THE WAY OUT OF DIFFICULTIES
WORK CAN ALSO BECOME A SPIRITUAL PATH
Being on this spiritual path does not mean one must shirk all one’s worldly responsibilities. The body needs food; after all, what is your body? Nothing but food. It is the food that is eaten by a person that produces the muscles and the blood cells and all that, and all these things are necessary. You know the saying that the world owes you a living, but you have got to work for it. You got to work, and work is also a form of spirituality. To do one’s job well can lead you to the highest spiritual goals. A doctor does his work dedicatedly and filled with devotion; this can also become a spiritual path. A shoemaker puts all of his energies and whatever power he has into making that pair of shoes to such perfection that he brings forth that eternal spiritual energy within him.
IN THE BEGINNING, STRICT DISCIPLINE WITHIN OURSELVES IS NECESSARY
Many people want to be on a spiritual path not with total dedication but with wishful thinking that “I wish I were on a spiritual path,” and because I wish that, I am on the spiritual path. The wishful thinker is not necessarily a seeker. That very search you have in you must bring about specific difficulties because, as I have said many times, there are always polarities in this worldly life. The more you try to pull in the right direction, the wrong direction has some hold over you and tries to hold you back. The reason is due to your own making. Remember, we are creatures not just of today but of many, many lives before this one, and we are set in certain grooves, specific ways, and certain modes of thinking. One has to overcome that by exercising strict discipline within oneself. Discipline is necessary until we are well-established on the spiritual path. Then conscious discipline does not become essential because your life is a discipline, not within the norms of artificial laws, but within the norms of spiritual laws where everything you do is just right. It is suitable for your spiritual evolution and your spiritual unfoldment.
DIFFICULTIES ARE THE GREATEST TEACHER
When there are these difficulties, they must be welcomed because the problem is the most outstanding teacher in life. If you had all the happiness and things you think you want, then you would forget God and Divinity. You never remember Divinity when you are totally happy, and no one is really happy, but you remember Divinity mostly when you are in trouble. You say, “Oh God! What a life, what a business. Oh, Lord, if you are so merciful, then why all these troubles and difficulties?” But the poor Lord has nothing to do with our difficulties. The Lord does not give you pleasure, and he does not provide you with pain. It is a neutral energy, delivered to you as your birthright, from which you have originated, and you are that Divine energy. Still, because of all the conditionings of the experiences of previous lives and in this life, you block the Divinity from shining through. You, you, and no one else but you produce this Divinity.
EVERY ADVERSITY CONTAINS WITHIN ITSELF AN OPPORTUNITY
These talks and spiritual practices aim to bring about a particular understanding of the difficulties, for as we know, every adversity contains an opportunity within itself. What do we see? Do we see the adversities only, or do we see the opportunities? If our attention through understanding is led to opportunities, the sting of the difficulties and adversities disappear.
They just disappear, and all the difficulties people have are typically exaggerated. There is no foundation in problem, a little perhaps, and that is necessary to goad you on. If that were not there, you would just become a vegetable, a non-thinking being, unable to function. So, if you have some difficulty, may you have some more. It keeps man awake. If I have a business that runs independently, with no opposition and no competition, I will become so self-satisfied that the business will not progress. But, if there is competition, it will put me on my toes, I will be on my toes to try to overcome competition to do better, and that is how the business will expand. Otherwise, expansion is not possible. Likewise, difficulties in our lives are there for growth, greater awareness, and a greater understanding of life. So, the difficulty is a blessing in disguise. But when a man’s mind is wrapped up in difficulty, he loses balance. He just sees darkness and not light. He considers the adversities and not the opportunities that are there in those very so-called adversities. No man in this world has difficulties if you look at it from the right angle. They are lessons to be learnt forever; after all, life is but a school. If your whole mental make-up, if your entire Karmic self, were not composed of difficulties, you would not have taken on this birth.
Great Saints and Sages purposely take on life and difficulties, as Christ, Krishna or Buddha, or Mahavir did; they purposely take on an incarnation, a life, to be able to help people and give them some understanding of what difficulty is to take the sting out of difficulty.
