Talk by Sant Rajinder Singh
Whenever we swim or sail in the ocean, the beautiful blue waters of the sea surround us on all sides. Just as while swimming we are surrounded by the ocean, every second of our lives we are also surrounded by the ocean of divine love. The ocean of God’s love surrounds us. It is not only around us, but within. It is to the right of us, the left of us, above us, below us, and in us. If we could only have the eyes to see, we would find we are perpetually swimming in the ocean of God’s love.
In this connection, there is a story of a man who had been meditating many years yet was frustrated because he had not seen God. He had given up many worldly pleasures to meditate and spent long hours meditating in silence. He was devoted and did whatever he could to find God.
Finally, he prayed to God, “O Lord, I have been meditating and praying to You all my life, yet You have not appeared to me.” God did not respond to his prayer. The man became more and more impatient and soon started saying, “There is no God. I have wasted my time.”
The man strolled along the side of the river, upset at his lack of experience with the Lord. Finally, the man took a pebble and threw it into the river, saying, “O river, I have wasted my life. I have prayed and meditated to find God, but there is no God.”
Suddenly, a fish raised its head out of the water, saying, “Why have you thrown a stone at me?” The man apologized and said, “I did not mean to hit you. I only threw it into the river in frustration.” The fish asked, “Why are you frustrated?” The man said, “I have spent my life searching for God, but have not found God. My efforts have been wasted.”
The fish said, “You think you have problems? Look at me. I have been swimming in this river my whole life looking for water. I am dying of thirst and cannot find any water to drink.”
The man said, “What is wrong with you? You must be a fool instead of a fish. The whole river is filled with water. There is not a spot in the river where there is no water. You are surrounded by water. Just open your fish eyes to see it.”
The fish said, “Well, it is the same with you. You are surrounded by God. God is all around you and within you. You are swimming in the Lord and claim there is no God. Who is the bigger fool? You or I?”
This amusing story points out a great truth. We are all looking for God, but do not realize God is surrounding us and within us. There is no place where God is not. We only have to open our eyes to see it. God is everywhere. Just as the ocean is all around us, so is God.
Sant Darshan Singh Ji Maharaj said in a verse:
Every grain of sand in the desert is a mirror;
Amidst your infinite reflections, your mad lovers are lost.
The verse is explaining how God is everywhere. God is in every grain of sand in the desert. God is in every particle of creation. God is in the fish. God is in the reptiles. God is in the animals. God is in every human being. When we can see God everywhere, we are lost in the love of God at every moment. God is love. When we recognize God everywhere, we are recognizing the power of love and are lost in the madness of that love.
Meditation is merely changing our vision from blindness of God to vision of God. God is all around us every moment. God is pulsating with us. God is closer to us than our jugular vein. Meditation helps us experience that.
We may feel we are putting in a great deal of time meditating but have not yet seen God. It is only because we are not really meditating. We are thinking. We are evaluating. We are judging. We are sitting and thinking, “O, God is not coming, God is not coming.” That is not meditating; rather, that is thinking.
If we truly want to find God, we need to stop thinking. We merely need to gaze within. The fish could have just looked out of its eyes and seen water. But it was so busy thinking, “I cannot find the water. I am dying of thirst.” While thinking that, it was distracting itself and not able to see the reality in front of it.
Let us not be like the man or the fish in the story. Let us truly meditate, by stilling our mind and opening ourselves to the vision of God. God is available at every moment. We need to still our body and mind to experience it. Any thoughts of evaluation, judging, or clutching is going to keep us from the experience.
Avoid Clutching in Meditation
Clutching is another form of expectation in which we are trying to see one thing or another in meditation. We feel unsatisfied no matter what we see unless it is what we planned to see. Clutching interferes with us enjoying what we do receive because we are too focused on what we want to receive instead. Thus, clutching takes our attention away from the stillness needed in meditation.
It is incredible how many ways the mind can interrupt our meditation with thoughts. The mind uses the habit of complaining as one of its tools to keep us occupied. We are swimming in the ocean of God’s love, but cannot see it because we are engaged with the negative trends of the mind.
There is an interesting example of how clutching puts us into a complaining mode so that we do not experience the beauty around us. In the United States, there are national parks and state parks in which people can enjoy the beauty of nature. In these beautiful parks we can enjoy mountains, valleys, rivers, streams, creeks, forests, and fields. These areas are kept preserved so that people can be in touch with nature without the development of houses, buildings, commercial areas, and concrete jungles found in towns and cities. These parks are places where people can walk in nature and enjoy the lovely trees, flowers, and waterways. We can hear the lovely sounds of birds chirping. We can get glimpses of God’s beautiful creatures such as deer, rabbits, squirrels, butterflies, and fish. We can hear the sounds of silence, wind blowing through trees, and the natural sounds of wildlife. We can see the lovely sky with floating clouds in the day, or the stars and moon at night. Some people feel the national or state parks are a natural paradise. Yet, in one of the state parks, the park administrators were processing a pile of unopened mail that had accumulated in their office for a long time from people who had visited the parks. These letters came from many different people over a long period of time.
