There is an anonymous prayer, which goes like this:
O Lord, give me
Serenity to accept what cannot be changed,
Courage to fight, what needs to be changed and
Wisdom to differentiate between the two.
Frequently, our choice of acceptance or confrontation with a situation rests on what suits us and whether it is as per our desire. If something suits us, we accept it and if it does not, we struggle with it.
It is only occasionally that we invoke our discerning mind and wisdom to decide this on the basis of what is right and fair. It is in this context that the teachings of Guru Maharaj come very handy especially in the current pandemic situation. He advises us to choose our actions based on our duty at that point of time without getting too much attached to its possible outcome. To decide our dutiful action, we need to sharpen our intellect through the method of guided meditation (sadhana) given by Him. Whatever might be the situation and the possible outcome, we need to stay healthy and fit both mentally and physically in order to survive this.
The current pandemic with its magnitude and spread has brought the entire mankind across the global boundaries to a brink. Even the matured seekers of spiritualism are not untouched by this and are seized by a sense of “Fear and Anxiety”. The greatest challenge is to convince ourselves as to how to stay positive in these trying times.
We are all aware that we are a combination of body, mind and soul. In order to stay in a state of sublime peace and happiness, all the three should remain in equilibrium, which means that all of them should be healthy individually and collectively. The realization that we are not just a physical body rather we are part of the cosmic divinity living in this body, comes to us with practice of Guru Maharaj’s guided meditation (sadhana). It guides us to find a pragmatic solution to stay happy and peaceful during and after this pandemic. We need to take care of not just our body but our mind and soul too.
The mind is the most important organ of the human entity, as without the help and support of our mind, we cannot undertake any journey, whether it is spiritual pursuit or our professional work. Our mind works as a fulcrum between our body and soul and by associating with the body, it lures us to wander outwardly in this world, whereas when it combines with the soul, it helps us spiritually in moving on the path of salvation and self realization.
In this context, it becomes utmost important to ‘Train our Mind’ to adapt to these changes in our surroundings. Guru Maharaj has given us a guided meditation technique (sadhana) which when practiced regularly enables us to not only train our mind to stay happy in this world but also puts it right in the driving seat to take up our spiritual journey. Accepting the inevitable in the environment or our surroundings and adapting to them accordingly is a great virtue which comes after we engage ourselves meaningfully in spiritual practice for significant period of time.
As human beings, the environment continuously impacts our inner self, while undergoing changes on the following five dimensions:
The human being is expected to fight some of these changes and win them over but he also needs to accept that some of the changes are inevitable and beyond his means to fight. They need to accept them. The solution will lie in a peaceful coexistence. The current pandemic is one such unique change in the environment as it is impacting the world on all the dimensions. Hence, the training of our mind starts with the proposition that the pandemic is here to stay for a long time and its impact, for a longer time. Once the mind accepts this, it goes into finding its own unique recipe for solution.
The first benefit that our Guru Maharaj’s sadhana brings to us is in correcting our perspective towards happiness. Being worldly human beings, our mind wanders outwardly in the world in seeking happiness in pleasure of our senses. This makes our happiness dependent on the outside factors in the environment. But gradually we realize that we have no control over these factors and they are subjected to change continuously and periodically, irrespective of whether we want them to change or not.
Guru Maharaj has referred to internal happiness as a divine virtue, which all spiritual seekers must inculcate in them. With practice of guided meditation, after sometime our propensity of thoughts becomes inward and we become internally driven in our pursuit of happiness.
Now, our happiness is not dependent upon the environment to that extent, rather through practice of meditation, we achieve a state of mind where we are internally happy. We start treating the environmental changes as a natural ongoing process, thereby getting detached to them. Dr. Narendra Kumar Ji used to cite an example of the palm trees on the sea shores. When sea storms are severe, these trees bend towards the sea and let the storm pass over them. On the face of it, they look illogical, but this quality of the trees help them in handling the storms better and further helps them in standing erect easily after the storm passes off.
The second training that the mind receives is that it develops patience. There is a story from a Persian King and a Sufi Sage. Once the king called all the Saints of his kingdom and asked them to say something in one line that remains true in both good as well as bad time. The Sufi saint said, “This time, too shall pass”. Time has a peculiar nature that it does not stay still and irrespective of whether it is a good or bad time, it passes off. Hence, after we spend time in our practice of Saadhna (guided meditation), we develop patience and wait for an opportune time during a crisis to work towards our solution.
The biggest and most important change that comes in our nature is that we start pursuing a holistic life instead of running after just one particular aspect of life. We start developing balance between different facets of life. Experience suggests that life manifests itself in following dimensions:
• Career, profession & financials
• Relationships with spouse, children & friends
• Physical and mental health
• Hobbies and passions
• Our spiritual goals & their pursuits
The first four are worldly pursuits whereas the fifth one is spiritual. Our Guru Maharaj gave us a system making the most important revelation. He emphasized upon to include the Saadhna (guided meditation) in our daily life and said that we might spend most of our time in our worldly pursuits and for that time we might even forget God. But whenever we connect to Him, we should forget the world and focus only on our practice of staying connected. The benefit of this practice is that we achieve a kind of “Balance or Equilibrium” between these dimensions of Life. We do not try to achieve one at the cost of another.
We have seen the great souls from our heritage, how on one hand, they lived like an absolute family person managing even the minutest dynamics of the world, whereas their devotion towards satsang and service to the mission remained paramount.
It is through this practice that we develop a discerning mind & intellect which can decide what is right and fair in most difficult times as well. We become dutiful and stay unattached without compromising with our professional, personal and social responsibilities along with our spiritual goal. We develop the quality of being equipoised and treat both good and bad times like a sportsperson. When we achieve this balance, our spiritual experience works like a fall back mechanism. Whenever the worldly dimensions are not moving in the desired directions, the spiritual experience comes forward and propels them. Setbacks no longer affect us. Our productivity and performance in our professional lives as well as personal relationships are better than our peers. We become internally happy enjoying the state of sublime peace and tranquility; in one word we call it ‘Pure Bliss’.
Key takeaways in this article based on Guru Maharaj’s teachings that can help us tide over current circumstances.
— Accepting the inevitable and adjusting our sails according to the situation rather than wasting our energies in fighting them all the time.
— Living a holistic and meaningful life by striking a balance between worldly responsibilities and spiritual pursuits.
— Developing internal happiness which is delinked to environmental changes.
— Developing a sharp and discerning mind & intellect which helps in being dutiful in choosing our actions in accordance with our goals, staying unattached to the possible outcome.
— Finally, internalising contentment, and absolute faith and devotion for our Guru and His decisions in our lives.
We know that Guru Maharaj is always there with us through the highs and lows in our lives. Our prayers to Him to keep enlightening our path so that we stay routed on our chartered path.
Published in English Sadhan, Jul to Sep 2020 Edition