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A Relaxed Life

Baba Ji often encourages us to live a simple, happy and relaxed life. He encourages us to space out our activities and not to go to extremes.

He often explains that we need to fulfil our worldly responsibilities and we need to attend to our spiritual practice; at the same time, we also need to have hobbies, play games, and relax with family and friends. He says that the Saints come to liberate us, they don’t come to put us in shackles.

During an evening meeting at Dera, Maharaj Charan Singh once explained that if we go to extremes, we’ll lose our balance. In Legacy of Love he is quoted as saying,

I am not against the modern development of the present civilization, but at no cost should we compromise with the basic values of human life. There should be leisure for us. We should lead a simple, relaxed and tension free life.1

He set a good example for us. He was once asked to describe a typical day in his life. Amidst his many responsibilities, he also mentioned that he took a nap after lunch, visited with his mother in the evening, and listened to a play in Urdu on the radio before going to bed. He also enjoyed photographing flowers. When a disciple asked him about this hobby he said,

Flowers are your best friends, always smiling. You can stand before them weeping and they will still be smiling. They were made for that – so many colours and shapes, different expressions and shades. Nature wants us to enjoy these innocent pleasures.2

In Legacy of Love we read,

Except humans, nobody laughs. I don't think you would have ever seen a bird laughing, or a dog laughing, or an animal laughing! They may smile, but you have not seen them laughing. This privilege is only given to humans. If we want to remain human, humour has to be there just to relax.3

All the Saints encourage us to take the world lightly – to be in the world, but not of the world. If we want to remain human, humour has to be there – just to relax.

Recently someone asked Baba Ji for advice on how to relax in meditation. In response, he explained that our thoughts at the time of meditation are a reflection of our thoughts during the day. If we are stressed or worried during the day, if we aren't relaxed during the day, we can't expect the mind to suddenly relax and be still when we meditate. We need to learn to let go and be relaxed throughout the day, in everything that we do.

About this same idea, in Science of the Soul, Maharaj Jagat Singh wrote,

As a rule, concentration becomes difficult when we have cares and worries, for then the attention sticks to the heart centre instead of rising up to the eye centre. We should take the right steps to meet the situation, so far as it lies in our power, and then, worry no more. We should leave the rest to be worked out as the Master sees fit.4

Baba Ji often encourages us to be good human beings and to do our best to meet whatever situations we have to face in life, and then he says, we should let go – trust in the Lord and give up worrying about how things will turn out. He once explained that we can use our sense of discrimination to decide what's really necessary. We take on all sorts of unnecessary responsibilities as we go through life and then we start to bend under the pressure of those responsibilities. We think of God and cry out to him for help. We should have thought of him before taking on all those extra responsibilities!

In Treasure Beyond Measure Hazur wrote,

We cannot find an hour for ourselves, not even half an hour in which to relax. Everybody is suffering from mental tension – every face reflects tension – no one appears to be relaxed. Four people cannot sit together and shake off their tension in laughter and relaxation. The result is increasing incidence of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Our entire life has become artificial. We have forgotten how to laugh and how to shed tears. Our smiles have become artificial; our tears have become artificial. 5
In Spiritual Perspectives he said, “We have created all our problems, by demanding more and more, more and more, by not being satisfied with what we have. So how can we relax? We’re racing to keep up with our neighbours, so how can we relax?”6 He tells us here that most of our stress is our own creation. We’re always worried about not having enough.

One year at Dera Baba Ji talked about how we have become so jaded out here in the world, we’ve even forgotten how to love. We get up, we eat, work and sleep. We just exist out here, we don’t live. He reminded us that Christ said we need to have the innocence of a child. To a child, every day is a new day. Every day is full of joy and excitement. And he emphasized that it’s up to us to find the positive in life. We need to learn to live again.

He once explained that God’s love is all around us, his grace is always flowing, but we aren’t aware of his love and grace because our hearts are closed.

In one letter, the 17th-century French theologian, Fenelon, wrote,

Don't overload yourself with difficult things. Guard your strength of mind as well as your strength of body. Don't take more upon yourself than your courage can bear. Set aside time for being with God, for reading, and for good conversation. Take time for harmless entertainment, which will relax the mind with the body.7

Baba Ji once explained that if we take on more than we can bear, if we go beyond our capacity and overextend ourselves, we won’t be able to sustain the effort. We’ll end up making ourselves miserable and we’ll make others around us miserable, too. He often talks about the importance of spacing out our activities and not putting too much pressure on ourselves.

Hazur often told us that we can only give what we have. In Spiritual Perspectives he said, “And also you always give what you have. If you are happy within, you will radiate happiness wherever you go. If you’re miserable within, you will share misery with others.”8 He used to say that when we’re happy, it makes him happy.

In Treasure Beyond Measure he said,

“Life is so simple but we people create so many problems and complications, that we spend the whole of our life in solving them. I do not know when we are going to learn to take simple things in a simple way…. Life is so simple and beautiful to live provided one can rise above these human failings. They always keep one entangled in the net of worry and misery.9

In many ways, the global pandemic has made it impossible for us to continue our old habits. It has forced us to reevaluate and change our lives, and some of these changes have been positive. Many people discovered that recent restrictions on travel and large group gatherings resulted in less tension, less busyness, and more meaningful, quieter time at home. Many got a glimpse into how restful it can be to do less and to live more simply. Many got a taste of the “joy of missing out” and discovered a renewed sense of contentment and appreciation for the smallest things in life.

Hazur often referred to the biblical verse, “Be still, and know that I am God.”10 In order to find quiet stillness in the midst of our busy lives, we need to let go of many things. We need to space things out, as Baba Ji says, and we need to make time for relaxation and laughter. When we are able to do this, we become more tuned in to the joy and the beauty of life. Our mind gets quieter, not only during the day, but during meditation also. We become more conscious of God’s presence in our lives and in every aspect of this creation.

Finding time for quiet stillness, relaxation, and laughter helps us to become better human beings. It helps us to open our hearts and let go – to trust in the Lord, turn things over to him, and let him do things as he sees fit. It helps us to love again, to live again, and to “take simple things in a simple way.”

  1. Legacy of Love, p. 402
  2. Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. lll, Q # 352
  3. Legacy of Love, p. 457
  4. Science of the Soul, Part lll, Q # 56
  5. Treasure Beyond Measure, 2nd ed., 1991, p. 216
  6. Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. lll, Q # 346
  7. The Seeking Heart, Library of Spiritual Classics, Vol. 4, p. 149
  8. Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III, Q # 354
  9. Treasure Beyond Measure, 2nd ed., p. 191, 196
  10. The Bible, Revised Standard Version, Psalms 46:10