Instead of writing to thank the park administrators for their preservation of nature’s beauty, the people wrote a list of complaints. Some complaints were humorous and some were ridiculous, yet the nature of the letters showed what people were really thinking about when they visited these natural parks instead of enjoying their beauty.
People complained that some of the natural trails were not wide enough for people to walk along together, side by side, holding hands. Some complained that they did not like some of the trails that went up the side of the mountains because it made them have to walk uphill! Some complained that the hiking trails meant for hiking should have chair lifts so the people did not have to hike. Some said that the animals made too much noise at night and kept them awake when they camped out and the people wanted the park department to get rid of all the animals. Someone else said that a deer came into his campsite and stole a jar of pickles and the person wanted the park department to reimburse him for the stolen jar. Another said they wanted escalators put on the mountains so they did not have to climb. Another wanted a fast food restaurant put into the forest so they did not have to cook out. Someone even said there were too many rocks on the mountain.
When we look at this list we want to laugh at how ridiculous the complaints sound. On one hand people want to be in nature, hike, and camp out, and when they get there, instead of enjoying the natural beauty, they want to turn it into a town or city. This is what we are doing when we meditate or try to experience God’s love in our lives. We have the entire kingdom of God within us, but refuse to see it because we are listening to the chatter of our mind or viewing the images our thoughts create when we think. We have the love of God flowing in us and around us every second of our lives, but do not experience it because we are focused on complaining about everything in our lives.
Another example that illustrates how we block out the bliss around us is what happens when we use a cell phone or Blackberry wireless mobile device. We may be driving in a car, but during the time we are talking on the cell phone or Blackberry we can become so focused on listening to the chatter that we do not remember the sights as we drive past them along the way. It is amazing how the brain can multi-task so that we can drive automatically while listening to conversations on a cell phone, and not be consciously aware of what sights we passed along the way. We may be going to dinner with someone with whom we want to spend time, but we get so wrapped up in answering emails or text messaging on our Blackberries that we are not even aware of what our loved one is saying, how the food is tasting, or the beauty of the restaurant décor. We can become so focused on answering our emails, talking on a cell phone, or sending text messages that we miss out on the time we arranged to spend with our loved ones.
This is what happens to us in satsang as well. The word “satsang” is made of two parts. “Sat” means “Truth,” and “sang” means “communion with.” Thus, the word “satsang” means “communing with Truth.” In this context, “Truth” refers to connecting our soul with God. One-third of the satsang is delivered by word of mouth so that while listening, our mind engages with listening to helpful factors that keep us focused on God. If we pay attention to the words, we are occupying our mind with helpful concepts to inspire us to stay focused on God. If our mind is listening to satsang, then we should not be complaining about others or thinking about what we want to receive. We should just be paying attention to the words of wisdom coming our way. The other two-thirds of the satsang are delivered by spiritual radiation sent to us to uplift our soul. Thus, while we receive one-third of the satsang through word of mouth, we receive two-thirds from spiritual radiation.
This means that in the satsang, we are like the fish surrounded by water. If we want to be aware of the water we need to listen to the spiritual message to engage our mind, and then open our soul to the spiritual radiation. That is all we need to be doing. It is like an effortless effort. But instead, we begin to clutch. We are not open to receive, because we start thinking. What kind of thoughts are we getting in satsang?
First, we start thinking about all the things we want in our lives. We start clutching for outer material things. If we could sit in the complaint department of God, just like the complaint department at the national or state park districts, we might find complaints such as: “Why didn’t I get that raise?” “Why didn’t my children get good grades?” or “Why didn’t my basketball team win?”
Second, we start thinking about what we are not getting spiritually. We may not ever meditate for a moment but we complain we are not seeing inner Light. We may start clutching for what we are not seeing or hearing inside in meditation rather than being happy with what we are getting within. We may start complaining about the people with whom we are doing volunteer work. We may start complaining about the environment around us. We can reflect upon the kind of things we think about when in satsang or in meditation to see the many ways we block our receptivity to the spiritual radiation coming our way.
When we do introspection daily, there is a column on the diary for how much time we spent in meditation. But most of us enter the time that we sat on our meditation pillow or chair. How much of that time is spent actually silently gazing within while repeating simran or listening to the Sound Current, and how much of that time is spent clutching or thinking? We need to subtract from the time we record as sitting in meditation how much of that time we spend thinking for us to have a truly accurate picture of our real meditation time. Then, when we enter our inner experiences on the back of the diary where we check off what we see and hear inside we will find the answer to our question of why we may not be receiving much inner experience. If we are clutching, complaining, or thinking during meditation time, how can we see the Light or hear the Sound?