The snake of difficulty will bite, but it will have taken out the poison from its fangs. It will not poison you. Why should we live poisoned lives and get our minds entwined in those difficulties all the time? This comes through understanding; understandings are, of course, realisations, and a realisation is knowledge gained and assimilated. And when it is assimilated, when it forms part and parcel of the entire process of our mind and body, then it is called assimilation. Then you have digested it, for assimilation will have no digestion. It is only when food is not well assimilated into the system that you have indigestion.
THE TRATAK PRACTICE IS A VERY IMPORTANT PRACTICE
It is hard work to overcome these difficulties, whatever they might be. Nothing comes without hard work. It could be mental work until you have reached the stage where you do not need to work hard anymore, you just think hard, and things happen. The mind governs everything, and I have told you this many times that a thought is a thing, and if that thought is well-concentrated and that is why you have been given the Tratak Practice, the candle practice, whereby without concentrating, you gather all your mental energies to one focal point which brings about visualisation. If a man can visualise anything he wants, anything he needs, that visualisation is a subtle happening of what you want. That very visualisation concretises itself in what you want.
So, man wants to attain God or, instead, to make a million pounds. This is possible for everyone; within five years, you can do it if your thought force is strong enough and your yearning is strong enough. Have you got that burning desire whereby you want to put in all your energies to that aim in view, to that goal? You will find that your mind will be so conditioned that automatically, because of the conditioning of the mind in that direction and because of bringing all those thoughts together into one force, things will happen to you without you even consciously wanting it to happen. That is the secret of worldly living. Therefore, we do the candle practice, which is a very, very important practice. It has been practised for thousands of years in the East, where all the mental energies, without effort, are gathered together into one focal point. Once one becomes habituated to that, everything we do in life will always become a focal point with total concentration.
OUR ATTITUDE IN LIFE DETERMINES THE OUTCOME
You need a roof for shelter; you need food; you need clothes; you need this and that. Let that not be wishful thinking. If you want that, do something about it because when you translate a thought into action, you automatically implant that thought into your subconscious mind. It works not only in the waking state but also in the sleeping state and helps you along. We have these experiences that anything we think about comes into reality. There is no difficulty but our failure to see the beauty of the energy within us, not understanding it and not allowing it free rein to play, and that is what is meant by nature is always supporting us. Still, we block Mother Nature from helping us, which is the trouble.
Why dwell on difficulties? Dwell on the opposite of difficulties. Think of those developed, constructive ideas. If someone’s business is running at a loss or is in the red, it will not help to think of the red figures on the bank statement. No. What am I going to do to overcome it? I will not wait for any spiritual signs and all these things that will fall out of heaven. There is no such thing. Mental quirks! We do not wait for signs, do or die. I want to be out of this problem, and I will do my best to get out of it, even if I have to work twenty-four hours a day, and I will get out of it.
If one has that aim and determination, life has no difficulties. So, firstly, we must understand that no one else and I create these difficulties. There is no outside agency. You say, “Oh, a friend did me down.” But speaking he did not, you attracted that. Yes, always, always. Because if you did not, if you had that resistance, that external force would not affect you, and as we said, what is life without the fun and pleasure of difficulties? Because it is joy, too. Everything that happens is a joy, and our attitude in life and how we look at things determine the outcome of that so-called difficulty. Like my favourite stanza, which I have repeatedly been repeating, where two men behind prison bars, one saw mud, the other saw stars. I have repeated that a million times; I love it so much. Two people in the same circumstances, meaning the same difficulty, but one could see the glory and the other the gloom.
That is the way out of any difficulty.
YOU ARE NEVER ALONE
If you go for a job with the idea, “oh, I am not going to get this,” then you will not get it. But if you say, “Oh, I am going to get it,” and you look at the boss in his eyes, tell him you will hire me. You may not say it aloud, depending on what kind of person he is, but have that in your mind. Before you go in for the interview, you just do five or ten minutes of Gurushakti and feel invigorated; there is the power of Grace with me, too; I am not alone. You are not alone, never alone. So, who talks of difficulties?
Once we develop a positive attitude if you wish to call it that, these difficulties disappear automatically once we grow some understanding and some little realisation. They just fade away. We want a job, a place to stay; just make up your mind, and I will find that job. Even if I have to start chopping wood, it is still something; it is an activity. Once one gets habituated to an activity, the activity will go on and on to better things, and those difficulties are alleviated. But if one wants to sit and just mope and worry about difficulties, one will still be in the same mess that you think you are in.
