CAN WE GO BACKWARDS?
There is no spiritual development. You are as fully developed as you are. Evolution has to do with the unfolding of oneself, and it can only be progressive. You might go through specific experiences that seem retrogressive to you, but every experience experienced is for a purpose, and the goal is unfoldment. So, if you go through something controversial or filled with some kind of adversity in your life, it is an opportunity to learn something, and that very process of learning is the unfolding of oneself.
Is there anything in life from which we do not learn? Look around you everywhere. Look at the ants crawling on the floor; how systematically they are crawling and not bumping into each other. Look at the bees going from flower to flower and yet gathering the flower’s fragrance, the flower’s sweetness and giving us honey. The flower is not hurt. The flower has offered to provide the honey and its sweetness. How much to learn? So, unfoldment is never retrogressive. There is never a time when you take two steps back and one step forward.
I always call the mind a cunning animal, and its cunningness makes us think, “I have gone backwards.” No. There is only one way to go; the way is always forward. When we come into adverse circumstances, it would never mean that we have gone backwards; it is spurring us onward. But the mind refuses to accept the lessons that adversity wants to teach us, for as I have said many times repeatedly, that we go, forever onward, forever onward. There is no adversity in life. There is none. But this cunning mind thinks this is adverse. So, you leave home in the morning to go to your job or factory or whatever, and you have a little tiff with your wife. What is wrong with it? It will make us realise during the day that “why this tiff”? Why can we not look at it from that angle? What have I done that has created this little tiff? How much is there not to be learnt from that? That tomorrow, let me be kinder and prevent the conflict.
So there is never any retrogression, but always a progression because the course of evolution is pushing you on and on and on to the starting point, and everyone will find the whole circle again. You reach back where you have started. You reach back home – you leave home in the morning, but in the evening, you come back home again. That is evolution, and that is the path that everyone is treading.
WHEN THE MIND IS CENTRED, THE WHIRLPOOL OF LIFE ASSUME LESSER IMPORTANCE
Life works in cycles, and there are cycles within cycles. The point to be realised is that although the wheel turns and turns and turns, it can only turn from the axle, which remains forever still. Do you see the point? Let the wheel of life turn, but at the same time, realise that the wheel is balanced on the axle that is remaining still. We are trying to find the stillness within ourselves, yet let the wheel turn. Life goes on with all its ramifications and bumps on a potted road. Yet the axle is there; the centre is there. And are we not trying to find the centre of ourselves? And finding the centre of ourselves, knowing the centre of ourselves, realising the centre of ourselves, we say, “Let the wheel turn, so what.”
As the wheel keeps turning in life, why do we focus on the periphery rather than the centre? For it is the recognition and the realisation of the centre that brings more excellent stability to us, where we become one with ourselves – for the wheel is useless without the axle. Can the wheel ever turn without the axle? So, we find the axle, the centre and by concentrating through our spiritual practices or doing our spiritual practices, the mind goes to the axle, the centre. And when the mind is centred, the wheel, the periphery, would assume lesser importance.
THE REVERSAL IS PART AND PARCEL OF PROGRESSION
Why do we feel troubled? We think “two steps back and one step forward” because our minds are not in the centre of ourselves. Yet, for the wheel to function, it has to have all those spokes. Without the spokes, there is no wheel, and those are the spokes that constitute life. Those are the spokes which form the various facets of our lives. To recognise the value of the spokes and, to recognise the value of the rim, and to recognise the value of the axle forms the totality of life. A wheel will always turn forward. It is not the nature of the wheel to turn backwards.
Okay, you would reverse slightly back to make a turn. But reversing slightly back to turn to the next road is essential, for how will you get to the next road if you do not reverse back slightly? The reversal is part and parcel of progression. You want to go to streets A, B, and C and turn into roads X, Y, and Z, so you reverse slightly into someone’s garden path, perhaps and then turn. That reversal is necessary for you to get onto the right road. So where is the stepping backwards? That very reversal is also stepping forward. You see how it works. Therefore, no person must ever think that I am going back. No. I am going forward – and everything, even that little reversal to change direction, was necessary for me to enable me to make my turn.
So, there is no backwardness. Everyone forever goes forward, and that is the message of hope, which man must understand not only with the mind, not conceptually, but with an inner realisation that all this is necessary for me.
