The Magic of Life
We should appreciate the gifts from the Lord; we are receiving so much more than we deserve. Baba Ji repeatedly emphasizes this point when disciples ask for grace, or for more grace than they feel they have received or deserve. He reminds us that we don’t have to ask the Lord for anything. Everything we need has already been given to us. The only prayer we should offer is not one of petition, but one of thanks. Expressing our gratitude is to become a way of life, taking us to the core of our spiritual being – bringing with it a deeper awareness of the divine, which is surrounding us in an endless multiplicity of forms.
There is a mysterious connectedness between us and all of life, of which we become increasingly aware as we get engaged in building that relationship with the divine. In the downward journey of the soul from its divine origin deep into the creation, this relationship has gotten lost. Once the soul becomes homeward bound, though, this relationship is slowly being restored. Life takes on a sheen, filling it with a sense of spirituality, a feeling of homecoming. We begin to feel at home in another dimension, in the spiritual dimension.
That spiritual reality fills us with a sense of presence of the divine. For a disciple of a living master, this is closely bound up with his relationship with that master. The living master will always refer to himself as a servant of the Lord, as a spiritual teacher, or a spiritual guide. In all of these capacities he is a source of inspiration, pointing the way to our destination, deepening our understanding of spirituality. He indefatigably gives out the teachings, which you come to love, because on this earthly domain it is probably the closest we can get to the Truth. A seeker on the path of God-realization, whose being is suffused with longing for the divine, experiences these teachings as balm for his soul. It is not the words but what is behind the words that catches his full attention – invisible to outer ears and eyes, to be experienced within. Tasting something of an inner sweetness, which goes way beyond words, the seeker finds himself more and more at home in his inner sanctuary. It’s like coming face to face with the sacredness of life, being filled with a sense of awe and wonder.
In A Treasury of Mystic Terms, Volume 9, which concerns spiritual guides and practitioners, there are some fascinating descriptions of the practices of Native American holy men. In contemporary times, nearly all traces of this ancient wisdom tradition have been wiped out, yet certain aspects of this precious spiritual legacy have been preserved. Fools Crow, a Lakota holy man, gives the following account:
The old holy man and other medicine people had taught me that the more time you spend [on concentration] and the deeper you go, the greater the success of your quest. The entire idea has to do with achieving a state of complete union with Wakan-Tanka (the Great Spirit) and the helpers. Once this is accomplished, they can enlighten and lead you, giving you comfort, hope and power. The amount of time spent in immersion is never wasted, and it reverses the usual procedure we follow when we are faced with time-consuming and critical chores.
Ordinarily, we think we must rush and organize to get at the work because there is so little time. If we pray at all regarding the situation, it is only briefly, because we have so much to do. Then we spend the entire day working on the chores, and end up frustrated and drained. With immersion, you spend a lot of time in prayer, obtain from the higher powers the strength and guidance you need, and then finish the same chores in a fraction of time, ending up fulfilled and fresh.1
In the above passage, Fools Crow describes the effects of prayer, of meditation, or, as he says, of “immersion.” In essence, he is referring to the process of transformation, of turning within. The wonderful thing is that this process has a direct impact on our so-called ordinary life. While undergoing this impact, your life can hardly be called ordinary, as everything you do, every thought you have, stems from a higher consciousness. Higher powers are at work within. Wakan-Tanka and, as Fools Crow so beautifully says, “the helpers” guide the seeker on his spiritual quest at every step of the way. It’s like living in two worlds simultaneously – the world of our earthly existence permeated by the spiritual world. We are in an in-between state of being, in which we’re gradually leaning more and more to that sacred presence within.
Another Lakota holy man, Wallace Black Elk, in Sacred Ways of a Lakota, also bears witness to our connectedness with all living beings. It is this realization that lifts us above the mundane, giving us a deep sense of the magic of life.
Our real Father is Tunkashila (Creator), and our real Mother is the Earth. They gave birth and life to all living, so we know we are all interrelated. That is why you hear us always saying “mitakuye oyasin.” We say those words as we enter the sacred stone-people lodge and also at the end of every prayer. It means ‘all my relations.’ It helps to remind us that we are related to everything that exists.2
- Quoted in A Treasury of Mystic Terms, Vol. 9, pp. 29-30
- Ibid, p. 29