SPIRITUAL PRACTICES HELP US TO FIND THE WAY OUT OF ALL DIFFICULTIES
Spiritual practices help one gain the strength to think appropriately, correct thinking correctly, and take the right action. We mean a good attitude towards the situation, acting on it, and not sitting still. Because the proper mindset and correct thinking naturally must bring about the right action, which is the secret of life. That is the way out of all difficulties. Some person is ill and thinks, “Oh, look at this difficulty I am in.” Firstly, accept that this illness has been brought about by myself. Let me do something in the reverse of that so that I would feel better.
Everyone wants peace, the peace that passeth all understanding. This can come about through Grace. It is no use sitting there and saying, “Grace, come, Grace, come,” and she is a naughty girl; she will not. But make yourself attractive. Do not walk around with a three-day beard and a bad temper. Grace will not visit you and will not allow you to see her, either. Grace is all around; we cannot even lift our hand, or breathe, without the power of Grace, but are we doing anything to make ourselves conducive and receptive to the Grace, which is there free of charge? It is just us. If the receptacle is open, the water can be filled in it, but if it is closed, how can it be?
Difficulties have a very relative existence, and most difficulties are just mental projections. People find difficulties where there, in reality, are no difficulties. It is an assumption. Fear, for example, is such a difficulty, too. It produces difficulties. And what do people fear? What is going to happen to me tomorrow or the day after? That is not the way of thinking. Think of now, today. What am I going to do today? Forget tomorrow, and those difficulties will disappear. It is a simple thing, and psychologists make a massive thing of it.
DIFFICULTIES KEEP US AWAKE
These difficulties, as we said, are necessary to keep people awake, to keep them alive, because in the entire universe, you will always have the principle of expansion and contraction, and this very conflict that expansion and contraction produce what we regard as difficulty because conflict is the difficulty. The conflict itself exaggerates the problem. Any person could be old or young does not need to worry about a plate of food. It is there. It will not be delivered to your doorstep unless you become a tremendous psychic being, where you command the elements and manifest food by waving a hand. Some psychic people can do that, these psychic powers can be developed, but the spiritual person will not. He allows his mind and body to work in the world because that is in the world. But then he infuses it with the Spiritual Force so that everything assumes a beautiful shape. Everything becomes gorgeous.
For example, if you go to the cinema and are in a bad mood, you will not enjoy the film. But if you are in a good mood, you will enjoy the movie. So much depends upon you, and the very frame of your mind, the same basis of your understanding, will give you the perspective to look at a thing adversely or conducive.
That is how difficulties just come about. So, when there are difficulties, people mope so unnecessarily. We have a friend here in this hall that has the attitude from very young days that things will just come my way, and they do. He has a positive approach to life. He loses one contract and says, “Ah, tomorrow, I will get another one.” He is not let down by it. Things happen, and he gets it. Because whatever we lose or we get because of our mental attitude towards things. In that, we are talking of mundane things. A man has an appointment during the week for a contract, and he goes in with that attitude, “I am going to get it even if, at first, I have got to cut my price. I will have a little loss; I will just cover. Next time, they will build up the price a bit because they will know what kind of service I can give, and I will get all the other contracts from that company after that, and then, I will make up what I should have made this year, and ten, fifteen, twenty times more.”
WE HAVE TO HAVE A PROPER ATTITUDE
I talk of practical things, practical examples, people’s problems, and things they think about or worry about. There is no difficulty, and most problems are just assumed difficulties. If any young, robust, healthy man is concerned about making a living and the shelter of his head, I do not know; he must have his head examined.