YOU ARE CONTROLLED BY DIVINE WILL, WHICH IS ALWAYS MOVING FORWARD
To a certain measure, you are creating your circumstances. But in the broader circle of life, you are creating nothing. There is a tendency which means free will. But everything is guided by Divine Will. I have said this many times to you before that you cannot even lift your hand without Divine Will. This means that you are totally in control or controlled by Divine Will. So where is the question of stepping backwards because? Divine Will is always moving forward, and Divine Will, in combination with the process of evolution, can only send you forth. Since the Big Bang, which I have spoken about many times before, this force started shooting out, and when anything shoots out like a Comet, it can only go forward and never backwards. So, whatever a man’s circumstances are, whatever experiences he is experiencing, it is an experience or an occasion to move him on and on and on and on.
YOU AND YOUR MAKER ARE BUT ONE
The mind can play tricks with you. Every day, it is playing tricks with you. It is a tricky mind, but the authentic Self within you, that core of your personality, that Heart within you, never plays tricks. And when this Heart, the centre of your personality, marches on, it ends up again in a circle. As mathematics will tell you, there is no straight line. Imagine yourself two people walking along back-to-back, one going this way and the other going that way around the Globe. They are going in opposite directions but will meet face-to-face when they go around the Globe. So, what are we doing? We are meeting face-to-face with our Maker, which is the journey. We think we are moving away from the Maker. No. You are going in the opposite direction, thinking, “I am so far away from the Maker.” But your destiny is to meet face-to-face again with the Maker.
It cannot be avoided. For everything is but a circle where the one line going on meets itself again, and when the circle is completed, you have found yourself, and finding yourself means finding your Maker – for you are not apart from Him, you are not apart from the Maker. You are just unfolding yourself to know that that which is the Maker and that which is made is but one. Think about it.
So, man does everything in life to find the Maker. Is the artist separate from his painting? Is the poet separate from his poem? Is the musician, the composer, separate from his composition? No. No. That separation that people feel, or the emotions combined with the mind conjures up, is a grand illusion. That is the great illusion of thinking that I am separate from my Maker.
Whatever path you follow, the answer lies in one factor only, and that factor is that the mind has to be infused; the mind has to be brought into a condition through spiritual practices so that the Maker is forever present in the mind and the mind is forever in touch with the Heart. People think the mind and the Heart are separate, but it is not. It is an oneness. Where does the mind come from? Where does the body come from? Where does the Heart come from? Where does the soul, the Spirit, come from? One source only, for did He not make the body? Did He not make the mind? Did He not make the Spirit, which is He Himself?
YOU ARE THE TRUTH
In this process of evolution, we feel so apart from the truth. But you are the truth. Everything you do is the truth. But the mind is so conditioned and patterned by various experiences that it is not the truth. Every thought you think is none else but the truth. There is no good, and there is no bad. Everything is.
You say, “Oh, a bad thought went through the mind.” Why is it wrong? Who is analysing that thought? The thought originates in the mind and the very mind that creates the thought is trying to analyse the thought. So, the mind works with the mind within itself in a whirlpool. So, when the mind, through spiritual practices, is brought to a particular calm state, then the Heart wells up into the area of the mind, and when it wells up into the location of the mind, the mind is relieved, relieved of the thoughts that it is thinking. Yet the wheels of the mind turn on, but the axle, upon which the wheel of the mind turns, is realised. It is so, so simple. Spiritual practices are aimed only at one thing: how to recognise and acknowledge the axle, the pivotal point.
Then, we can allow the mind to turn, churn, yearn, burn, and learn. Then, we can enable the mind to do that. For once the pivot is realised, once the centre is realised, then all that is happening in the mind does not affect you. It does not leave the impression of the samskaras, as we call it in Sanskrit, and that is calling, burning the seeds of karma. And by burning the seeds of karma, you are released and released from what? From bondage. Bondage from what? Bondage of the mind. Do you see the logic? You are released from the bondage of the mind which you have created, and you find freedom, and that freedom is the Kingdom of Divinity.
Reaching there, having that freedom, realising that freedom within yourself, nothing in the world can affect you, and there are no backward steps ever. So never, never lose hope that I am going backwards. You can never go backwards. It is impossible. You can only go forward. Never mind what you do. Never mind the thinking processes of the mind. Never mind the action of the body. Because the mind does not matter, and matter is no mind. So, what is the result? When you are established in Self through spiritual practices, you, the real you, become the observer of what the mind is doing, and when you become the observer of what the mind is doing, you separate yourself from the mind.
