No Social Distancing with the Inner Master
Though you are at the other end of the world,
if I am in your heart, then we are together.1
The flights are canceled; the trains are abandoned; the roads are empty. Dera is closed to visitors. The Master’s satsang schedule has been put on hold, and only he knows when it will resume. We cannot get to the physical Master.
Yet satsangis the world over long to do just that – watch him enter satsang and touch his head to the dais, then sit rock still and turn his beautiful eyes on us. We want to hear his voice and his laugh.
Because we have no idea when we will see him again, we may feel alone or bereft. However, the saints tell us that every single thing that happens – which must include this physical separation – is a gift from the Lord. They tell us that if we can see life this way, then “bitterness becomes sweet.” For now, we absolutely can’t get to Him on the outside, so what do we have left? How do we turn the sorrow of this separation into a sweet gift?2
Perhaps we can start by taking this time to turn social distancing upside down. Yes, we respectfully keep six feet away from other people, wear our masks, and stay safe at home. But none of these rules apply in our meditation. We’re free to get as close to the Master inside as we want, without a mask of any kind, safe in his Radiant Form. We can trade six-feet-apart for closer-than-hands-and-feet, closer than the scent of a rose. We can be in his presence, whether or not we’re with the body Master.
The story is told of a modern philosopher who was studying meditation. He attended a conference in Japan with his spiritual teacher. The conference was held in a soaring skyscraper with windows looking up to the sky and down to the streets far below. The philosopher, his master, and many colleagues were gathered, ready to listen to words of wisdom by several renowned speakers.
Suddenly the building began to sway back and forth, windows rattled loudly, and tables starting slipping sideways. Earthquake! Horrified, people ran to the doors in a panic, pushing to get to the stairways and down to safe ground.
The philosopher, forgetting everything else, also leapt from his seat and struggled through the crowd.
Then the trembling stopped. The skyscraper was still, the windows quiet.
All at once, the philosopher realized that, in his panic, he’d left his elderly teacher alone. Ashamed, he returned to the room everyone had abandoned out of fear – everyone except the teacher, who was sitting calmly, waiting with a serene face.
Astonished, the philosopher gasped, “Why didn’t you run away? How could you be so peaceful when the rest of us were so terrified? How could you just sit here?”
The wise man replied, “Everyone else ran outside. I ran in.”
Isn’t it time to run in? To find real refuge? To make safe at home mean something greater than a pandemic mandate? By running inside, by letting go of our fear, we develop trust and nurture surrender. After all, doesn’t our greatest fear arise from simply not knowing what will happen with our families and their health, the economy, our children’s education? The world will be reshaped in some fashion or another. Not knowing what that will look like creates anxiety. But, truth is, we never knew. Life has always been a surprise waiting to happen.
We can use this unique time as an opportunity to replace worry, speculation, and information overload with simran, surrender, and stillness – with an openness to possibility rather than fear of uncertainty.
Let’s begin by eliminating any distance between ourselves and our inner Master.
- Shaikh Abu-Saeed Abil-Kheir, Nobody, Son of Nobody (tr. Vraje Abramian), Hohm Press, Prescott, AZ 2001, #319, p. 64
- Maharaj Charan Singh, Spiritual Discourses, Vol. 1, 5th ed.,1987, p. 91