Beware of substitutes

Baba says, ‘beware of substitutes‘. After a long cycle of separation, the soul finally meets its Father, God Himself. It is the great confluence. Wisdom would say that this would be when the soul is the happiest….is it?

When Maya sees that the soul has recognized The Father and is gravitating toward Him, she does everything she can to break the union. But she says, ‘you should really be focusing on that promotion else so and so is going to get it….then you will be ordinary’, ‘you didn’t win that prize…too bad, you are right to be devastated’, ‘good job, you were the smartest person in the room today…you really showed them’, ‘the new house is definitely big, gets you into the who’s who…now maybe change that car’, ‘don’t trust his words…he is giving you kudos for a job well done but he doesn’t mean it, they are just using your skills’, ‘you know, you really deserve better…you’ve been so thoroughly overlooked, you poor thing’.

In other words, her tactic is to distract and keep me busy in the petty and mundane. Her job is to ensure I am not happy but rather caught up in the daily hustle of life. you know….to ‘be something’, ‘to make it’….

Baba says, ‘remember who you are’. That is the antidote to Maya’s tactics. And that comes from practice, not by attending workshops or seminars. Just practice… every day, consistently without excuses.

So we start the practice and we find that my mind is not still. In fact it gets pulled by the mundane, by what h/she said, by what happened yesterday or even 10 years ago. I am remembering everything but the one thing I need to…clearly, I say to myself, ‘I am not cut out for this’ and I give up. But I need to do something and so I settle for action- I get busy with physical service. I clean, I cook, I make, I teach, I do everything to keep me busy. And guess what, everyone appreciates what I am doing. Why, just the other day the teacher said I was the most serviceable student in front of the whole class. I am so proud…

Yes, it is certainly nice to help out with activities but it is NOT a substitute for remembrance or a means to lasting happiness.

Happiness comes when I transform, when I learn to move away from the limited to the unlimited. When I choose to get busy in service and look for fulfillment there, it is me going back to the limited. If the project goes well, I am happy. If everyone said I did a good job, I am happy. If the turn out was low, I am sad. If someone else with more expertise (real or perceived) comes along, I am insecure and jealous. It doesn’t matter that this is not worldly service, that this is spiritual service, the feelings, the results are the same. Why? Because my sanskars are the same.

Check‘, He says, ‘if you have settled for substitutes‘. Even if you are happy today, it is just a matter of time before something doesn’t go per expectations and you are sad again.

Let me learn to be introspective. Let me learn to step into my own truth of who I am and relate to myself that way. Let me learn to relate to God as my Father, my Teacher, my Guru, my Friend, my Beloved, my Eternal Companion. He is always with me, let me learn to enjoy His company. That love is the only alchemy that can heal past wounds, that can help me realize how everything else is false and futile, that cab help me realize that I have found that which I wanted and that there is nothing beyond this to be had.

I have to experience that love, not just talk about it to be able to feel secure enough to not care about my ‘social status’ or other’s approval. I need to be contented enough to not want anything else that Maya offers me as temptation. Then, from that place of security and contentment, when I engage in an activity, I do it for God, I do truly as service to my brothers and sisters such that they may also find what I have found. I don’t do it for my personal satisfaction, I am already full. I don’t measure my worth based on turn out, I already know my worth.

If I am serving to satisfy the need of my ego, for that pat on the back, then that is not service. It is selfishness, says Baba. The soul does not need a pat on the back or simply wants to serve.

Also such false service almost never wins hearts. But when we don’t realize we say, ‘I worked so hard and yet, these people don’t recognize me, I serve so much..’ Don’t deceive yourself with such thoughts, cautions Baba. Just as the sun cannot be hidden, similarly, a true server cannot remain hidden. They always shone through. So if you are not winning hearts and minds, if you are still experiencing dissatisfaction, if you don’t feel you are receiving blessings, check to see if your intention is true.

Am I serving or am I substituting?

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