Separating yourself from the mind only means one thing: that the big “I” in you is separating itself from the small “I”, and the small “I” called the ego is nothing else but the mind. Back to square one. So, any problems we have do not stem from the depths of yourself. It stems from the surface layer. In a lecture the other day, I was saying that the ocean is so turbulent with all the waves, but deep down, the calm is there. But what shall I do with the turbulence of the waves? I cannot still them. They will be there, so I become a surfer and enjoy surfing on the waves. How beautiful!
EVERYTHING INTERPRETED PROPERLY IS NOTHING BUT A JOY
The understanding. A. I might be giving you revolutionary ideas and a new perspective, and it is not only for this roomful of people; it is for ages and ages to come, generations and generations to come. I have told you before that if my milk turns sour, I make it into yoghurt. So what can ever bother you? Nothing at all. Because finding the core of yourself, the Kingdom of Heaven within, everything becomes a play. You become the surfer and enjoy the waves. Everything in life is joy. That is the point. There is no going backwards. Everything in life is joy. You will find inner joy if looked at in-depth, even in the most adverse circumstances. Give me any example that you wish to, and I will show you the depth you think is adverse. So, you are driving your car, and you have a puncture. Do you believe that is adverse? No, it is not. How do you know that if you were not forced to stop there, perhaps round the corner, you might have met up with an accident? How do you know? And what is wrong with changing the wheel? It is a good exercise.
Everything can become a joy if it can be appropriately interpreted. If it can be adequately interpreted, everything is nothing but a joy. For you are joy incarnate, you that are made from Him who we regard omnipresent, present in every cell of our bodies. Is His nature not joy? And if He is present in every cell of your body, then every cell of your body is joyful. So where is the turning back? Where are the two steps back and one step forward when He is permeating everything, every form of existence, this chair, this table, these flowers? He pervades everything, for you do not exist. You think you exist. No, you do not; only He exists because He is omnipresent. What else can exist if He is omnipresent? How simple. That only He exists, and I do not exist. I think I exist, and because I think I exist, that is the root of all my problems. When we accept this fact in life that only He exists, I do not exist, then life could be so godly, and when life is godly, there is nothing but joy and bliss.
THE HERE AND NOW IS ALL THAT COUNTS
Perspective, perspective, the proper perspective is required, and therefore, I have to give you these explanations. So, who am I talking to? Do you know? I am talking to Him, and who am I that is talking to Him? He is talking to Himself. That is all. If you can view these things in this way, even with the little minds we have, where we can just have a slight conception of this idea, it will add so much fun, so much joy to life.
When Divinity talks to Divinity, to Himself, He is thinking aloud. I am not speaking of the Impersonal God but of the Personal God. The Personal God is thinking aloud, and you who feels so individual is just a product of thought, and what is thought? It’s just a bundle of ideas and impressions.
Man suffers in this world because he is either living in the past or projecting himself into the future. At this very moment, you are totally happy. You are yourself at this moment. But this mind, this cunning animal, takes you away from yourself into memories of the past. Have you ever thought of the present? No. Very seldom. A glimpse now and then. You are reliving the memories of the past all the time, and when you get tired of doing that, you project the memories into the future. Both are troublesome to your mind. Memories of the past are disturbing, some pleasurable, okay, but pleasure is always accompanied by pain, and then you project it into the future. You are not present by living in the past and projecting it into the future. You are not all there. So, if you are not all there, where are you? You are somewhere else. It is obvious. You are either in the past or the future. But our teachings would teach, be here and now. Those are the only moments that count. Nothing else does, so simple this life, so simple this life.
GOD IS ONLY IN THE PRESENT
When people learn the meaning of the present, they will experience His presence. The only reason you feel apart from Divinity is that you are either in the past or the future. But when we are in the present, we realise that Divinity is within us. Then, we know what God is all about.
Because God is never in the past and not in the future, he is only in the present. We are measuring time linearly: A, B, C, D, E, F, G. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. But how about in a vertical fashion instead of a horizontal one? For the vertical is here and now. And then you go a step further, and when you go a step further, you will find that long vertical line becoming smaller, smaller, smaller until it reaches a point, and that is your centre, the centre of the wheel around which life turns.
Be in the centre, and once you are in the centre, you will know the value of the Divine. The past is past; the future might never come, but be here now. There is no stepping backwards, and there are no stepping forwards. When you are here, then you will not be there or there, and when that realisation dawns on you, you will know that there is nowhere you came from, and there is nowhere you are going to. For eternity is in this very moment, and knowing that the mind is freed from all the problems it has created for itself. That is the entire secret of life and living.
… Gururaj Ananda Yogi: Satsang UK 1982 – 12