How Much Is Enough?
The Masters have used the analogy of a prison in describing our state in this world. We find ourselves very much here – in this physical state, in this prison – and subject to the pulls on our attention that keep us bound to this body, this identity, this world. That is, we continue to choose those things and do those things that keep us imprisoned and away from God.
The saints tell the story of four philanthropists, and how one philanthropist in trying to improve the condition of the prisoners, brings food and secures clean drinking water for them. Another philanthropist provides clothing and blankets, so that they’re not exposed to the elements. A third philanthropist arranges for the education of the prisoners, so that they can better care for themselves. But in all these cases, the prisoners are still prisoners. Is not the fourth philanthropist, who brings the key to release them from the prison, the one who provides the greatest and longest lasting service? This is the job and the role and the service of perfect living Masters. They come from the Father to wake us up and then to liberate us. They say yes, you can get out of this prison.
This path requires the total transformation of the disciple. And what are we transformed into? We don’t really have a clue – and that’s frightening; it’s like jumping off into the great dark unknown. But we have to be prepared to be more than we think we are. We have to be prepared to drop and leave behind those mental constructs, those habits and behaviour patterns that impede whatever it is the Master wants us to be. We have to be prepared to let go of all the nuances of self-identification in our meditation. We have to be prepared to become him, to be light, to fly. All our efforts make us more malleable in the hands of the Master, and the more malleable we are, the more capable we are of being transformed into that which the Lord desires. We – at this level of consciousness – don’t really know what we will become. Does the caterpillar know when it spins a cocoon that it will become a beautiful butterfly, not to mention a butterfly with a particular pattern and set of colours on its wings? Does the caterpillar consciously know what to design? It’s doubtful. A higher consciousness knows it will become a butterfly, but the caterpillar doesn’t know ahead of time what it will become. It knows instinctively it should make certain preparations, certain efforts, such as spinning a cocoon. In fact, if it does not take those actions, it will not become a butterfly.
So, by the Master’s transformative process, we will escape the prison of this body and the physical world, as well as the prison of the emotional and mental worlds. Our lifeline in this process is the Master, who is one with the Shabd or Nam. We need to trust him, we need to hold on to him with love in our hearts, and eventually we need to surrender to him.
You know how we all love to see the Master, be near to him, sit in the front row? What if the Master told us that we were the first in line to go home? First in line! What if he said that to us? It would make us feel wanted and motivated to get out, break out of our prison cell. But the fact is that he really is saying that to each one of us. We are first in line, each one of us. It’s not as if he is attending to someone else better or first, and then he will attend to us, that we are second class citizens. No, he is inviting each one of us to walk out of this prison house, this imprisoning self we are captivated by.
He is the fourth philanthropist with the key to the prison door. He opened the door to our cell when he connected us to the sound and light within, the Shabd, the Nam, at the time of initiation. The door is open. It is for us to find that door and walk out. He has given us the directions to the door and given us instructions on how to walk out. We are to raise and concentrate our attention at the door, the eye centre, through simran and contemplation on his form; then we will merge into his Radiant Form within, which resonates with sound and light, and follow that inner sound back to the Father. We have just to walk through that door and attach ourselves to him. He will take care of the rest.
The Lord has seen to it that each of us has enough to eat – maybe not every sensory explosion we desire but enough to sustain us. Also, every one of us has enough clothes to wear; we are not walking around naked. And he has seen to it that we have a roof over our head and a blanket for our bed. We have all been given circumstances where we have the basic necessities of life. Our only real task is to walk through that open door.
But we have become accustomed to life within the prison and especially within our own cell. We are like flies in a glass jar. Scientists have done experiments raising flies in a jar where they eat, sleep, procreate, and carry on with whatever life it is that flies have. But the scientists have found that if they take the lid off the jar, the flies just keep carrying on; they do not fly out. They have become accustomed to life within the jar, all their needs are being met in the jar. Their attachments are there. Perhaps they are afraid to fly out, or perhaps they just don’t notice that the lid is open. But they do not come out.
