The choice of turning life’s bitterest moments into positive ones, responding instead of reacting, and using difficult situations as an opportunity to learn are all a result of clear thinking. Clear thinking is a positive quality to have in life, and even more on the path of God-realization.
Satsangis should form the habit of ‘thinking’ – clear thinking. Very few people ‘think’. Why do we lose our temper? Because we do not reflect. Why do people fall prey to the attack of lust? Because they do not think. Vichar (clear thinking) is ninety percent abhyas (spiritual practice). Clear thinking is a blessing. It can easily be attained by a little practice.
Maharaj Jagat Singh, Science of the Soul
Clear thinking is important because it allows the disciple to maintain focus and remain steadfast on the path of God-realization. We know from experience that life is not a bed of roses. Everyone wants to live in perfect circumstances and have smooth relationships. But sadly, this is not possible.
The Master constantly reminds us that this creation is imperfect, and looking for perfection in a realm of imperfection is futile. The spiritual adept opens our eyes and teaches us the Truth – what remains is for us to experience it and become perfect within ourselves while going through the imperfections of human life.
Meditation develops clear thinking. It helps us maintain a balance in life regardless of how seemingly impossible or difficult our situation may be.
Sant Mat teaches us that the drama of life unfolds according to our karmas. The highs and lows of our life are driven by karma – the universal law that governs this creation.
Clear thinking allows us to respond rather than react, separating us from the heat of the moment, giving us space to digest the situation and think of a reasonable solution and course of action. A studied response is acting in faith, while reacting is fear in action. When we respond rather than react, it means we trust that the Lord has a solution to our situation already in place.
Think about this for a second:
God (being God), having infinite knowledge,
Not only knew your every thought and action
Your life would ever experience
(Even before you were born)
But he also, being the divine Creator,
Has etched every moment of your existence
With his own hand
With the precision and care
No artist ever could.
The Gift: Poems by Hafiz, the Great Sufi Master
Similarly in the Bible it is written: “But even the very hairs on your head are all numbered.” Clearly, the reality is that our existence, our destiny and our life are on autopilot. Everything is going according to the will of the Lord. We need to realize and understand that our free will is limited.
As human beings, we have the ability to discriminate right from wrong and this is what separates us from the lower species. This creation is based on a system of duality, of action and reaction, the law of karma. Animals cannot discriminate and are driven by their survival instinct, therefore they react rather than respond.
Our limited free will allows us to choose between coffee or tea, formal or casual dress, apple pie or chocolate cake and so on, but the template of our decision-making is based on our mental conditioning, which in turn is programmed by our gender, ethnicity, cultural background, upbringing and so forth – all of which we had no part in creating.
Actors in a play perform the roles assigned by the director. We have been given roles to play in this life. If we accept this, as hard as it is for our egos to digest, we must be grateful to the Lord that we have reached the top of creation (the human form) and make best use of this opportunity by applying ourselves to self- and God-realization. Only through spiritual practice taught by the Master can we experience absolute reality and go beyond mental understanding.
First comes the grace of God, then the company of saints and then the acquisition of the secret of Nam. Then, by constant application and unceasing devotion, comes the actual realization of Nam.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Light on Sant Mat
We therefore, need to develop a sense of urgency, for we are living on borrowed time. Every second that passes will never come back. Our life is a diminishing balance of time, and the clock is relentless. Like the prepaid load on a mobile phone, we are living on a prepaid load of life, and our card does not have the option to reload.
Applying ourselves diligently to our meditation creates clear thinking and spiritual clarity. That is the long and the short of it.