We live in an age of interaction and workshops. In most schools and businesses, training consists of doing interactive activities. If we really wish to improve spiritually and gain more inner experience, then we should do a spiritual exercise. We should observe how much time we spend in satsang or meditation clutching or thinking of what we want instead of being mentally still and receiving what is being sent to us. We want water and are swimming in water but instead of experiencing water we are complaining that we are not in the water! We can begin to note how much time we spend complaining or clutching, and then as an exercise catch ourselves doing it and bring our attention back into the receiving or receptive mode. We can stop the interference of our thoughts and instead pay attention to being open to meditating or listening to the satsang.
Many people have pets. Those who have dogs are taught how to walk them without letting them run away. They gently pull the leash to keep the dog walking properly in time to their own pace. Similarly, the mind is like a dog. We have to keep it on a leash so it does not get out of control. When we notice it pulling us away from stillness, we have to rein it in.
Avoid Thinking of the Past and Future during Meditation
Another problem we have that keeps us from experiencing the love of God all around us is thinking of the past and future. While in satsang or in meditation, we are not imbibing the spiritual radiation because we are thinking of what happened to us in the past, or planning or worrying about what will happen in the future.
The solution for thoughts of the past and future is to stay in the present or current moment. Every second we have an opportunity to be in the current moment. If, instead, we fill it with thoughts of the past or future, the current moment is wasted and is gone forever. We can never get the present moment back.
If we can stay in the current moment, then thoughts of the past and future will stop. We will be able to be at the still center in which we can connect with the Light and Sound within. We can immerse ourselves in God in the current moment.
There are two switches for our attention: one is the switch to be attuned to our soul and the other is to be attuned to our mind. The solution for the thoughts that the mind sends us is to be able to separate what thoughts are of God and the soul, and what thoughts are of the mind. We need to learn to be vigilant when the mind is pulling a trick to distract our attention either in meditation or throughout our day.
Distractions from the mind include: trying to tell us we have more important things to do than to meditate, engaging us in anger, lust, greed, attachment, and ego through its need to fulfill desires, or making us dwell on the past or anticipate the future.
Thoughts from the soul are those that lead us to God. They are thoughts that we should meditate, that we should lead an ethical life, that we should do selfless service, and that we should love God, the Master, our fellow human beings, and all creation.
In meditation we should have no thoughts at all. That is why we are given simran. Instead of thinking, we should be repeating the Five Charged Words. In this way we do not allow thoughts to enter our system.
Simran is the process by which we repeat the Five Charged Words while gazing into the middle of what lies in front of us. Simran protects us from thinking about the past or future. Simran keeps us in the current moment.
Meditation requires continual stillness through the whole session. We cannot expect to sit still for one minute and then find God. We need to sit still for as long a time as is needed for us to get to the third or single eye. We need to silence our thoughts for a long enough time to witness the Light of God and hear the Music of the Spheres.
There is an account from the Bible, in the Old Testament, about the Prophet Elijah. The Jews of Israel were being persecuted by a cruel king and his queen. The queen believed in a false idol and had four hundred fifty false prophets trying to make all the people convert to worship of the false idols. Whoever refused to worship God as a stone idol and continued their religious views of worshipping one God whose essence was spirit was killed.
The situation was so terrible that God sent Prophet Elijah to confront the cruel king. A confrontation ensued between Elijah and the four hundred fifty false prophets of the idol. The result was that the idol was exposed as being a false god, and the four hundred fifty false prophets were killed.
When the king reported what had happened to the queen, she was so angered that she wanted to seek revenge and have Elijah killed. Elijah fled the kingdom and sought refuge on a mountain. There, Elijah prayed to God. He felt alone and abandoned and wanted God to take his life. As Elijah prayed to God, God responded by sending an angel to provide him with food and water. The angel helped Elijah realize that God was listening to his prayers. The food and water were so blessed that it gave Elijah the strength to journey for forty days and nights to a distant mountain, Mt. Horeb, which is the blessed mountain where God had once appeared to Moses and had given him the Ten Commandments.
When Elijah reached that mountain, he entered a cave to rest. Suddenly, he heard the Voice of God speak to him and ask him, “Elijah, what are you doing here?” Elijah explained that he had been waiting for the message of God. He described how the rest of the people had disobeyed the laws of God, were destroying the places of worship, and murdering the true prophets. He explained how he was the only prophet left and how the queen was trying to have him killed.
God told him to stand on the mountain with attention, and wait for God to pass by.
