Waiting or being patient is a virtue that is difficult to cultivate and understandably so. Today, with email, we don’t have to wait for the mail to arrive when we want to hear from a loved one. We don’t wait in line to pay our bills anymore because we can pay them online, we don’t wait several hours for the laundry to dry, and we don’t have to wait for stores to open to shop for our needs. But while the need to wait to complete our daily tasks has significantly reduced, when it comes to human development there is no instant solution. The process of our physical, mental and spiritual growth has to take its due course and being impatient doesn’t make our development unfold any faster.
Never is this frustration so apparent as when we sit for meditation without getting any visible results. As practitioners on this path sometimes we feel like nomads; we live in the world but no longer find solace in it. On the other hand, we find comfort with our Master but do not know how to live in his presence. Learning to live in his presence requires practice and a lifetime of patience and perseverance. As we grow fonder of our Master, we also become more restless to be with him. We feel that by going to see him, by speaking with him or having his darshan, we will appease our longing and settle that impatience. But this is not the case. Seeing him only increases that yearning – it only fuels the fire of love.
The Master’s grace is always flowing but we can fill ourselves with it only according to the capacity of our vessel. More often than not, our vessels are inadequate and cannot contain all that he gives us and we end up dissatisfied and restless.
The most important thing to remember is that it is only through spiritual practice that we can expand the vessel of our hearts. This expansion will grant us the capacity to contain this love. Love is painful and demanding; staying away from the Beloved can be very painful while being with him demands sacrifice. It is only through meditation that we learn to channelize our emotions and use them to strengthen our practice, otherwise it is easy to get disheartened and give up in frustration.
Our Master’s love, however, is not something that one can easily give up – once tasted, it urges us forward to seek it in its entirety, no matter what price we may have to pay for it.
Farid, the path is muddy and the house of my Beloved is so far away. If I go out, my blanket will get soaked, but if I remain at home, my heart will be broken.
The game of love is one of practice and waiting. It takes time for the heart to be able to withstand the presence of the Beloved. As Farid says:
What intellect can dare to dream of Your perfection? Where is there an eye worthy of beholding Your beauty? Suppose You removed the veil, where is there a soul to bear Your glory?
It is said that when visitors or disciples came to Sheikh Farid for a blessing, he often blessed them with the words: “May God grant you pain.” For some visitors, this must have seemed like a strange blessing, but it is this pain of love, the pain of longing and waiting for the Beloved, that has the power to push us forward on this path.
We may complain, wail and moan, but we have to remember that it is our practice that will grant us the power to understand this pain of longing and see it through to its culmination. Even if it requires an entire lifetime of waiting, it is well worth it.
The Master will fulfil his promise of uniting us with himself. He knows how to tug and pull at our hearts and keep us moving forward – we just have to submit to the Lord’s will and give it time. He has already given himself to us wholeheartedly and nothing can change that – it is time we do the same and dedicate this last leg of our journey to living, and dying while living, in order to attain him.
I wish to turn into dust
and find my abode under Your feet;
I wish to live in union with You.
I am weary of both worlds
and my sole purpose here is You –
to live for You and die for You.