Nothing Else Matters
What should be our top priority in life? The following story may illustrate the problem of not being clear on this subject.
A flight, which appeared to be normal, was approaching its airport. However, at that moment the indicator light for the landing gear failed to light up. This was a problem, which could have been disastrous. The crew decided to check if the light was working correctly but, in doing so, the automatic pilot was accidently switched off, which they did not notice. The plane started losing height and crashed.
The plane crashed because the crew lost sight of their priority. They were distracted by what was urgent and forgot what was important.
So, what is our true priority in life? All the Masters tell us: meditation.
We often spend our lives waiting for the right or perfect time to attend to our spirituality. Waiting for the motivation to meditate. This is like trying to fix the whole world so that we can be at peace to start meditating. But that is not going to happen. We need clarity rather than certainty in life.
Another tendency is to allow our obligations and duties to consume so much time that we neglect our priority. We should never assume that we have plenty of time left and thus delay becoming serious about our spiritual practice. Our time of death is uncertain and could happen sooner than we expect.
We might also find ourselves constantly stressed about our own self-importance. How will our personal world survive without us? However, nothing stops life from moving on. We should not become so involved in day-to-day duties that we become exhausted and are therefore unable to progress towards our spiritual goals.
All the Masters have emphasized the need for meditation above all other considerations. Every letter that a disciple receives from a Master always stresses the importance of attending to meditation daily. Meditation has to be our top priority. Meditation is the most important thing a human being can do. Without it we will continue to be part of the cycle of birth and death.
When life throws challenges at us that feel unbearable, we may not be able to meditate for the allotted meditation time, but we should always do our best. Even doing ten minutes is to our credit. So, never feel distressed by these phases. Continue to sit for meditation, placing firm faith in the Master, knowing we will succeed. He tells us that if we could not do it he would not have initiated us. Great Master tells us in Spiritual Gems: “The soul of every true follower is progressing internally even when he is not aware of the progress.”
Still we often feel discouraged because it feels that after so many hours – so many years – of meditation we’ve achieved nothing. That is what our mind tells us. A trick of the mind is also to complain about doing two and half hours of meditation a day. But the Master has enjoined us to challenge the mind, to tell it that we have wasted enough time in our lives on frivolity, and now is the time to utilize this precious human form for its most important purpose, which is simran and bhajan.
Baba Ji tells us to have a positive attitude. So, what impact does our attitude have on our spiritual life?
If we believe that it is not possible to succeed in meditation then that is how it will unfold. When we sit in meditation we are training ourselves to operate from a perspective of acceptance, letting go, becoming free, and also to have an attitude of obedience to a power that is much greater than ourselves.
This world, if met with this positive attitude, can become a source of joy, inspiring us to see the divine will in everything around us, and to worship the Lord through his creation. Focusing our effort towards doing meditation is of utmost importance. This keeps us in balance and unaffected by the storms that are an inescapable part of life.
Meditation transforms us, causing changes that produce a total transformation of our lives. So we must never give up trying. We should adopt a positive yet practical approach to constantly renew our commitment to sit daily for meditation. If we are persistent, then gradually we can increase the meditation time to eventually doing two and a half hours daily, as our Master has asked us to do. Maharaj Jagat Singh says:
The aim should always be to increase these periods gradually so that you can ultimately sit for two and a half hours at a stretch. There should be no hurry in doing so. Rather, the progress should be consolidated.
Science of the Soul
We are asked to put concentrated effort into meditation so that we can lift our consciousness beyond mere belief and the concepts we hold. We might say the Master is in control. However, it is only when we go within and hear the Shabd Dhun (inner sound) and meet the Radiant Form of the Master, that we will know and experience that he is in control of everything.
The emphasis here is on practice and experience, to know experientially what we believe conceptually. We can believe we are generous, but unless we act on that concept and do something that displays generosity, it is still a concept. Until concepts become experience, all there is is speculation, and this experience only comes with the practice of meditation.
This life we live is not about us. It is about God experiencing himself through us. God is more interested in our potential than our mistakes. He wants us to recognize who we truly are, which will enable us to move from concepts to experience and true knowledge.
Ego is the veil or barrier preventing us from experiencing true love and oneness with God. Ego causes duality because it encourages the mind to think in terms of ‘my’ and ‘mine’: I am one thing and the world is something else. Because of the ego, we are ignorant of who we truly are. We are the drop, which has to lose its separateness and become part of the ocean. The ego is the mask of the personality that covers the true self. Until we remove the mask of the ego, the deceptive wall of duality between Shabd and our true self cannot dissolve.
Some mystics have said that union is achieved through the stillness of thought waves. This is achieved by training the mind in simran, which replaces and controls thoughts. As our awareness of Shabd expands, ego then occupies its proper place, soul gains control, and once this is accomplished we are drawn by the magnetic pull of the Sound.
Some of us might be afraid to lose our sense of self by merging into the ocean of consciousness. In fact, we will become what we truly are, which is pure consciousness, perfect happiness, and limitless love. Why remain satisfied with this dark world, separated from our true essence, when our possibilities are infinite? To forget oneself is the fundamental principle of love. When all the desires of a lover narrow down to unconditionally accepting the will of the Beloved, then there is no self, no ego. There is no longer duality. Oneness is attained.
The Masters tell us that we just have to make a little effort and reach the eye centre. Then the Lord will do the rest. He will fill us with longing and pangs of separation, and will shower his grace on us. Thus, the soul will have no choice but to be pulled by the Lord.
So, the magic word is meditation. There is no shortcut. Meditation creates the love, meditation invokes his grace, meditation will remove the barrier of ego. Ultimately it is in meditation that we will merge with our Beloved.
As Maharaj Charan Singh says:
Just change your way of life according to the teachings and attend to meditation. That is all that is required. From meditation love will come, submission will come, humility will come. Everything will come.
Die to Live