Elijah sat in silence. First, a strong wind like a hurricane ripped through the mountains, and the rocks broke to pieces, but God was not found in the strong wind. Next, an earthquake rocked the land, but God was not found in the earthquake. Then, fire blazed, but God was not found in the fire. Finally, Elijah heard the Voice of God in the silence within him. In the silence, Elijah heard God again ask what he was doing there. Elijah again explained his situation of how he was being hunted to be killed and there was no one left to worship God. God then gave Elijah inner instructions on the work God wanted him to do. God also told Elijah that there were seven thousand other people left in the same boat as Elijah, wanting to worship God, who had not bowed to the false idol. Elijah felt relieved that he was not alone and that others were left who believed as he did. Elijah returned home with instructions from God with renewed faith in God’s existence.
This story shows that when Elijah’s attention was outside on the storms, the earthquakes, and the fire, he could not find God. He had to invert his attention within to sit in the silence of meditation to hear God. This is what happens to us. We are so focused on the storms, the earthquakes, and the fires of our physical life that we do not take the time to sit in silence. We are so focused on the storms, earthquakes, and fires in the thoughts the mind sends us that we cannot sit in silence. We have the storms of our passing thoughts. We have the earthquakes of our emotions that shake us up, and we have the fires of our anger as we complain and think hurtful thoughts about others. All these thoughts keep us from going within.
We need to sit in a surrendered state, with no thoughts. We need to sit with an attitude in which we leave it to God and to the Master to provide for our meditative experiences. We have no role to play other than sitting at the door and waiting. We should focus into the middle of whatever comes our way. Whether we see gray, black, white, yellow, orange, red, blue, green, violet, or gold Light within we should gaze into the middle and that will give way to other sights. It does not matter if it is blue, yellow, or red light. We should continue looking into the middle. It does not matter if it is the inner sun, moon, or stars. Similarly, it does not matter if it is Hazur Baba Sawan Singh Ji Maharaj, Sant Kirpal Singh Ji Maharaj, and Sant Darshan Singh Ji Maharaj appearing to us within. Our job is to lovingly accept and embrace whatever or whoever comes our way. Our job is to focus into the middle of whatever experience is coming to us. As we become more absorbed, we will be pulled further and further inside.
Focus on God’s Love Surrounding You
What does life look like when we experience God’s love all around us?
First, our attention is absorbed in a state of love when we are in satsang. Satsang no longer becomes a place to which we go and sit for an hour and think about other problems or spend time criticizing others. It is a place where we can rest our weary self and bask in a state of love. It is like taking a vacation to sit by the seaside and enjoy the ocean, free from the cares of the world. Satsang should be our vacation from the problems of life. During that time we should relax and bask in the spiritual waves of love lapping against our soul, like the gentle ocean waves at the beach. The love of God is pouring out to us through the eyes of the Master. If we could open up, without any thoughts to distract us, we would feel that love flow to us. Any thoughts will block out the love flowing to us from God. That hour of satsang would recharge us with love to help us stay focused on God through the rest of the day or week.
Second, our attention should be absorbed in a state of love when we meditate. Meditation is not a dry chore in which we go through certain steps mechanically. It is a process of sitting in silence to bask in the love within. The silence helps us receive the love that is innate in our soul. We can then witness the Light and Sound of God within, which is also love. The current of Light and Sound is God’s love flowing out from God. When we see and hear the Light and Sound Current, we are connecting our soul with a river of love that leads us back to the ocean of all love. Meditation should be a time in which we are connected with love. Any thoughts will put a wall stopping the love flowing to us from God. We should stay open to that love, without any distracting thoughts. Then, when we come out of meditation to do our worldly chores and responsibilities, that love stays with us. We then radiate our own love to others.
Third, our attention should be absorbed in a state of love when we do selfless service. Selfless service should be a time of sweetness in which we are serving the Lord in love. We can serve the Lord in love whether we are helping our brothers and sisters in God, doing volunteer work for an organization dedicated to helping people, or taking care of those in need. If we serve with an open heart as if serving God, then we will experience God’s love flowing through us while doing the seva. Any thoughts will block out the love flowing to us from God. If we catch ourselves having negative thoughts while doing selfless service, we should pull them back like we pull back a wayward dog trying to run when we want it to walk. In this way, we can enjoy the sweet fruits of seva by experiencing the love and Light of God within.
Fourth, our attention should be absorbed in a state of love as we go about our worldly life and work. We can remember God while doing our worldly tasks, experiencing love no matter what job we do. If we are doing physical work or mental work, we can stay attuned to the love within. That will help us work in a loving, cheerful manner and bring joy to others.
We should sit in meditation with a still mind and total receptivity to receive the love of God pouring on us at all times. In this way, we will not be struggling to find the ocean of God, but instead will be consciously bathing in the bliss of full immersion in God’s ocean of love.