We live in the creation buffeted by forces that are totally out of our control, such as electromagnetic forces and the powerful gravitational force of Earth. Added to these external forces, we carry both spiritual and karmic forces within ourselves. The karmic effects, lodged in our DNA, are binding and demanding – we are often powerless to act against them.
Kal has three powerful forces in his arsenal – attraction, desire, and attachment. These ensure that we are unable to resist the creation’s charms, so that the soul remains locked in the finite world of bondage to the material world.
Fortunately for us, the most powerful of all forces, the spiritual force of Shabd, is also within us. It sits at the eye centre, manifesting as an inward and upward spiritual pull. The mind, however, has a downward and outward trajectory.
The result of these two conflicting forces is that each individual life becomes an arena of tug-of-war. On the one side we experience the beguiling outward pull of the world, and on the other, the inward magnetic pull of the Shabd.
We all experience the subtle power of attraction. We may not initially be aware of the effect a particular attraction will have on us – it may be seemingly innocent. And, even though we may be aware of the destructive consequences this attraction could have on our lives, we still may not be able to resist the person, situation or thing that attracts us.
The mind is enchanted by the world and its attractions. This unrelenting love affair with the world keeps the unfortunate soul locked in the creation, separated from God, and forced to continuously reincarnate.
This is the opposite of our goal, which is to disentangle the soul from the world and reunite it with the Lord. But we are seemingly oblivious of this – and of the greater infinite power from which we originated.
Soami Ji writes:
Shabd and soul are in essence the same as God.
There is therefore a natural spiritual magnetic attraction between them.
Radha Soami Teachings
It is through this magnetic power of attraction that God continuously draws the soul upward and homeward, while the mind on the other hand turns away from the influence of the Shabd and clings to the creation.
Attraction spawns desire, desire creates wants, and when we want a thing desperately we tend to ignore the consequences. Before we know it, desire has led to attachment and we are bound to the slippery slope of karmic liability.
Desire is a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen. Life is geared to stimulating and satisfying our desires – be they for possessions, relationships, or sensual gratification.
We suffer from the illusion that we will be here for eternity enjoying these material comforts. We live with the delusion that wealth is real; we cherish our possessions and feel that the people we love are eternal. We are oblivious of the fact that if we have a strong desire for something, we must take another birth to fulfil the desire – so that the sheer force of our desires brings us back again and again, life after life, to the creation.
The Masters tell us to enjoy our worldly comforts with a sense of detachment, but as we continue to accumulate and cling to our possessions, attachment sets in. We may not appreciate or understand the power of attachment or the binding force it exerts on us, so we should pay careful attention to Maharaj Ji when he tells us:
Karmas won’t bring you back. … It is our attachment to the creation which brings us back. You see, even if you have no progress within, but you are not attached to anything in this creation, nobody can bring you back here.
Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. 1
There’s no harm in enjoying the company of family and friends, but we should remember that our relationships are the result of karmic influences – and love goes hand-in-hand with attachment and entrapment.
Great Master advises us not to give our affections to people of this world. In Spiritual Gems he asks: “What is the use in loving those who are not going along with us?” Our goal is to unite with the Shabd. But do we really understand what that means, and how it can be achieved? We foolishly spend our lives pursuing the creation and our immeasurable worldly desires, in the belief that this will bring us happiness and satisfy our physical and emotional needs – a mirage that deludes us all.
While we may be aware of our attachments to our families, friends, and possessions, we may not be aware that on a subtle level we are also attached to our thinking, perceptions, and opinions – all of which are deeply ingrained in us.
The greatest attachment we have is to our self. Yet, the image that looks back at us from a mirror is not our true self – although we believe it to be. It is simply a physical covering that encases our soul.
When we tie this image to our ego and our mind, we manufacture the individuality that we cherish so much. Because there is no sign of the soul, we consider this image to be our real self, and the reason for our existence. This image is responsible for our ongoing attachment to the phenomenal world, and is the barrier between us and the Lord.
Our spiritual mission is to lose this false identity; to detach from the illusory individual, and merge back into the Lord. We should not be under the misconception that detachment is an easy task – whether it’s from family, friends, possessions or the illusion of who we are. Perhaps many of us cannot face the challenge of detachment, because we fear the consequences of letting go. But we will go through our karma – whether we do so in an attached frame of mind or a detached one.
The process of moving from a state of attachment to a state of detachment does not happen overnight. We do not go to bed on Saturday and wake up on Sunday having attained detachment. It’s a slow process. In Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. I, Hazur Maharaj Ji tells us that it’s impossible to detach ourselves from the creation, unless we are attached to the Shabd within. But if our attention remains rooted in the world, what chance do we have of doing this?
We need to shift our attention to simran – the process of disentangling the soul from the body and the clutches of the mind. If we don’t do this, our experiences of the creation will continue to appear realistic, while the inner path to God will remain a fantasy.
We are standing at the intersection of materialism and spirituality. One foot is set firmly in materialism, the other is moving towards our spiritual belief. We need to take a gigantic leap of effort and plant that hovering foot firmly in spirituality, and turn belief into experience, so that the Shabd becomes a reality in our life.
We have the golden key of meditation – it’s time to use it. Meditation increases our attachment to the divine melody within, and that will disentangle us from the entrapment of this physical world.
Why do we waste this magnificent spiritual opportunity? We did not come here to experience impermanent worldly achievements. Our goal is majestic: it is to become the eternal Lord. When we change our attitude and shift our effort the miraculous happens.
As our meditation grows and deepens, the Master’s magnetic pull draws us ever closer, into his spiritual orbit. Then, our desire and attachment for the creation recedes, and our love for the Master grows – he becomes the attractive object of our desire. Simultaneously, the Shabd becomes our reality.