Our Heart with His
In one of his poems, the thirteenth-century Persian mystic Rumi writes:
If you could get rid of yourself just once,
The secret of secrets would open to you.
The face of the unknown, hidden beyond the universe,
Would appear on the mirror of your heart.1
Rumi says here the same thing that all true saints and mystics have said throughout the ages. He says that if we can just get beyond ourselves, if we can just forget about ourselves completely, then the secret of secrets will open up to us. Then the face of the unknown, the face of God, will appear to us and then we’ll experience the reality of his presence in our lives.
Hazur Maharaj Ji often used to tell us that the spiritual path involves losing oneself and becoming another being. In The Master Answers he says:
You will get the feeling that you are nothing, when you merge in the love of the Master. … You will just forget what you are. When you absolutely blend yourself into the love of another person, then you forget what you are. Then you know that you are nothing … Similarly, we have to forget by meditation that we are anything and know that everything is the Master.2
And basically this is the goal of following the spiritual path. We’re trying to lose ourselves, and we’re trying to realize and know that everything is the Father.
So the question is: how do we do this? All of the saints and mystics tell us that we can only do it through the practice of meditation, and we can only do it under the guidance and with the grace and support of a perfect living master, a God-realized soul. This is not something we can do by our own efforts alone. Hazur used to say that if we could do it on our own, we would have already done it by now.
The mystics explain that every particle of this creation is saturated with God’s creative energy. That energy is what gives life to this creation. Every soul is a drop of the ocean of his divine love. We’re all a part of something much greater than ourselves. We’re all a part of God, but most of us don’t realize this truth and, for the most part, we feel as if we’re alone in this creation. We feel as if we’re separate from God and separate from each other.
Hazur once said that in our present condition, our soul has lost touch with the one that it loves. Most of us have forgotten our divine heritage and we’re just wandering around in this creation, lost in confusion and delusion. Baba Ji once said that we’re like ships lost at sea here.
But the saints and masters come here to give us an anchor to hold on to. They remind us of our true source and our divine heritage. They tell us that being in the human form we have the potential and the opportunity to think about God, to search for God, and to find God. And they give us the guidance and the support that we need to do this. They tell us that this is the real purpose and value of the human form.
Guru Ram Das describes the value of the human form when he writes:
The human body is a great ocean,
which is fully filled with diamonds,
emeralds, rubies and gems.
He who has supreme good luck
recorded on his brow,
excavates and mines them out
under the Guru’s instruction.3
When he compares the human body to a great ocean fully filled with diamonds, emeralds, rubies and gems, he’s referring to the fact that God’s creative energy, the Word or the Shabd, is within the human body. And he’s telling us that when we have the great good fortune, the supreme good luck, to meet a Master and follow his instructions, then we have the potential to discover this treasure within ourselves.
The saints explain that the reason we don’t experience the inner light and sound of God’s divine energy in our present condition is that our mind is always distracted, our attention is always divided. We’re constantly thinking about the outside world and reacting to the events of the world and trying to make the world into what we think it should be.
And this constant activity of the mind keeps our attention preoccupied. In Dawn of Light, Maharaj Sawan Singh explains that everything in this physical creation is “illusory and transitory, changing and changeable, dispersing and distressing.”4 And yet this illusory and transitory physical creation is all we ever think about. It takes up all our attention, time and energy.
The saints tell us that our constant thoughts about the outside world act as a veil or a blinding screen between the soul and God. Albert Einstein once said, “Everyone sits in the prison of his own ideas; he must burst it open.”5 And the saints and mystics tell us the same thing. They explain that we can only reason with our intellect; reason is limited and differs from one person to the next. And we can only understand according to our own personal experiences, which are subjective, and again, different for different people. So each one of us sees the world through a very narrow and subjective lens. And yet we take our very limited view to be reality.
The American author Joan Didion published a book called We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live. And this is what we do. We create stories about the world, according to our limited and subjective understanding, and then we take those stories to be real. Those stories become our identity. They give us a certain level of comfort in this world. They give us the illusion that we know more than we actually do. And they give us the illusion that we have more control than we really have. And we find it very difficult to accept or to understand and even to listen to anything that doesn’t fit into our story – our limited version of reality. Basically, we close our hearts and we close our minds to anyone or anything that doesn’t meet our expectations.
