No. 32, August 1976
FOLLOW YOUR GUIDE
National Director Derek Harper answered these questions during a Sydney community meeting.
Derek, how do you know how fast you should go?
Each of us has our own particular place where we are supposed to be, and if we fall behind that place we experience discomfort. It is as if when you receive Knowledge you are given a little man with a white coat on - I imagine him looking like Dudley Moore, with a little cloth cap and a sign on the back of his coat saying, "Follow me". So when you are initiated you are given one of these little guys and you walk out of the room arm in arm with the guide who you are going to follow for the rest of your life, which is your meditation. Immediately he starts walking up the street, so you walk up the street, and he walks home and everything is fine. The next morning he gets up at about six o'clock and starts wandering down the road, and you look and say, "Oh I better go after him," and so you chase after him. And this goes on. Sometimes he takes you to some pretty tough areas but as long as you stick with him it's cool, because he knows all the guys and everything is sweet. But sometimes you might decide to have a bit of a rest and he just keeps on going. Maybe he is walking down the street and you say, "Oh, I feel like a milk-shake," so you nick into a milk-bar. But this guy is still walking, and the further away he gets from you the more disharmonious it is.
So the thing is, if you practise meditation constantly, as Guru Maharaj Ji says, then you will always be in the right place at the right time. You'll have the right amount of milk-shakes, the right amount of rest, the right amount of everything. Everything will be completely balanced because this guide knows where you are supposed to be; this guide teaches you and does everything just right for you. So it is not a question of having to run everywhere, nor is it that you have to walk everywhere, what you have got to do is to be in sync wit that experience that is perfect. So constantly meditating is the name of the game - then you will always be at the right point, you won't be running ahead, you won't be trying to judge where you are, you won't be thinking, "Oh I know where he's going, I'll just duck down here and catch him at the corner." Because if you do that you get completely lost.
And everybody has their own guide: you can't follow someone else's. If you say, "Oh, he looks familiar, he'll do," and start trying to follow him, you'll find that you start getting pulled backwards, like an undertow. What you have to do is to stick with your own guide, your own experience. You have got to stick with that thing which is completely personal to you. Because we all hop on the path at different places and we all have different capabilities. Some people are extremely persistent and really tenacious in what they do, other people are not so tenacious. Some people have had such experiences in the world that they want to practise Knowledge more than anything else, other people don't quite have that desire. It would be inappropriate to think that everyone should go at the same speed - twenty abreast, fifty deep walking along with one guide at the front …. old and young alike, up and down mountains, under the seas …. obviously this is not going to happen. We all have our own perfect situation and what is fair to expect is that we should all make the most of our own potential. Which means we should try to constantly meditate.
Sometimes we have to be driven to do things. People like athletes, people who are really trying to excell in a particular field quite often they have to not only personally drive themselves, but they also get driven by their coach to go beyond what they thought their previous limitation was. And this is the whole aim of the game with practising Knowledge, to go beyond your limits. And what's the limit we put on ourselves? We put a limit on how much we are prepared to do; we decide what are we going to put up with in order to progress. And that's the limit that we have got to go through. And so Guru Maharaj Ji says, "Okay, you constantly meditate, you catch on to this thing and it will take you at what is exactly the right speed for you to go." It will go fast sometimes, other times it will go slow; sometimes it will go through nasty places, other times it will go through cool places. But whatever happens, the average of your life is getting better and better and better.
All you do is just meditate as much as you can. It may even be that the thing for you for this year is to meditate for four hours of the day instead of twenty-four hours of the day, maybe that's your maximum ability. If everyone went out tomorrow and tried to meditate as much as they could all day, it would be a completely perfect situation for all of us. If I meditate for six hours of the day maybe that's terrific, but if someone else meditates six hours of the day then your guide might say, "That's not good enough for you, you're supposed to be doing seven hours a day." You don't know in number how many hours of meditation you should be doing a day, you don't know how many freak-outs you are allowed to have, or how many ideas you are supposed to have in an hour, or how many times can you scratch yourself in your
It's a paradox. On one hand you have got to be patient with yourself, on the other hand you have got to motivate yourself. The thing is generally speaking most people are too patient with themselves and it would be preferable if they motivated themselves. But sometimes you say, "Okay, everyone go and motivate yourself," and a whole lot of people who are already trying pretty hard think, "Oh now I've got to try even harder," and this can be difficult again. That's the problem when you are talking generally.
The Golden Age
meditation. All you know, the only thing that we know for absolute certain is that Guru Maharaj Ji says that we should try to constantly meditate. So that's what we should do; some days we fail, some days we don't. But as long as we try, as long as we make that effort we're doing the maximum we can.
