Wake Up and Smell the Roses

by Mary Pomerantz

Mary wrote this post based on a discourse Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj gave earlier this year.

Sometimes old sayings are as apropos today as they were long ago.  For instance there is an old saying, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today,” that is meaningful to anyone who meditates.

We all know the benefits of meditation:

  1. If we sit regularly, meditation helps us to be disciplined, not only in our meditations, but in other activities in our lives.
  2. Meditation improves our concentration.
  3. Meditation brings peace and calm to our soul.  It stays with us long after we have stopped meditating, making our lives more peaceful, too.
  4. With the peace that increases in our lives through meditation, we will enjoy great physical benefits, such as lower blood pressure and fewer stress related illnesses.
  5. Through meditation our closeness to God increases.  Our focus will be on our spiritual lives, instead of outwardly on our physical lives.

As Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj has said,

Wherever we focus our attention, that’s what we’ll become. And so as we meditate, then we are going to be getting to a state where our closeness with God will be experienced by us more and more and more.  God is within us. Nothing can be closer to us than God, but we don’t experience it because our mind is taking our attention and putting into the outer world.

And yet even knowing all of the benefits that we can have if we meditate, we still put it off, always having some excuse as to why we haven’t got the time.  It reminds me of a story that Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj tells.

A saint had a disciple that he was fond of and liked to visit.  When he first started visiting him, this disciple was a young man.  At the end of every visit the saint would ask the young man if he was meditating for the suggested period of time every day.

The young man would say, “You know, I would like to meditate but my studies are so important that all my time is taken up preparing for examinations.  When I graduate from college and get my degree, I will meditate.”

Finally the time came when the young man graduated and on his next visit, the saint said to him, “Now that you have more time on your hands, you must be sitting for meditation more often.”

The young man told him, “I thought when college was over, I would have lots of time but now, I must find a job and that takes all my spare hours.  When I have found a job, I will have all the time I need to attend to my spiritual practices.”

When he landed the ideal job, the saint again asked him if he was meditating regularly, and the young man told him that now that he was settled in a job, his parents were urging him to get married and start a family and he was preoccupied with the search for a spouse.  When he was married and living the life of a householder, he was sure that he would meditate every day.

As is the case, time flies and the outer activities of life seem to take precedence over our spiritual life.  After the young man married, he had to raise a family.  As his family was growing, he had to attend to his career, making sure his promotions and raises came in a timely manner.  Once his children were almost grown, he had to find them good colleges to attend.  Their own time came to marry and he was preoccupied with that.

There came a time when the man was no longer young and the saint came by to visit.  He asked the old man, who was now retired, if he had finally found the time to meditate and again, the man had a ready excuse.

“My grandchildren are here now and I must help to look after their lives.  When they are launched in life, I will look to my meditation practice.”

Unfortunately, the man passed away without ever realizing the true purpose for which he was born, to know himself and to know that he truly was a part of God.

As another old saying goes, time and tide wait for no one.  We can’t continue to put off our spiritual practices because none of us knows how much time we have been allotted in life.  We could have years or we could only have minutes.  Wouldn’t it be better to start NOW to meditate regularly?  In order to reap those benefits of meditation, we have to put in regular time to sit.  And we will begin to see a change in our lives because as Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj tells us,

Slowly, slowly, slowly, as we sit down to meditate regularly, these benefits start to become a part of our life because we are now living the teachings in our life and not just hearing them and letting them go out.

So, wake up and smell the roses and don’t put off until tomorrow the meditation that you could do today!

Why Is Life so Hard Sometimes?

As part of the Naperville meditation center’s half-day Saturday workshop/retreat series, Mona Grayson will lead a program on May 5 from 1:00 to 5:00 PM. A snack will be provided. See the Events page for details. You are then welcome to stay on for the 6:30 PM question/answer session with Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj.  His final discourse of this visit to the Chicago area will take place the following Sunday, May 6. See the left column for details.

by Mona Grayson

When things are going the way we want them to, life is good, right? We love it when our kids are doing well in school, when we have enough money to pay the bills (and then some!), and when our spouses, friends, and coworkers agree with us.

In times like these we feel like we are in God’s favor — like we’re being taken care of in the best possible way.

Even getting an up-front parking space at the grocery store can make us feel like everything is right in the world.

But when painful or scary things happen, whether they happen to us, our loved ones, or in the world around us, it can leave us feeling hurt, abandoned by God, and wondering how to make sense of it all.

While we may wish that things would go our way all the time and that everyone could be happy and peaceful, the truth of the matter is that no matter how hard we try, things continue to happen in life that we don’t like, enjoy, or want.

Rather than spend our lives trying to prevent all the things we don’t like from happening, or falling to pieces every time they do, we need to accept that these challenging events are bound to occur. It’s part of the human experience. From that point, it then helps to put these challenging events in context and re-strengthen our commitment to fulfilling our true life’s purpose.