Baba Ji has said a number of times that part of his job as the Master is to confuse us and to get us to go beyond our comfort zones. And all the saints tell us that we have to get to a point on the spiritual path where we start to question what we think we know. We have to get to a point where we start to question our own limited concepts and ideas and opinions. Hazur used to say that we need someone to shake us by the roots. We need someone to shake us out of our habitual ways of thinking about life.
Rumi writes about this challenge in one of his poems:
Some actions which seem cruel
Are from a deep friendship.
Are actually renovations.6
He also seems to be saying that sometimes our illusions – the stories we tell ourselves – have to be demolished before we can really hear and benefit from what the masters are trying to teach us. We have to get to a point where we realize how little we actually know and how limited our perspective is, before we can be truly receptive to the grace and the guidance of the master.
The saints assure us that God is always with us. He never leaves us. He’s closer to us than we can possibly imagine. We’re all actually a part of him and he’s a part of us. But the noise and confusion of our limited concepts and judgments and opinions block God from our view. As Einstein said, we have to break free from the prison of our own ideas. And the mystics come here to help us do this. They help us demolish the prison walls brick by brick and they give us something much more real and everlasting and true to hold on to. They help us to open our hearts and they help us to see what exists beyond the prison walls.
Baba Ji has often said that we need to learn to make the mind completely still. We need to learn to sit in the silence and be attentive. We need to learn to listen. If we can do this, then we will become aware of the secret of secrets, as Rumi said. Then we’ll become aware of the light and sound of God’s divine energy within ourselves. And then we’ll understand who we really are and who God is. This is what meditation is all about and this is the challenge that each one of us faces individually on this path. This is what the mystics refer to as our real work in life.
In one of his poems, the seventeenth-century saint Niloba writes about this process:
When the heart lives for meditation,
a peace sets in – a tranquility.
Being with mystics leads to
devotion to God, to knowing God.
Happiness in this world and liberation from it,
both are found in their company.7
He says being with mystics leads to devotion to God, to knowing God. And when we practise their teachings and dedicate ourselves to meditation – when our heart lives for meditation – a peace sets in, a tranquility sets in.
Baba Ji has said many times that meditation is our life-support system on this path, and all of the mystics talk about the importance of learning to still the mind and open our hearts and turn our attention toward God.
About the practice of meditation, Meister Eckhart writes:
Spirituality is not to be learned by flight from the world, or by running away from things, or by turning solitary and going apart from the world. Rather, we must learn an inner solitude. Wherever we go or with whomsoever we may be, we must learn to find God there.8
He tells us that we don’t have to run away from the world in order to find God.
Hazur used to say that even if we try to run away, there’s nowhere to run. We have no choice but to go through our karmas in this world and we have no choice but to face the ups and downs of life, which we have created ourselves. But we can do all this while keeping our mind still and our attention constantly turned toward God. We can learn to find God and realize his presence wherever we are and with whomsoever we may be.
The sixteenth-century mystic Eknath talks about stillness:
Whether the body be
motionless in meditation
or moving in the thick of life,
let the mind stay in the middle,
forever still, pure and free –
this is a yogi, says Eknath.9
He says learning to keep our mind “in the middle, forever still, pure and free,” whether we are sitting in meditation or moving in the thick of life, is what makes a yogi, or a true practitioner of meditation.
Learning to keep the mind still helps to free us from the prison of our own thoughts and ideas and interpretations. It helps us to go through life without always reacting to what’s happening around us and without always trying to make the world into what we think it should be, according to our limited concepts. It helps us to eliminate our ego and open our hearts, and it frees us to turn our attention towards God.
Most of us who have been following this path for a while know that this isn’t an easy thing to do. Hazur used to tell us that the mind deceives us so convincingly that we don’t even realize we are being deceived. And he used to tell us that it can take a lifetime or more to control the mind. It only happens by following the Master’s instructions. It only happens by attending to our meditation every day and it only happens by his grace.
