Finding Our Treasure
In the Bible Jesus says:
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,
where moth and rust doth corrupt,
and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, …
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
People have been talking about treasure since time immemorial. Treasure has wonderful connotations, and of course, it means different things to different people, but generally it refers to something precious and beautiful – perhaps with the ability to confer happiness or even power.
Sometimes treasure is intangible, such as the memories that we hold dear in our hearts; and our own personal treasure, like our family, is precious to us. We lavish not only time, money and love on our treasure, but also much of our attention and energy. We may eventually discover that our treasure is always hungry, demanding more and more attention, and that we must feed it constantly.
We often expect something back from our treasure, be it peace of mind, love, security or happiness, and we think that the more effort we put into it, the more we will receive in return. In this way it begins to gain control over us, assuming an ever more demanding and dominating role in our lives. This would be fine if it gave something back to us, something that lasted, something that was real and permanent, but the trouble with the treasures of the world is that they don’t. It seems to be a reality of life that worldly treasures, in one way or another, will always disappoint us.
It is a part of human nature to want treasure. We feel sure it exists -we just don’t know where it is, or exactly what it is. But we know it’s there and will bring peace, happiness and security when we find it.
These are therefore the questions we need to consider: Is there a treasure that will neither decay nor corrupt? Does such a thing exist, and, if so, where do we find it? Happily, the answer is: yes, there is a treasure that is real and permanent, that does not corrupt or decay. But, as one would expect with something so valuable, it is kept in a very safe place, and may not be easy to find without great effort.
There is a bank vault where every individual has a safety deposit box, and there is a bank manager waiting to give us the key to our own box. He is prepared to explain how to open the box, and show us how to enjoy and even grow the treasure that has already been set aside for us. The treasure of Nam, or God’s holy word is to be found inside our own bodies at the eye centre, and the Master is the keeper of the key. The longing for this treasure is a feeling given to us by God himself, to propel us to search inside ourselves for his holy word.
Initially it may take many of us by surprise to discover, after years of searching in the world, that the treasure is to be found within ourselves – that all along we’ve been looking in the wrong direction. Even our bodies are an amazing treasure and gift, as it is only within the human body that the treasure can be found. Dadu says:
So priceless is this birth, O brother,
That in it, the Supreme Lord can be met.
The human body is the door to salvation.
Dadu, The Compassionate Mystic
This human body, whatever its outward appearance and condition, is the pinnacle of God’s creation, as he has put the entire creation in this body in subtle form. Not only that, but he has put himself there as well. Maharaj Sawan Singh tells us in Spiritual Gems: “The Lord himself is within you.”
It is not the body itself that is the actual treasure, so becoming preoccupied with adorning and pampering it is not the answer. It is the treasure of Nam that lies within us that we must consciously seek. If we truly want this treasure more than anything else, then we must make the search our number one priority. It might not be easy to turn away from our worldly treasure to seek the inner one, but the only way to find it is by turning away from the decoys and concentrating on the real. We can seek either spiritual wealth or material wealth. Both are on offer and the choice is ours. We must choose and then act upon the choice we make.
Shabd is the treasure within us. It is consciousness, the life and essence of every created thing, and it sustains every level of creation. Our soul is a drop of that ever-flowing stream of Shabd, the path home to God – and that is why it is such a treasure. It is the essence of God, beyond understanding, and can be heard in the form of beautiful music. It will mesmerize us and draw us up like a magnet, and reunite us with its source. Only on this life stream can we rise through the higher regions until we eventually reach our spiritual home. This is the only pathway that leads to full spiritual light and complete freedom. By learning to listen to this holy sound, we can leave this world behind and travel into the inner kingdoms.
We can make contact with the Shabd only with the help of the Master. He sees our soul trapped by the mind, which in turn is trapped by the senses and their addiction to worldly treasures. He is aware of our true nature and divine origin, while we are not. Through initiation he connects our souls to the Shabd, and places his Radiant Form within us at the eye centre. This is the true treasure for which we have been searching.
But this inner treasure is not simply handed to us – we have to work hard for it. The work starts with the practice of meditation as taught to us at the time of initiation. Every time we repeat the names of our simran we come closer to the jewel that our soul is seeking, and we reduce our dependence on the mind and the world. It is this effort that pleases our Master. What greater incentive or treasure could there possibly be than winning the approval of the Master?
We have to try to reach the eye centre, if only because we are trying to please and obey our Master. This is the hardest part of the journey, sometimes depressing, frustrating, boring and dry. But even the driest of times will yield more fruitful ones. We can detach ourselves from the rubbish of the world only by attaching ourselves to something far finer and more wonderful – that is the Shabd within.
Through meditation we can gradually bring the mind and senses under control. The five passions keep us from our real treasure. They lure us away from meditation and spiritual effort by keeping us preoccupied with the world. Every attempt at meditation brings us that bit closer to the Master and his Radiant Form. Surely that is a goal, a treasure that supersedes anything the world can offer us, worthy of persistent effort, even when there is no obvious progress? We must not postpone our meditation, but should rather act now; we must not let the mind and the world lead us astray and blind us to our true inheritance.
If it seems like an impossible goal, we should remember that every time we try, we are taking a step forward towards that goal, the treasure that will be achieved through millions of small, faltering steps - not in one quick and easy leap. But those little steps add up, one by one, and if the Master says we can do it, then we can. We just have to keep at it.
If we can break the hold this world has on us – even if we appear not to be achieving anything in our meditation, we need never come back here again. And we can break the world’s hold through meditation, by turning our attention away from the baubles of the world, and focusing it on the treasures within. We must just think of our Master, looking at us with love and affection, every time we try. His smile and approval alone are greater treasures than anything the world can offer.
No doubt you are making some headway and I am anxious to see you go inside, truly, and find the great light and joy which awaits you there.
There is nothing equal to this Way, and it gives more real joy and satisfaction than all else in the world. But to get that you have to go inside. …That is gained by steadfast meditation and holding your attention in the eye focus, without wavering. When you learn to do this, the Treasure, which is yours already, will come into conscious possession and you will realize more than you can dream of.
Maharaj Sawan Singh, Spiritual Gems