Our lot is somewhat the same. We have become accustomed to life in the physical body, to life in this creation. The prison door has been opened, but we just carry on as before. And this is all the more pitiable because humans have discrimination, can make decisions and have the capability of exerting willpower or effort.
We are attached to faces and places, to situations of power, to the beauty of the physical creation, to the rush of physical sensations and to a sense of security through the acquisition of physical things and money. Generally, that is, we have become accustomed to life the way we have known it these many eons inside the glass jar. The lid is off, the prison door is open, but we are perhaps afraid, perhaps despairing, perhaps not even noticing.
We just have to do our meditation and, as Baba Ji advises, let go in our mind of all those associations and recurring thoughts; let go of our causes and concerns; let go of our attachment to how we think life ought to be. If we are not holding on to all these worldly thoughts and desires, we will be able to walk out that door to freedom. Baba Ji once said something like: It’s all self-imposed limitations you can do it!
You know, when we play a game, we all want our turn – our turn to hit the ball, our turn to catch the ball, our turn to jump the rope and our turn to deal the deck of cards. Perhaps we wait a long time for our turn, but we want to be recognized as an equal participant in the game. So we are very careful to make sure we get our turn.
But when is it God’s turn? When is it God’s inning? What are our priorities? How are we spending our time? How much is enough in this life within the glass jar? How much money do we really need? Yes, we need some money to maintain a stable life. But how much money is enough? We need food to sustain ourselves, but how much food is enough? We need to use our mind constructively and be properly educated, but again how much is enough? We need to be of service to others, but if it occupies all our attention, how much is enough? We were supposedly sent to this creation for experience, but how much experience is enough? Isn’t it time to look beyond the glass jar? Isn’t it time to grow beyond this fly mentality? The Master is telling us that this is our time, this is our turn to move beyond the constraints of life on this physical plane. He wouldn’t have initiated us if it was not possible to walk out that door. What are we waiting for? More experience? It’s time for a prison break.
Maulana Rum is quoted in The Path:
This world is a vast prison
and we are all prisoners in it;
make a hole and escape.
The Master has given us the mental equipment with which to break out of this prison. We have just to do our meditation and let go of life in the glass jar, let go of the self that separates us from the one we love.
Maharaj Charan Singh was asked whether the time was destined when desires and attachments would leave us. He says that it will change from those desires:
By giving time to meditation, by colouring our mind in Shabd and Nam, dying our mind in Shabd and Nam, by changing the tendency of the mind inward and upward.
March 10, 1988
So there we have it. He asks us to train our mind to detach from the desires we encounter in life. He says a lot depends on us, that we have to turn the tendency of the mind from looking outward and all the activity we encounter there to looking inward and upward, and that we do that in our meditation, where we dye the mind in Shabd. He is saying we must take some actions in the transformation that is required. We must spin a cocoon, which shuts us off from the world and turns us inward, in order to be transformed into the butterfly that can fly in the light.
Maharaj Charan Singh says:
When the wrappings are being removed, you first see that light and all those things inside your own self, and you know that the wrappings are being removed. Then you become nobler, more loving, and more and more devotion for the Father comes in you. When the clouds start disappearing, then the light of the sun starts shining. You always know when the clouds disperse and light comes. Similarly, you also know about yourself. When the mind becomes better or purer or nobler, that light penetrates you and your whole attitude in life changes, your characteristics and approach to life change.
Die to Live
That is the beginning of the great transformation that we undergo as disciples. We have only to take those actions to change the tendency of mind from outward to inward, to do our meditation, and “Let go.” We will walk out of that prison door and find our Master. We have only to maintain our focus solely on the Shabd with which he resonates. As Maharaj Sawan Singh writes in Spiritual Gems:
If a soul were to stick to the current, and not look aside or go off the current, and were to leave behind the memory of this world, there is no power that can keep it here for a second, or that can stop it on the way.