All the saints tell us that we should just do our best on this path every day, and then we need to let go. Great Master explained that we should always do our best, according to our limited lights, and then we should let go – then we should trust in the Lord. We need to realize that he knows much more than we do.
Hazur often used to tell us that we shouldn’t be in a hurry on this path, we shouldn’t go to extremes, and we shouldn’t try to force the results according to our will and our idea of what progress should look like. He often reminded us that the effort is in our hands, but the results are not in our hands. In The Master Answers he says, “We always have to do our best under all circumstances, and then naturally only that will happen as he wants it to happen.”10
In Spiritual Perspectives, he says:
We have to surrender ourselves to the Master. It means that we have to take our ego out of us and blend our whole heart with his heart…11
And he explains:
Getting release from the clutches of the mind is real surrender, and we can do that only by meditation. We cannot do that by the intellect, by austerities, by running away from situations or by strong willpower. It happens only by meditation. … By devoting time to meditation … we are just training ourselves to surrender. All effort is being made to surrender. Whatever time we are giving to meditation, we are putting in effort to surrender. We are trying to surrender to the Father, and that is the only real surrender.12
So he explains that through the practice of meditation we’re trying to let go and surrender, we are trying to break free from the prison of our limited concepts. We’re trying to lose ourselves and blend our whole heart with his heart.
But again, this isn’t an easy thing to do. The mystics often remind us that everything of value that we do in life requires time and effort. And learning to let go and trust the master is no different. Many of us have spent lifetimes and lifetimes following the dictates of the mind, and it isn’t necessarily easy for us to change this habit. Hazur used to say, “It isn’t like going to a tea party at your Auntie’s house.”
It does take time and effort to achieve our goal on this path. But there’s really no better way for us to spend our lives. Most of us spend many years working hard to get an education, working hard to earn a living, or working hard to develop a talent we might have. So why not spend many years working hard to realize God’s presence in our lives? Why not spend many years learning to blend our whole heart with his heart?
It may not be easy, but it’s worth the effort. The effort itself brings happiness. As we follow the path, we find that there’s joy in the effort. Even when we fail, we’re happy to be trying to do what the master asks us to do and we’re happy to be on the path. Most of us in this room can’t imagine what our lives would be like without the path and without the master. And most of us wouldn’t even want to try to imagine it.
In summary, the spiritual path involves letting go and losing ourselves and blending our whole heart with his heart. It involves forgetting that we are anything, and knowing that everything is the Father.
The Maharashtrian saint Samarth Ramdas wrote: “The Lord is absolutely close to you … search and find this truth. The association between you and the Lord is unbreakable.”13 This is our real work in life and this is what makes living in this creation worthwhile.
In Spiritual Perspectives, Volume III, Hazur says:
Any moment when we think about the Father, when we think about the Master, when we think about the Lord, that is a blessed moment. That makes it worth living in this creation. All other moments are useless.14
Rumi writes about the enormity of our blessing:
See that caravan of camels loaded up with sugar?
His eyes contain that much sweetness.
But don’t look into his eyes
Unless you are ready to lose all sight of your own.15
- Crazy as We Are: Selected Rubais from Divan-i-kebir of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, tr. Nevit Oguz Ergin, p.4
- Maharaj Charan Singh, The Master Answers, #498
- Guru Ram Das in Sardar Bahadur Jagat Singh, Discourses on Sant Mat, Volume II, p.145
- Maharaj Sawan Singh, The Dawn of Light, #64
- Albert Einstein quoted in Cosmic Religion: With Other Opinions and Aphorisms, http://www.notable-quotes.com/e/einstein_albert_ii.html
- The Essential Rumi, tr. Coleman Barks, p.68
- Many Voices, One Song, p.273
- Treasury of spiritual wisdom: A collection of 10,000 inspirational quotations, p.441.
- Many Voices, One Song, p.9
- The Master Answers, #404
- Maharaj Charan Singh, Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III, #277
- Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III, #279
- Samarth Ramdas in Isaac Ezekiel, Sarmad: Martyr to Love Divine, p.151
- Spiritual Perspectives,Vol. III, p.84
- Rumi: In the Arms of the Beloved, tr. Jonathan Star, p.39