Happiness comes through peace and harmonious existence. Happiness and peace go together and the only way to get there is to meditate, writes Sant Rajinder Singh
We are all searching for peace. We all wish to lead a life that is fulfilling. As life progresses, we realise that we are most happy when we are peaceful. Any turmoil within our selves, in our families, or in places of work is difficult to deal with. And therefore, we are always looking for a peaceful, harmonious way of life.
A question that continues to hound is: How does one get to the state of peace? Many saints and mystics have talked about it. When we read the scriptures, — whether Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, or any other — the great saints and mystics have addressed the issue. They have all shared ways and means so we can be in harmony, at peace, find happiness, and deal with different situations. And as we start to understand what the great saints and mystics have said, we become peaceful.
Today, when we read the scriptures, we do not follow the teachings blindly. We start by analysing what is being said. We question: Why is this written in the first place and what is the reason? Only if we find our answers, we apply it to our lives. If we were to make our life according to what the great saints said, we definitely would be more peaceful, happy, and in harmony with ourselves and with the divine.
No one wants to be in conflict or turmoil with another being — be it our brothers, sisters, parents, husbands, wives, neighbours, or someone on the street. Deep inside, we wish to be at peace with them. On the outside, we might have problems. But we need to recognise that everyone is different. Their background, their thinking and their karmas, are all different. There are so many factors at play that we do not understand.
We live in an age where there is a lot of emphasis on education, and we all like to believe that we possess higher IQ than the others. That we have great knowledge. What we do not realise is that we have no wisdom. There is great difference between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is something we can acquire. We can go to a teacher, or a school, we can read a book, and we can go on the Internet and pick up all kind of information. That is knowledge.
Wisdom comes from experience. Wisdom comes as we pass through life, as we interact, and as things happen in our life. As life goes on, we gain wisdom. We mistake knowledge acquired on account of our education, and degrees earned, as wisdom gained. That is where we slip. Owning a degree does not make you into a wise being. Experience and learning from life makes you wiser.
A person who is uneducated might have greater wisdom. That does not mean that you have to be uneducated to gain wisdom. We need to recognise the difference. Wisdom is gained by experience. It is gained through life. We gain wisdom through recognising right from wrong.
How does one lead one’s life to be truly happy and peaceful? Happiness comes through peace. Happiness and peace go together. If there is too much turmoil, we can never be happy. Saints and mystics have talked about being peaceful.
The scriptures of all religions point the way back to God. One of the basic Jewish scriptures is the Old Testament, which is rich in references on how to lead a Godly life. Common themes are found in all scriptures. Those who are searching for peace will find the same instructions whether they read up the scriptures of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Sufism, Sikhism, Judaism, or any other religion. The message is that if we wish to find inner peace we must go within.
I would like to take up a passage from the Jewish scriptures. This is from Isaiah in the Old Testament. Isaiah was one of the prophets. Isaiah is known for the vision he had that a day would come when there would be peace. He spoke of a day when people would turn their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. As he said, “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
Another passage from Isaiah is a short one, but it contains within it the essence of finding spiritual peace. The passage says: “Though wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.” (Isaiah 26.3)
In a nutshell, this verse gives us all that we need to find peace. It tells us two things — the first: to keep our attention to the Lord and second: the verse tells us that we will have peace when we trust in the Lord. If we are able to understand the underlying message, we will find that our life be showered with peace.
How can we keep our attention to the Lord? All saints and mystics tell us that we can keep our attention on the Lord through meditation. Meditation is nothing but focused attention on God. The outer expression of the soul is the attention. By turning our attention within, we will find the Lord.
In meditation, we sit with full attention and receptivity, our focus on the meeting point where the Lord will come to receive us. That point is the third or single eye, located between the two eyebrows. It seems so simple. What stands in our way?
What makes it hard to focus on the Lord is the way we keep our attention focused on other preoccupations. If we look at our lives, we find our attention focused in so many places. We may find our attention is split into thinking about our job, money, possessions, family, friends, social life, our future, our past, and all our problems. Each time we focus our attention on any of these areas, we are not focused on God.
But, we may ask, these are all areas that press us on each day of our lives. That is true, but we can find time from our busy lives to focus on God as well. If we cannot find time to put all our attention to God, how can we expect to be open to receive the Lord?
Every person who has found God has spent time in meditation. Meditation was a priority in all their lives.
The writer is a spiritual leader