The Days of Our Lives - RSSB Satsangs & Essays Download | Print

The Days of Our Lives

Several years ago, when I was going through a hard time, a childhood friend, who is not initiated, said to me: “You’re vegetarian; you don’t drink or take drugs, you meditate – and you’re still a hot mess! What’s the matter with you?” I would have been mortified if I hadn’t been laughing so hard. My reply was something like: “Imagine how much more messed up I’d be if I didn’t meditate and abstain from meat, drink, and drugs?” She couldn’t argue with that.

Clearly, I’m not a good example of the teachings – although my old friend does admit that I’ve stuck with this path for 50 years and that I do seem happier (most of the time) as the decades slip by.

Many of us, when we received initiation, imagined that we’d “go within,” see the radiant form of the Master, and/or hear the Shabd in a matter of a few years at most. We’d work very hard, overcome our weaknesses, see the Master in person as often as possible, and inner bliss would be our reward – along with a successful career and a lovely family.

But at a certain point we had to concede that perhaps our spiritual journey was not like driving from New York to Los Angeles in three days when we were young college students, capable of surviving with little sleep and few material comforts. As we aged and experienced the normal ups and downs of life, it dawned on us that this path is a long and winding road, traveled at the pace of a slow trudge rather than a quick leap across time and space in a blaze of astral glory.

It’s a good thing. Baba Ji has been emphasizing the importance of learning from our experience and from our mistakes. Those of us initiated at a relatively young age who have survived into older age can see the long arc of our lives and realize how all the twists and turns have formed the destiny that was ours to go through, come to terms with, and learn from. The illnesses, the failures, the losses, the dark years – along with the joys and triumphs – have deepened our appreciation of the mysteries of life and our tremendous good fortune to have been initiated into this path of the sound current. Oh yes, we’ve made mistakes, taken some wrong turns … but here we still are, struggling and striving, learning and growing. Here we still are, grateful to be initiated, to have a Master, to have the opportunity every day to deepen our relationship with him and do better.

We’ve learned so much: that we really don’t know anything at all, especially about spirituality; that we need to take responsibility for our actions; that nothing in this world can make us truly happy; that nothing here lasts – not the happiness or the sorrow, the pleasure or the pain; that the Master really does seem to have our backs. Even when we can’t feel his presence, we sense that our lives are working out for the best, especially when we don’t get what we thought we wanted. We’ve learned that it’s really true: the Master does not judge us; he wants us to succeed more than we do; if we keep looking forward and not back, keep looking inward and not out, we will be guided and supported.

Baba Ji has often said that the Shabd and inner experience are not what we think they are. Indeed, traveling on this path is not what we thought it would be. We get to be grateful for and appreciate all that he’s given us, all that he’s done for us. But as he has said, everyone needs something to look forward to. One thing we can count on: the best is yet to come.