But this is the thing, when you say something like that a whole lot of people say, "Oh well fine, I try and I only manage to meditate for fifteen minutes in the morning and fifteen at night, but I am trying." Well anyone can fool themselves, but the point is we're responsible for our own lives and we have our own destiny in our control. We can either make something incredible of our lives, something really beautiful, or we can make something that's anywhere from that to complete mediocrity. Your life is what you make it. I have a standard of happiness that I like to have: I like to be happy all the the time. I like to be completely satisfied all the time, that's the standard I have set for myself, and when I don't achieve it then I work harder - I just meditate more and more and more. You may have other standards, you might want to stop at being freaked out six days in every month. Well, fine, but for me, I want to go to the end of the line.
How can you know if you're doing enough service?
Guru Maharaj Ji says, and this is something we used to say a lot, that service is a state of mind: that if you are surrendered then everything you are doing will be service. There are lots of things that we do but whether we're doing service or not depends on our consciousness and our reasons - everything can be service if we are completely dedicated to doing it. The thing is why there was a shift here from saying, "Okay, service is anything you do," was simply because so many people were just wandering around saying anything they reckoned was a good deal was service. So it was felt that it was necessary to tighten it in a little and say, "Listen, service is those things you do directly for the Mission." Because everyone has got their fantastic fantasy of what service is: "Well, if I spend a hundred dollars a week taking violin lessons, then when I'm recognised and become the most famous violinist in the world then in front of live audiences all around the world I can get up and say it was all due to Guru Maharaj Ji …" But generally speaking you know when you are devoted to helping Guru Maharaj Ji. He wants to establish Knowledge and give it to people, and if your true feeling is that you really want to help, then you can't in all conscience go around completely wasting your time. You have an actual desire to do what is appropriate, to do what is going to be the most beneficial. Sometimes you will have to go out and buy clothes or something like that, but if your desire is true and you are sincere in wanting to help then everything is okay. When someone has a sincere desire to help Maharaj Ji, and does it by choice and with love, then that is service.
The thing is, if you're constantly meditating, questions like, "Am I doing service?" don't even arise. You have all these paradoxes: too much service, not enough; too fast, too slow; am I surrendered, am I not surrendered. And as long as you are in your mind then you have always got to choose one of these things, because you are in the world of polarity. But if you are meditating, then these things no longer exist for you. The idea of asking yourself if you are doing service or not never comes into it. I never ask myself that, because I know that I am doing it, it's proven to me by the fact that my life is harmonious. If you meditate you don't have any questions.
And again, I'm not implying that if you have been in bed for the last six weeks you shouldn't think that maybe it's time to get up: "It's only my mind telling me I should be doing service, I'll get rid of this …" Meditate for fifteen minutes then turn on the television. No.
The thing is, people in the Mission all around Australia are getting to a point where they are starting to see the difficulties involved in practising Knowledge without meditating. It is extremely difficult, because there are too many paradoxes, too many contradictions. It's getting more and more complex: it was okay to juggle two oranges but juggling fifteen is getting a bit difficult. People are starting to realise that it is now necessary to do more. When you start to become more aware of your mind, you start to realise it is constantly bringing up these paradoxes and these questions and these opinions and emotions. So more and more you start to turn away from that thing, turn away from your mind and connect with that gentle experience inside.
Your mind will tell you anything - what you have to do is first meditate as much as you can, and then as a result of that meditation a natural desire to do service, attend satsang, and follow Guru Maharaj Ji's direction will come.
I find that sometimes I want to do service, and other times I don't. Like I'm a member of AMP, and some weeks I'm happy to contribute, other weeks I just don't feel like it.
Consistency is the name of the game. You've got to try to be consistent and regular in whatever you do. Some days you will really feel it: because you have been meditating you will really feel that it is something that you want to do really deep inside yourself. But if you are not meditating so much then you may think the whole thing is just a great fiasco. Either way, AMP is supposed to be consistent - as is service, as is satsang, as is meditation.
We're trying to go from living a life of variance, from going up and down, in and out, and bring it to a point of stability. It's like a tree on a pole in the ground. At first you grow the tree up beside the pole, and tie it on with some string because the tree is not going to hold itself up. But once the tree gets strong enough, it's going to hold the pole up. And eventually you can take the stick away and then the tree will stand there complete and entire within itself.
So you have your external disciplines which are good, especially when sometimes you feel like doing it and sometimes you don't. But eventually you will get to the point if you have been meditating a lot where you will be wanting to do it anyway, irrespective of any routine. Where you will want to give AMP, and it won't even be a matter of wanting to do it, it will just be part of your life.
Sometimes I feel like I've bitten off more than I can chew…
Well you have, in a way.
Premies sometimes think that if they had known what it was like they would not have taken it, but now that you have bought your ticket, you're in for the ride.
The thing is you can't get off. It's like you are sitting down there in complete boredomsville where nothing ever
No. 32, August 1976
happens, and someone says, "Listen, if you stay here, you are going to do nothing for the rest of your life other than fold empty cigarette packs. Would you like to climb Mount Everest?" And you say, "Far out, anything to get away!" So you go and you do it and after you have been slogging away at it for a couple of days you maybe think that it is not so great. But the point is, don't forget what it was like before you had it, which was so boring,
I can tell you you could never get back into it. I see friends and you just spend a day with them and they're saying, "Oh, what will we do?" Whereas a premie's life is so completely full and so completely purposeful that it is just unbelievable what you have zot. Sometimes when you are in it you don't notice it as much, you don't see what an incredible life you have got, but if you didn't have Knowledge you would do anything to get it back.
