, what to say of the elderly and infirm. Unless there is help at hand – a willing passerby or a porter whose profession it is to carry luggage from A to B, sometimes on their heads – how can we go up unaided?
Isn’t this question just as valid for our spiritual journey as it is for our worldwide travels? How can we go up unaided when we are carrying a heavy load of worries, cares, attachments, and desires? For this journey, we need to let go of everything that is weighing us down and holding us back and ask the Master for help.
When taking a trip, according to experts in traveling light, we must ruthlessly reduce the contents of our bags to the bare minimum; what we cannot carry, we can buy when we get to our destination, the experts tell us.
How do we travel light on our spiritual journey? What do we need to take with us? Nothing. What will we need when we arrive at our destination? Nothing. The Bible tells us, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”
So, what do we need to ruthlessly discard? Everything – all the things that disturb and fill our minds when we sit down to meditate.
How do we discard our thoughts, not only during meditation but throughout the day? How do we stop worrying about our families, our finances, our health, and agonizing over every little decision? We need help from someone who can take our burden from us. On this inner path we need to seek the help of the Master and then let go of our mental and emotional baggage.
Why is it so difficult for many of us to ask for help? From a young age, we have been taught to stand on our own feet. Such independence is a good thing. But taken to extremes, the toddler who pushes his mother’s hands aside as she ties his shoelaces, saying proudly “me do it,” can trip over his loose laces and hurt himself; the lone traveler who states firmly “I can manage” has to climb up and down stairs multiple times, ferrying each piece of baggage one at a time. And the initiate sitting in meditation may waste decades worrying about worldly problems instead of relaxing, focusing, and realizing his or her real identity.
At some point, at the foot of the stairs or at the end of a scattered meditation period, we may realize that we cannot do it all by ourselves. There is strength in admitting our helplessness and surrendering to the inevitable: we need help.
The truth is that we are not alone, and we never have been. Maharaj Charan Singh comforts us: “Your master is always within you. He is not anywhere outside at all.… We are never alone – our master is always with us,” he tells us in Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III.
The Master is with us on our travels, outside and in, 24/7. He is there when we are worrying about how we will get our luggage out of the overhead bin on the plane (a fellow passenger lifts it down), how we will manage the stairs to the tarmac when we arrive (a flight attendant grabs our bag). He is there when we are dealing with issues in our families and communities and when we are sitting in meditation lost in the coming day’s affairs. He is constantly whispering:
Your worries and cares are Master’s worries and cares. Leave them to him to deal with. Having become carefree, your business is to cultivate his love.
Maharaj Sawan Singh, Spiritual Gems
How do we get to the place where we truly believe that we can safely let go and everything will be taken care of by him? Faith and effort.
Faith comes from realizing how many gifts he has already given us: a human birth, initiation, yearning. He has given us access to his physical form through weekly question-and-answer sessions online, Zoom calls to our sangats, and personal visits to some of our centres. He is continually showing us how far he is willing to go to support us on our path; so surely, we can safely let go and let him handle our baggage.
Effort comes from our daily meditation, which will take us to our inner Master and the true faith that leads to surrender.
Hazur further explains in Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III:
When your mind is attached to the shabd and nam within, then you don’t think about the past or worry about the future.… When you positively put your mind in touch with the light and sound within, automatically you cease worrying. You get that bliss and happiness within yourself.
Meditation, as always, is the solution. When we go within and experience the Shabd form of the Master, we will be enveloped in his loving kindness and there will be no more doubts. True faith will be ours. This, then, is how we let go; this is how we put down our burdens and travel carefree – inside and out.
In Legacy of Love Hazur said: “With nothing in our pocket and the Father with us – this is the best grace we can have from the Father.”
What is the use of knowing our weakness if we do not implore God to sustain us with His power? What is the value of recognizing our poverty if we never use it to entreat His mercy?… The value of our weakness and of poverty is that they are the earth in which God sows the seed of desire. And no matter how abandoned we may seem to be, the confident desire to love Him in spite of our abject misery is the sign of His presence and the pledge of our salvation.
Thoughts in Solitude