The saints and mystics tell us that there’s more to life than meets the eye. Life is not just about being born, growing up, working, raising a family, retiring, and dying.

They tell us that our true purpose of being here in the physical form is to know ourselves at the level of the soul

– which means getting beyond the thinking that the outside world is all that matters.

The saints also tell us that through meditation, and through experiencing the realms of existence within, we can come to understand the true reality — which is that our soul has transmigrated through millions and millions of life forms, and that during those lifetimes, our souls have accumulated karmas.

From this enlightened vantage point, the saints and mystics have seen (and encourage us to make the journey within to see for ourselves) that our soul is now covered with layers and layers of mind, matter, and illusion that need to be shed so that we can return to our pristine existence of Light and Love as pure soul.

As long as there is karma associated with our soul, we will continue to be at the mercy of the wheel of transmigration.

Every life form has a soul that is on a journey to return back to Source, to Oneness. Every life form is on a journey to merge back in the Creator or God. But there’s only one way that can happen…

Being blessed with the human form in this incarnation, it is our chance (our big chance!) to wind these karmas up so that we can fulfill our soul’s journey. The saints know that it’s only in the human form that we can burn our karmas by going through various life experiences, focusing our attention within during meditation, and doing selfless service for others. No other life forms have the power to discriminate and make choices in this way. But we do!

So during an upcoming interactive half-day retreat, we’ll explore why life is so hard sometimes by understanding the role karma and free will play in our past, present, and future so that we can move through life with more ease and gratitude instead of being tossed around by challenging events that happen in our lives. We hope you and your friends can join us for this thought-provoking and empowering meditation retreat.

Courage and Your Spiritual Life

We tend to associate courage with dramatic acts of heroism in exceptional situations. But when you think about it, almost every day offers opportunities for courage as we face life’s many challenges, whether large or small.

We show courage when we stand strong in our ethical principles and are true to our spiritual goals. We show courage when we make the sacrifices required of a disciplined life of meditation. We show courage when we give of ourselves to help others or stand up to injustice or unfairness against ourselves or others. We show courage by remaining positive despite a physical, emotional, or financial adversity.

The flipside of courage is withdrawal in fear. Like courage, fear manifests every day in big ways and small ways, such as all our little worries over money, relationships, success and failure. The sad thing about fear is how much of it is based on imagination. Yet it places so much stress on us and causes so much missed opportunity. As Leo Buscaglia wrote: “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.”

Psychologists tell us that part of becoming a whole person is learning to operate from an “internal focus of control,” by which they mean an inner strength born of our own values and convictions, rather than of the pressures of external forces. Finding that strong inner center is one of the great benefits of a meditative and spiritual life.

Courage and Your Spiritual Life

Saturday, April 7, 1:00-5:00 PM
Science of Spirituality Meditation Center
4S175 Naperville Road
Naperville, IL
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If worry and fear are more a part of your life than you would like, consider attending our upcoming half-day retreat/workshop on this subject. It’s called  Courage and Your Spiritual Life, and is part of our popular half-day retreat/workshop series. See details on the left and on the Events page.

Markus Schramm, who will lead the program, quotes the poet Maya Angelou, to explain that “courage is the most important of the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” The workshop, Markus says, will explore this concept, but in a practical way that applies it to leading deeper, richer lives.

In his book, Empowering the Soul through Meditation, Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj describes fearlessness as one of the five inherent qualities of the soul:

Fearlessness is a quality of the empowered soul. Our soul lives in a perpetual state without fear. It is the source of all power and knows no fear. But tapping our soul, we can access this state of fearlessness so that we can face our fears and problems with renewed confidence, trust, and security.

Join us for Saturday’s program, which aims to provide practical ways to tap into the fearlessness that is inherent in us as spiritual beings.

The Spiritual Equinox

The metaphorical implications of the Spring Equinox are likely not lost on most spiritual seekers. In the Northern Hemisphere it occurs today, March 20. The Equinox represents a precise moment of balance, when Earth’s axis tilts neither toward nor away from the sun. But in the next fateful moment, Earth turns toward the light, leaving behind the dark, cold winter and entering the long days of warmth and beauty.

Those of us pursuing the spiritual path can take comfort in knowing the longest nights have passed. Sure, there will be dark and stormy times ahead, days and nights of sorrow and longing. But our Equinox has come. We have rounded the corner and entered the season of grace and spiritual awakening. We have turned toward the light.

Sant Kirpal Singh Ji Maharaj would often say that the day the questions first rise in one’s consciousness, “Who am I?” “What is the purpose of life?” is the greatest day in one’s existence, because once those questions arise, the soul knows no rest until they are answered. The spiritual journey begins, and God leads the soul to a spiritual Master who has solved the mystery of life and can help others do the same.

Today, as the longest nights leave us and the lovely days grow longer, we’d like to share this remarkable time-lapsed video and follow it with a wonderful quote by Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj. (Once the video starts playing, click the full screen button on the lower right of the video.)

