Are We Reactive or Objective?
It is important to be objective in life – not objective as defined in academic philosophy or as a dry matter of ‘should’, but simply as a practical approach. They say that if we are just reacting in life, we are merely existing, but if we are objective, then we are truly living, then our lives have meaning.
What is reactive? It means just to react, aimlessly and without thought, to whatever comes our way. We have no objective to guide our actions – we are just acting at the mercy of our cravings, emotions and habits.
If we were to think deeply and choose what we really wanted more than anything in this life, this would be called the objective of our life. If we committed to this objective and took action toward it, then we would be in the process of becoming objective – and of becoming truly alive.
If our ultimate objective is love, then our objective is to realize the spiritual form of the Master within – the Shabd. Being objective then means the ongoing practice of choosing the Master and the Shabd. It means meditating – the practice of choosing to focus on our vast, radiant, ever-present, sweet Friend within.
Being objective can then spread like honey throughout our daily lives: we turn toward him, we lean toward him by asking at every moment: does this thought or action take me toward him or away?
What is the choice? This is it – our life is here and now and every moment until our last breath. And what does everyone truly want? It’s so simple: we all want happiness and peace that never die. We want the best, the brightest, the sweetest. But where are we looking? In this cheap-thrills world, we get little shards of peace and happiness, but then they evaporate. We want to have it all here in this creation, we want to do it all, but then a mystic from beyond this world comes along and invites us to come to the centre of life, right within us, and experience enduring joy and majesty beyond our wildest dream. Mystics say, “Come back home to the One. Become the One.”
By great good fortune, we choose this objective, and we embark. And then of course, we soon find that it’s a long and winding road. Someone once said, “Isn’t it amazing that we live our lives ruled by our emotions rather than our commitments?” It’s not that emotions are bad – they are just reactive, they are not directed by an inner commitment. Keeping our shining objective in mind gives us the possibility to embark on the road that leads home and then to stick with it – the greatest adventure of this precious life.
We are venturing into the ‘Infinite Territory’, once known, but long forgotten. Maharaj Charan Singh tells us in Die to Live how to approach the journey:
To have success in meditation, the aspirant must enter upon it with determination to explore its possibilities. He must not start with reservations, but should be willing to go where he is led but without expectations.
And so the journey slowly becomes our life: all day, every day we come to forks in the road. Every second of every day there’s a choice – the razor’s edge of the moment: to go in the direction of the objective or to wobble and spin and trip in reaction to whatever comes our way. Being objective gives us the clear opportunity to choose what we want and to take action toward that objective – to turn towards him in any way we can.
And how beautiful it is that the mystics offer a path that engages all aspects of our nature, that calls us to give all that we are. The objective of spirit will finally consume us – our emotions, our thoughts, our discrimination, our determination, our sense of adventure. Our objective is love, and we will slowly, slowly lose ourselves in that radiant immensity.
Maharaj Charan Singh used to tell us that if emotion is directed upward, it becomes devotion, and if it is directed downward it becomes passion. Isn’t the ultimate game of life the choice to direct ourselves, over and over again – no matter how many times we fall and forget – to the beauty beyond words that lives within us, the truth of peace and happiness that is above all limits? What grace it is to even be given the opportunity to choose real life, real love – to choose the Beloved.
Stay alert, think clearly
if you want to break free of the world.
Every second repeat the Name,
don’t waste a moment –
your whole life is passing away,
who will help you then?
Know that the world lasts only a moment,
so with single heart give yourself to God.
Sant Namdev, in Many Voices, One Song