By Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj
A man was once asked by a saint if he would like to find God. First, the man said that he wanted to wait until he got married and settled down. The saint returned after the man married and settled down, and again asked if he wanted to find God. The man said, “When I am rich and successful at my job I will look for God.” The saint returned when the man had made a lot of money and was successful in his career. He again asked the man if he wanted to find God yet.
Now the man wanted to wait to find God until after he had married off his children.
When the children were settled, the saint returned. Then the man wanted to wait to find God until after he had grandchildren. Finally, on his deathbed, he told the saint he was ready to find God.
But by then his whole life had passed and there was no time left. Let us not be like that man. Let us make a choice while still young and vital and in our full senses. Let us not wait until it is too late.
We have been allotted a number of breaths in this lifetime. We can either waste them away or make full use of them to complete our course in spirituality. That is why the Masters exhort us to make the best use of this current lifetime.
A spiritual Master undertakes the responsibility of making sure our soul will be reunited with the Divine. This responsibility is as that of a teacher making sure the student is ready for the highest degree for graduation. It is his job to make sure we are prepared and developed spiritually. If we are not ready, he still has to guide us until we are ready. Thus, even while under the care of a Master, he has to make sure we complete our course in spirituality.
When someone is seeking, they often are fired up with intensity to find the right spiritual Master or the spiritual teaching that can help solve the mystery of life and death. Yet, after someone finds and joins a spiritual path, some become complacent. They may feel that their quest has ended, but, in reality, their work has just begun. It is like applying for a school, college, or university. We intensely fill out applications and submit admission papers, and are thrilled when
we receive our acceptance letter. Yet, their work is not ended—it has just begun. They must work hard to complete their degree program to graduate. It is the same on a spiritual path. Just finding the right Master who can teach us a meditation practice that provides proven results is the beginning; we have to then start putting in the effort and commitment to master the meditation techniques to reach the goal of realization of the Divine.
Once the great writer Mark Twain was having a discussion with a businessman who was known for being aggressive and ruthless in his dealings with others.
The businessman said to the writer, “Before I die I would like to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and climb to the top of Mount Sinai to read the Ten Commandments aloud at the top.”
Mark Twain quickly replied, “I have a better idea. Rather than go to Mount Sinai where Moses was given the Ten Commandments, why don’t you just stay home here in Boston and practice the Ten Commandments in your life!”
This humorous comment carries a significant meaning. Many of us read the Commandments or advice given by the great saints in the scriptures. Many of us are happy even to preach what our holy books say. But how many of us live up to the teachings we follow?
There is a big difference between knowing the theory and practicing it. It is not enough to read the books or scriptures and know the theory. We need to live up to them in our own lives. If we learn a method of meditation and instructions for progress, that is not enough; the true heart of the spiritual teachings is in the practice. It is not enough to know what others have said about it. It is essential that we have our own firsthand experience of spirituality. That can be accomplished when we sit in meditation.
Progress is a matter of accuracy. We can become accurate only by practice. Practice makes perfect. If we expect to sit in meditation once or twice in our lives and accomplish spiritual progress, we are being unrealistic. We need to practice daily.
It is said that if we take one step toward God, God will take a hundred steps toward us. The time we spend in meditation will be richly rewarded.
Instead of merely reading the Ten Commandments, live them. If we do our meditations and lead ethical lives, observing the virtues of nonviolence, truthfulness, purity, humility, selfless service, and love for all, we will be blessed with inner vision. We will have the proof for ourselves of the existence of our soul and God.