When Springtime Comes

For aeons our soul has been covered with layers of forgetfulness. In the beginning the soul was one with God. But for lifetimes it has been cycling through the wheel of eighty-four. In the panorama of life the soul has identified itself with the mind and body. It has forgotten itself. It passes through life after life in the darkness of the world, oblivious to the brilliant sunlight that awaits it in the higher planes.

It is only when an enlightened being comes in our midst that the snow and ice are thawed and the springtime of realization blooms. The bearer of the message of spring is the spiritual adept. He can awaken the sleeping soul from its long hibernation. He gives new life to the soul by arousing it from its slumber. He takes the soul into a world of sweet fragrant blossoms where there is nothing but joy and happiness.

Springtime will come when our soul realizes itself. An adept can help us identify with the soul within us. Through teaching us the process of meditation, we can discover our real self.

Meditation, according to those studying the Science of Spirituality, is the process by which we withdraw our attention, or soul, from the world outside and from our body and concentrate it at a point between and behind the two eyebrows. By focusing our attention there, we come in contact with a current of Light and Sound which will lead us from our physical consciousness into higher consciousness, into the Beyond.

There we will find eternal spring. There is always brilliant Light and the warmth of love. Our hearts are always in a perpetual state of wonderment. Just as lovers delight in being together in the flower gardens and the parks, with flowing fountains and rippling streams, so does the soul delight in being with its Beloved in the land of perpetual springtime. The soul is in ecstasy to be reunited with its Beloved Lord. There they live forever in a realm of immeasurable bliss and peace. We reach a state in which the air is dancing in jubilation. This is the great happiness that awaits us when the divine Cupbearer comes with the message of spring.

—Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj

Holi – When Hearts Meet

Science of Spirituality includes many ethnic groups and members of all faiths. The Naperville meditation center has especially large Spanish and Hindi-speaking communities. Everyone enjoys celebrating each culture’s special events and holidays, and we all try to appreciate the deeper, spiritual dimension from which many of these traditions arose.

On March 9, almost two hundred people gathered at the Center to celebrate the colorful Indian festival of Holi. The fun-filled evening began with everyone being welcomed to the Center with a dab of colored powder anointed on their forehead. While this is often a traditional greeting in India, it takes a special meaning on Holi, when people rub color on each others’ faces and throw handfuls of color at each other as well. Many people purposely wear white clothing to such gatherings and look like a riot of color before the festivities end.

Music is a major part of the Holi tradition.

There is a deep spiritual meaning behind this practice of immersing all in cornucopia of colors. Each person that comes to the gathering looks unique in their particular clothes, skin color, shape and size. Everyone is lost in his or her own world and brings along the hopes, fears and worries of life. As each one is individually greeted by every other person, they are smeared with different colors all over their person.  Soon, everyone looks alike – indistinguishable from the others under the diversity of color. It becomes easy to embrace another person and wish them a “Happy Holi.” If you like them already, this deepens that sentiment. If you have not had a healthy relationship with another person, the mere act of embracing and looking ridiculous together creates a common bond. Previous hurt can be healed, slights forgiven, and a new relationship established. Holi is meant to be a great equalizer.

The program on Friday began with a Hindi satsang. Readings related to the season from Sant Mat Masters and a video of Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj regaled everyone with the spiritual significance of the day. Maharaj Ji talked about the importance of imbibing the love and joy that one feels outside and bringing it within. With a focus on the self and regular meditative practice, He suggested in his talk, we can always enjoy inner Holi and live a blissful life. Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj writes of this mystical significance of Holi:

In the Hindu tradition there are accounts of the milkmaids or gopis who loved Krishna. During this holiday they would fill long syringes with colored water and as they sang songs and played musical instruments, they would spray each other with great joy. Since that time Holi has represented a time when lovers enjoy besmearing each other with red and pink colors mixed with scented water and saffron. The symbolism of this is the meeting of the Beloved with the disciples or the lovers. In poetry the lovers represent the souls. So Holi is a time when two hearts meet, two souls meet, and when the soul merges with God. The red and pink colors can also symbolize the colors seen when the soul traverses to Trikuti and sees the red rising sun. On the inner journey we come across different sights and sounds that are explained in great detail at the time of initiation. These sights are landmarks that let the soul know how far it has traveled into the inner spiritual regions. When we see the red and pink colors that are sprayed, it serves as a reminder of the red rising sun and the inner journey. While we may enjoy the outer fun of the holiday, we should also use the colors as a reminder that we must go within through meditation and experience the inner colors.

A cultural program was organized after the satsang. A group of children sang bhajans, as did some adults. There was a lively poetry recitation, followed by a quiz program conducted by the children. The questions related to the inner significance of Holi, and the adults in the audience participated fully, enjoying the challenge of testing their own knowledge of the subject. The day concluded with a delicious dinner enjoyed by all, many of whom had visited the center for the first time.

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