Obviously when you are practising Knowledge you'll go through periods where it is just one big push, where you are pushing the barrel up the hill day after day after day. I have had times where for months all I have been doing is pushing up-hill
Times where there has been little love or joy in my life …. just working, working, working …. meditating, meditating, meditating …. without even a crumb of good times - at least not the sort of good times that I have been used to having.
The point is we're not going after the short-term things - how Knowledge is today or how Knowledge is tomorrow.
It's an investment: if you practise Knowledge, by degrees your whole life will get better and better and better. And some days it may seem difficult and some days you may feel like sending it back, saying "Thank you for the 90-day free trial but Idon't want it." But the thing is you can't do that, and that's a reality all of it's own.
You can get into a spacy area when you don't meditate, or when you don't meditate enough, or sometimes something seems to just come from out of nowhere. People in the world go up and down without having to do anything - maybe it's their bio-rhythms or whatever. And when you take Knowledge that doesn't stop you from going up and down, all it means is that you have something to do whilst you are going up and down. You can meditate and as a result you eventually go up more and down less.
Sometimes practising Knowledge is like sitting on the edge of your seat completely and absolutely scared to death. Just sitting there trying to meditate because if you don't you reckon you are going to go bananas. Your mind is screaming and banging on the cage walls spitting at you, throwing old bananas and eggs and rocks. It is really giving you a hard time and you feel like just going out and shooting yourself, because to sit there and fight it is a bit of a drag and to shoot yourself would seem to be a lot quicker. And the thing is we should persevere. Because if you want to do anything, it requires a bit of effort.
If you are confronted with things getting a little heavy, then you can either give up and just try to back off - in which case it is like trying to jump a fence and you don't make it and you still stay on the side of the fence where you were when you tried the first time; or you can jump on the fence and just sit on it, which is uncomfortable; or you can just scramble right over. Every time you come up to a barrier with this Knowledge you have the choice of either to pass or fail depending on what you do, whether you put it off to tomorrow. But Guru Maharaj Ji says don't put it off to tomorrow, do it today. He also says don't have any doubt in your mind about whether you can do it or you can't do it, and always have faith in God - which means go right ahead and meditate and do it. That's the instructions for living your life - you constantly meditate whatever your mind does.
It gets to the point where you enjoy being freaked out, it becomes a bit of a buzz like going to see a horror movie. Really it does. I know for myself that sometimes I can be sitting down meditating or listening to satsang and suddenly from out of nowhere there will be a cold chill running up my spine just like some guy has got an icy dagger and stabbed me. And I'll have this idea to jump out the window, that Knowledge doesn't work and I'm freaked out and I've got all the techniques wrong anyway and let's bail out while we can. I'll be sitting there with this happening, and the first couple of times it is freaky. But after a while you start to get the hang of it, and to me it is a sign of progress.
When you start to push your mind, start to meditate more then obviously it is going to react to the extra pressure you are putting on to it. And so it will freak out and try to get you all the more. But if you just hang on and don't give in then eventually it will die down. And after a while if you beat it often and frequently it will just have what's called a loser's mentality. Where as soon as it comes to have a go at you it knows and you know it is not going to win. It may well rant and rave but it is like a ghost train, everything looks as if it is just about to happen but it never actually does: you are just about to go mad but in fact you never do; you are just about to stop practising Knowledge but you never quite get around to it. Because it is all just an illusion, and it can't hold up to the reality. So if you keep on meditating, eventually you go through these things and they just happen less and less.
It is like a balloon - the more you practise Knowledge the more the balloon fills up with air and rises. For a little while maybe you are bumping into things - lamp posts, rubbish bins, dogs, people - because you are only three feet off the ground. But the more you meditate, the higher you become. And so maybe you are ten feet up in which case you don't hit dogs and cats and rubbish bins any more, but you do hit lamp posts, and big fences, and trees and houses. And sometimes you might go through a period where you hit a lot of things but that's not any reason for giving up - you just stick with it and you will find that everything has it's benefit in the end. If you keep on practising and trying then eventually nothing can get in your way, nothing is a problem for you.
Because after all that's the promise that Guru Maharaj Ji made, that we will have a peace that is so deep it is unshakeable. Love and beauty and peace and happiness are not found in the same place as doubt, confusion, fear and whatever. And so we are in a period of transition. Because we have been habitualised to attachment to our mind, to believing what we think and feel, and it is very difficult to break. But over a period of time that's what we are doing. The main point is to keep on going - keep on going further and further and further until eventually all this stuff just fades away in the background and you just drop into that slot and away you go. It is well worth the effort.