The Best Plan
Many of us like to make plans. We make plans for the future and set goals we want to achieve at certain times of our life, such as getting a degree, getting that first pay cheque or getting married. Some of us may have our year planned out by January every year. Only after making bookings, schedules and timetables do we feel comfortable that everything is organized in our lives.
Plans are important because they help us define what we need to accomplish. They become the mental to-do list of our life. And when everything goes smoothly, according to plan, we feel a sense of relief and accomplishment.
Numerous books on business and strategy emphasize the importance of an ‘action plan’ – steps we need to take to reach that all important goal. Numerous motivational talks also highlight the need for a plan as a key ingredient to success.
But things don’t always go according to plan. Life throws us many curveballs. Sometimes there is an unexpected pleasant surprise, like a promotion at work or an award from our peers. Or the best surprise – when the Master comes to visit our centre and all our well-laid plans for the day are thrown out the window.
Other times it may not be such a positive surprise. It may be an unforeseen illness, or a sudden tragedy. When this happens, we can be thrown completely off track and lose our sense of balance. Books and talks may teach us how to plan, but they do not teach us what to do when things do not go as intended. In Legacy of Love, Maharaj Charan Singh says:
The best plan you can make is to live in his will and accept his commands and be receptive to his grace – that’s the best plan we can make.
The Master in this sentence explains two key aspects of the path we need to follow: accept his will and be receptive to his grace. That is our best plan.
There is a famous saying: “Man proposes and God disposes.” It means that man does his job and tries his best, but at the end of the day, the results are in the Lord’s hands.
Many things in life do not go according to our plan. But we can weather these storms as long as we have the right attitude. We can see these as opportunities for us to grow and learn.
You will not be able to collect the thorns of the world, but you can definitely put strong shoes on your own feet so that you are not affected by these thorns. We will not be able to solve the problems of the world, but we can rise above these problems so they don’t affect us at all.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Thus Saith the Master
There is a story of a Master and disciple who were walking through barren land. They reached the foothills of a rocky mountain and in the distance they could hear the echo of a gushing waterfall. The disciple felt very thirsty and kept trying to find a way to get through the rocks. Finally, in defeat, he turned to his teacher and cried that it was impossible to get through. The teacher smiled and said, “Of course there is a way, you need to climb up over the rocks. What you perceive as an obstacle, is in fact your stepping-stone.” So the disciple climbed over the rocks, and the higher he went the more beautiful the view and the louder the sound of the gushing waters. He finally reached the other side and was able to quench his thirst.
Similarly, the Lord’s grace is all around us, and many times what we perceive as difficulties are actually stepping-stones towards our happiness.
I fully realize your difficulties and the situation through which you are passing but you know we cannot avoid the results of our karmas, whether they stem from this life or previous lives. Satsangis should cheerfully and patiently go through them, following the Satguru’s instructions and relying on his mercy. He minimizes most of our troubles. We see only what we have to pass through but not what we have been spared.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Light on Sant Mat
So even though the plans we make for ourselves do not always work out, we can take comfort in the fact that everything is going according to his plan – the Master plan – which is actually the best plan.