No Better Time
Most spiritual paths are an elaboration on a similar theme: we want to go home. In the beginning, we may have only a vague notion of where home is for us. Yet somehow, we still feel a pull. The author Beldon Lane writes: “The longing of the soul, made sharper by the absence of that which it loves … reaches in the darkness for a beloved who comes unannounced.”1 God is present everywhere, it is said, yet we can’t seem to fathom him in the deepest recess of our inner self.
Typically we cannot see our real self or the real beloved with our senses, and we cannot escape our lives, our karmas, or the chaos of the world as it exists. Times of adversity and prosperity often capture our minds, senses, and emotions and change how we exist in our present lives. Yet, somehow we sense that every moment of our life is a moment in time where we are called upon to make a critical decision: to choose between what will take us closer to the light and love or closer to the darkness. And so we search. Rumi says in Jalal al-Din Rumi:
I have come to pull you to me by the ear –
To seat you in my heart and soul,
To make you lose your heart and self.2
Can it be that this search leads us to find what was always there all along? To that place beyond the veil of darkness, beyond our senses and the experience of our karmas, to that place where we know our true nature, where we understand that he is always present. A place where we are bonded together in love and have a beautiful, blessed friend with whom we can take the journey.
This friend, the Master, is the one who helps create the conditions that enable us to mature spiritually and who takes that journey with us. Sometimes those conditions are in the form of adversity. Adversity comes to all of us at different times in our lives, and yet it has an immensely practical and essential impact on our spiritual growth and transformation. You see, we must pay off all our debts before we return home because we cannot travel the path within with a very heavy load of baggage. The return journey home is very pure and full of light and love, and if we are not prepared, and cannot maintain a state of balance, we may have difficulties handling the journey within.
So how do we keep and maintain a state of balance in the face of all the distractions of our karmas? Maharaj Sawan Singh in Discourses on Sant Mat gives us this counsel:
Satsang of the Satguru and association with him reorient the mind and turn it Godward. Repetition of the holy names helps it withdraw to the eye centre. Contemplation of the form of the Master enables it to stay there and to contact the Divine Melody … which takes it to its place of origin.… As a magnet draws iron filings to it with and irresistible force, so does the word of God draw the mind and soul to itself.3
It is our Master who influences us to be a better person, and focusing on him helps us connect with the love and support that we need going through our life events. Contemplation of him shifts our focus and reminds us of our goal. He has already journeyed to where we hope to go. Living in the presence of the Master is a state of surrender and helps us recognize that everything is from him.
Repetition of the holy names is a most important and essential aspect of the Great Master’s counsel. We can use our simran and bhajan to experience the divine plan in our life. Loving repetition of the names will naturally make us aware of the constant presence of the Master. Through the deepening of our simran, bhajan, and focus on the Master in all we do, our understanding of the role our karmas play in the purification of our consciousness will grow, and we will become more balanced and spiritually stronger. We long to experience without a doubt that he has always been with us and that he is leading us through the doorway to eternity, to our true home. In Living Meditation, it is written, “Each time we let go of our thoughts and go back to simran, we win a heroic victory. We are … returning home to our source.”4 When we go fearlessly through our karmas with a focus on our beloved and minds full of simran, we won’t lose heart. The purpose of meditation is to create that love and devotion for the Father within because the relationship of the soul and the Father is that of love.
And as the Master tells us, the essence of our soul is love. True love cannot be had without the Master who has given us the method and the prescription for attaining the concentration needed to reach that love within oneself. Love for the Master is the manifestation of love for the Lord. And the principle means of awakening love for the Lord is through the love of the Master. He has pulled us to him, and he reminds us that this way of love and returning home is not a tea party at our auntie’s house; it is an arduous journey. Maharaj Charan Singh encourages us in Quest for Light:
When the Lord has chosen you for eternal liberation, then what other power can keep you back for long in this creation? It is only a matter of time. All are struggling souls and are carrying their individual burden of karmas … The Master will see you back home. So give up your worries and with love and devotion do your duty every day. Slowly the mind will take interest in the inside and turn away from the outside. Master is always with you and so is his love.5
So these times are given to us to ponder and perhaps focus or refocus on our true goal. He offers so much if we take him up on his offer of simran, bhajan, and turning the mind Godward.
Sultan Bahu sums it up perfectly:
A heart among hearts:
the heart that is sublime beyond comprehension.
When your heart advances in contemplation of God,
it will comprehend how there is unity in diversity.
The heart is the essence of divinity in man;
in form and beauty it is the symbol of perfection.
When I contemplated on my true Friend
in the privacy of my inner self,
the temple of my heart was illumined with his light.6
Light, love, and the Shabd are what cure the longing of the soul. We turn inward so that we can experience who we and the Master truly are. The darkness will vanish, and the barriers will be removed between us and our beloved. Then we are home, and we know it. As Rumi says: “I will not leave you on the road….Though I have made you run, I am running after you.”7
- Beldon Lane, The Solace of Fierce Lanscapes Exploring Desert and Mountain Spiritualityp. 73
- Rumi, Jalal al-Din Rumi, p.90
- Maharaj Sawan Singh, Discourses on Sant Mat, p. 278
- Living Meditation, p. 108
- Maharaj Charan Singh, Quest for Light, p. 232
- Sultan Bahu, p. 282
- Rumi, Jalal al-Din Rumi, p. 91