2020 Spiritual Hindsight
When COVID-19 becomes a thing of the past, how will we remember the time we spent in quarantine? The weeks and months we spent isolated from the sangat, our communities, and sometimes even our families? With 2020 hindsight, how will we feel about the year 2020?
Let’s hope we feel blessed rather than burdened. Grateful rather than resentful. Let’s take steps now to create both a present and a future where blessings and gratitude are part of the fabric of each day, part of the attitude we have toward the strangeness of this time. Hazur Maharaj Ji said: “If you can take what comes to you through Him, then whatever it is, it becomes divine in itself; shame becomes honor, bitterness becomes sweet, and gross darkness clear light.”1
What came was a minuscule virus, many times smaller than the width of a hair. Its presence has made us rethink our lives. Do we see this just as a disastrous plague, or can we view the virus from a higher perspective and discover the gifts of this time?
Perhaps seeing the quarantine, economic havoc, illness and death that rides with COVID-19 as gifts seems nearly impossible. We worry about our children’s education, job security, food supplies, and on and on. But worry and gratitude can’t ride in the same cart together. One pushes the other out, and we know which one we want to sit alongside us during this life’s journey. So how do we go about keeping gratitude with us in the middle of the whirlwind of worry that has been 2020?
As initiates, we understand that we can always take refuge in the Master, in meditation, in simran. We’ve heard that this is a great time to do some extra meditation, to watch more Sant Mat videos, to read the books the Masters have provided. But perhaps we struggle with doing any of that. Perhaps an extra five minutes of meditation is all we can sit through. (That’s okay – the Master will take it!) Perhaps we want to watch Netflix instead of the RSSB YouTube channel or read mysteries instead of spiritual literature.
That’s all right. We’re simply struggling souls, needing to be real while we try to be better. Here we are right now, on the website, reading, thinking about Sant Mat, absorbing the teachings. If we click off and turn to a Bollywood movie or an adventure story, we’re not violating any code of conduct.
We may spend these isolated days trying to corral children, dancing through exercise videos, moving from one Zoom meeting to the next, and cooking, cooking, cooking. Or alone, watching the clock creep forward. Either way, we can repeat simran, those words we’re placing like priceless jewels into the velvet darkness of the eye center. We can practice being grateful for what we have rather than regretting what we’ve lost or never had.
An attitude of gratitude is closely bound to our attempts to surrender. How tightly we’ve held on to our beliefs and opinions and certainties! And what misery that tight grip has often brought us. If instead we can give up trying to solve everything, trying to figure it all out, and let every problem be the Master’s problem – what a relief. What a burden off our shoulders.
The year 2020, with its unique problems, might be the perfect time to let Baba Ji take care of us. Sure, we’ll do our part to help ourselves and each other, but all those things we don’t know how to fix – we can let Him manage those troubles.
Great Master wrote to a disciple in Spiritual Gems: “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.”2 The Master’s words of comfort are true for all times – decades ago when he sent them to a faraway disciple as well as today when so many of Baba Ji’s disciples are far away from his physical form. No matter the distance, his message stays true. Imagine! Even in such times as these, we can hand off our worries and be carefree.
We want to know these days are gifts both while we live them and when we reflect on them in hindsight. Leaving our problems at the Master’s feet and turning to the cultivation of his love ensures that we will remember 2020 as a blessed year.
- Maharaj Charan Singh, Spiritual Discourses, Vol. 1, (1964), p. 94
- Maharaj Sawan Singh, Spiritual Gems, Letter #117