God’s Guidance, Meditation and the Master. By Mourad Rashad
What guides Man to God, is God Himself, provided that this Man has a genuine and sincere wish to leave his present worldly residence and travel to God’s Kingdom. How does God guide Man? Man’s heart or insight is the instrument that God has given to Man, so that God can communicate with Man and guide him. Man’s mind is always clouded by his own desires, hopes, achievements, attachments and so forth. When Man develops a sincere longing to leave this world -due to his sensitivity towards the pains of his fellow Man- he looks for a way out from this world that is full of pain, misery and fears. Then this Man turns to become meditative.
What is meditation? Meditation is not a practice or a posture or a technique; meditation is to develop a meditative attitude towards your everyday life.
Meditation is not a discipline that you impose on yourself. That is why the great Zen Master Rinzai said “There are bald-headed and blind monks who, after satisfying their hunger, immediately sit in meditation to look into their mental activities and arrest their thoughts so that the latter cannot arise again. These people hate disturbance and seek quiet; this is the way of the heretics.” Unfortunately, Man today looks at meditation as a technique to calm the torrent of his thoughts, a tranquilizer pill or a tablet of valium, at the most to take him to another dimension of consciousness where everything disappears and a state of ecstasy or unsurpassed bliss is experienced. What Advaita describes as a type of Samadhi. Then the one who meditate thinks that he has reached the final goal. That is why Sri Ramana Maharishi says in Talk 465: “Meditation should remain unbroken as a current. If unbroken it is called samadhi or Kundalini sakti. ……… Otherwise how can nirvikalpa samadhi be of any use in which a man remains as a log of wood? He must necessarily rise up from it sometime or other and face the world.” It is this continous meditation, this unbroken current; that is the true meditation.
Meditation has to happen to you; meditation becomes an indispensible growth in your being. Meditation has to occur due to a deep transformation in your own being. Meditation cannot be added to your being while you are still as you are. A metamorphosis in your inner configuration has to happen by which you are transformed into a meditative human, the highest type of human beings.
What is this metamorphosis, what is this transformation that has to happen before Man becomes meditative? It is a deeper transformation in Man’s heart. Man has to know what he is. Man is a practitioner of worldly life, a follower of the worldly conventional ways of dealing with his everyday life, an automaton, a robot that simply follows the convention, a robot that works through buttons; the button is called conditioning.
Do we remember the Great Russian scientist Pavlov and his discovery of the conditioned reactions of dogs and other animals? Pavlov designed an experiment which he calls “sham feeding of dogs”. Every time he rings a bell, he gives the dog something to eat. After repeating this method many times, Pavlov rings the bell and does not give the dog food; the dog starts salivating. This is the conditioned reflex in animals. This is Man’s conditioning. This conditioning of Man’s mind, made the mind run in fixed grooves; just like the grooves of a plastic musical record and the stylus. Man does not stop and question his conditioning; is it right or is it wrong. Man simply follows. This is what Man is.
Why does meditation become an indispensible growth? Why can’t Man learn how to meditate? No one can learn how to meditate; it has to spring from your deep most core, and it has to erupt like a volcano upon your discovery of your own ignorance. You discover your own utter ignorance from your contact with your everyday living. A discovery that we are always avoiding, a discovery that we all evade in order not to appear in our own eyes as ignorant, as stupid and dull witted. I do not want to change my own idea about myself; I wish to remain as people think about what I am. I want always to be the clever one. Upon the discovery of my own ignorance, the volcano erupts. I am not clever, maybe I am also not the good guy that I think myself to be, maybe I am not the good father, the good husband and so forth. Only then, meditation becomes an indispensible growth, a must, because without it you are lost, you cannot live your life. You need meditation to continue living.
Now, the need to have a meditative attitude has been created in your heart. But what is this inner metamorphosis, inner change of your configuration? This inner mutation, inner transformation, I wish to name it inner metamorphosis from being the Mr. know it all to Mr. Dumb. This maturity, this revelation that I am Mr. Dumb cannot be added to Mr. know it all. Mr. know it all has to go, to be replaced by Mr. Dumb. This new Mr. Dumb will be my intimate friend for ever. This is the transformation and the mutation. I cannot be at times Mr. know it all and at other times Mr. Dumb.
This meditative attitude, this inward metamorphosis in the configuration of Man, will flower into the spiritual insight, an insight that will guide him to God’s kingdom. This insight has always been with Man. It is an essential component of his original nature, but Man neglected it and used his mind instead.
When meditation starts, God’s guidance occurs in the form of revelations and inspirations. This happens to the mature Man. Moreover, to the less mature Man, God will speak to him in symbols, in signs and in his dreams. In either case God guides this Man. Whatever this Man understands from the inspirations, revelation, signs and so forth, he follows immediately and put this new understanding in effect in his daily life in place of his old conventional understanding. These new revelations might be expressed in words, either to himself or his friends. Once these revelations are expressed to others, they could be viewed by people of the world as views, points of view, ideas, illusory concepts and they give themselves the liberty to put these revelations that were expressed on equal footing and equal grounds as their own dusty views and ideas they live by. That is because these mortals -people of the world- had never developed a meditative attitude, nor has their insight been revived.
That is why an earnest seeker needs a guide, a Master in order to tell him – at least in the beginning of the blossoming of his insight- that what he had recently understood is a revelation, not another concept or idea or a view from his rotten mind. This guidance by the guide -Murshid in Sufism- or Master will continue until the seeker is able to differentiate between a revelation and a silly mental concept, view or idea. This relationship between the Master and the disciple -later on- will not remain as such, but they will be as two seekers holding each other’s hand flying to God’s kingdom, with the former disciple always grateful and appreciating his previous Master.