Where are those teachings we have been learning for all these years if we worry about these little things? It must come. Simple really. So, when we face difficulties, we must have the proper attitude. Analyse-it, that how difficult this difficulty is. It is not. And when we start analysing it, we will know that it can be overcome, we find ways and means of overcoming it, and it will be overcome because you are the master of life. You are the master of the entire universe. You are Divine. And things which are not conducive to yourself are necessary, and secondly, we say, well, that is a lesson I am learning, why should I not? Perfected beings have things in their lives, and they recognise that this is a must; this is necessary. This is keeping me awake. This will make me strive harder for what I aim to do. Christ was crucified, but how did he take it? Even about his murderers, he said, “Father, forgive them; they know not what they do.” There was compassion because he knew that these people were acting so childishly. They are operating from their tiny little level, and how can you blame them? You cannot blame a child in Form Four for knowing the work of an MA or a PhD. They are working at their level.
WE HAVE TO REACH A DEEPER LEVEL OF OURSELVES
When we have that understanding, we can only flow with love and compassion to those we think are creating difficulties. In reality, they are not. They have their quirks; they have their shortcomings. But how am I going to react to someone else’s shortcomings? That is my business because I must overcome what I think is problematic. So let them react the way they want to or do what they want to, but I must be steadfast. So, we are analysing this from one’s point of view and also from some other one’s point of view. If we can love others deeply enough, sincerely enough, even if they produce difficulties, as they learn more later, they will say, “Oh, we are so sorry that we did this to such and such a person.” That is excellent learning for them, too. So, by your love, you are teaching them. You are also uplifting them despite them producing difficulties in your path.
Is that not a great act of charity? To be charitable is not putting a silver coin in the collection box; it helps along a bit, but that is not actual charity. Real charity comes from giving totally with the love of oneself, even to thine enemies. These theological principles have great value. Through spiritual practices, the idea is to rise above difficulties. The waves on the ocean’s surface do not bother or disturb the calmness deep down in the sea. So, we have to reach a more profound level within ourselves. Through meditation and spiritual practices, we get to that level. If we are established in meditation, we reach that level, and then whatever happens on the surface means nothing.
When we have that attitude and reach that calmness within, all the surface thing assumes no importance. You help the waves to become calm because you have peace inside. So, so simple. A simple point gets lost. We always try to achieve that which we find difficult. But we start with the simpler things of life. When that simplicity is realised, everything around us becomes simple because Divinity is simple. It is uncompounded. It is not a mixture. It is.
Difficulties arise within oneself because of conflict of various emotions. When we, through our experiences, mix up multiple emotions, then different kinds of disputes arise within ourselves, and that is the most significant difficulty. You cannot fight all these emotions one by one because they form an integral part of each other; one stimulates or regenerates the other. So, we tackle it from a different angle. We tackle it from the spiritual angle, whereby when spiritual energies are drawn out from within ourselves, those emotions get overwhelmed by this energy, and those emotions get calmed.
We know of difficulties, even tragedies, in people’s lives, disasters, yet they are so happy. They are glad the tragedies do not bother them because they have gained that strength from the inside, which automatically brings a greater awareness to their minds. Their perception changes, and their perspective on life is also so well-changed they realise that nothing is wrong. Nothing is evil in this life. Something might not be conducive to one at a particular time. But is it wrong in reality? If Divinity is omnipresent, which is everywhere in every atom, then how could it be wrong? How can it be bad? How can it be difficult? Divinity is joy, but our interpretation is because of our surface conditioning.
ALL TRUE NEEDS IN LIFE ARE LEGITIMATE
Remember, the mind is nothing but on the surface of the Spirit; it forms the obstacles, the veils. So, we have to control the mind. Many schools of thought teach specific kinds of rigid mental control. That rigidity can produce far greater problems because you take the reason out of one particular mould and put it into another. So, it is still bogged down and tied down, and mildew is binding. The only way to free oneself from those moulds and patterns is to infuse them with the power within, and all difficulties fade away.
You can sit back and think I need a job, and you get that job. I need that home; you get that home. Divinity gives you what you need and not what you want. All actual needs in life are legitimate. You have the right to it. You have the right to have a job; you have the right to earn a living. When people become lazy and go into wishful thinking that things must just drop down in their lap, they suffer and bring greater miseries to themselves created by themselves. And then, of course, they blame everything, everybody around them. They blame their husband, their wife, and the children, and when that does not work, they blame God, that He is so unjust. He is a neutral force, as we said just now.
So, the thing is to pull one’s socks up.
… Gururaj Ananda Yogi: Satsang UK 1981 – 02