There’s a sentence in Rays of the One Light, in the piece on “The Importance of Soul Receptivity,” that jumps out at me every time I read or hear it. Yogananda says that if I am having difficulty with meditation, “I will meditate for you.”
Oh, wow, wouldn’t that be a dream come true! “Master, I’m a little tired this morning, how about if you take over for me. You’re better at this than I am anyway! I’ll just pull up the covers and catch another hour of sleep, okay?”
Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s the arrangement he had in mind. Soul receptivity starts with showing up.
As if there was ever a doubt, Master’s offer to meditate for me comes with a caveat that dashes my excitement in the very next sentence. He says I have to earn that privilege by attuning myself to his way of being. Wouldn’t you know it, there’s always a catch! So, let’s have a look at what that’s about.
The word attunement sounds like a reference to music, and I think that’s appropriate. It evokes the idea of melody. It’s harmonic. Every one of us is attuned to something or someone. Auto mechanics are attuned to the workings of cars. Athletes are attuned to the nuances of their sport. Mothers are attuned to the needs of their children. These are admirable qualities, and they speak to a certain level of refinement. But what Master has in mind is a level of refinement that is higher yet, that connects us by means of intuition to the whispers of God’s wisdom, channeled to us through our attunement to the gurus He sends to guide us.
Think of a tightrope walker crossing a deep chasm. Can you imagine the discipline, daring and practice it takes to accomplish such a feat? Now, imagine where that person would be – and where we would be – if that amount of discipline, commitment and practice were applied to finding God instead. We attune ourselves to so many pastimes that are finite and mortal in lieu of the one that would send us soaring into divine bliss.
Well, I’m no model of walking that talk, and it puzzles me as to why. Where is that leap of faith that we all want to make and yet shy away from?
Well, I have my excuses, and you probably have a few of your own. Thanks to our skill in the use of subjective reasoning, we are able to rationalize almost anything we do. But one of these days we’re going to come to the end of this opportunity, and if we look back at how we have spent our time here, we are going to say of a lot of it, “What was I thinking?!!?”
What we are thinking, I think, is that much of this world is wondrous and appealing. Love, fun and friendship can be part of our daily fare, and we want to experience their appeal. But there is a flip side too, which is unavoidable as long as we depend on the world itself to make us happy. Sometimes that flip side delivers blow after blow, and the only comfort we find is in sharing our miseries.
This world, for better or worse, is a wild ride that can drive us into a rut that goes round and round. When it does, we lose sight of the truth that there is something better than the best the world can offer. It is our destiny, Master said, to free ourselves and unite with God just as the river unites with the sea. That begins to happen with soul receptivity, with peering over the wall of our ups and downs, and seeing within ourselves the means of liberation: meditation, self-offering, forgiveness, and above all, love of God.
Life on earth has been designed as a test: a test of will, a test of courage, a test of attitude and behavior. Every day arrives with new challenges, but almost none of these is new at all. They are simply repackaged versions of ones we failed to overcome in the past. They are the poor habits we have not changed, the moods we have yet to eclipse, the desires and attachments that bind us to our delusions and disappointments.
“… as many as received him, to them gave he the power to become the sons of God.” That’s a promise this world cannot fulfill. Somewhere in the course of this life or another down the line, we are going to wake up to the realization that more than worldly success is required to attain what we really want. Why not now? What are we afraid of?
It is widely believed that people avoid risks for fear of failure, but the greater fear is fear of success. What is it about becoming a true son or daughter of God that frightens us into neglecting the opportunity? Our masters are showing us the way to eternal bliss, and we keep looking to other sources for what we think we want. Why is that? It’s something to think about, isn’t it.