Baba says, ‘no one else can be as much loved as this. Therefore, the Father feels mercy for the children who labor.’
Heaven is liberation-in-life; that, is my inheritance. But it’s not as if I suddenly become liberated-in-life when I am born in heaven; rather, to live liberated-in-life is something I have to learn, now, on my way to heaven. To the extent that I am liberated-in-life here, to that extent, I will enjoy heaven.
I cannot be liberated-in-life until I am firm in who I am and what I mean to God. Yes, I am a pure soul, but more importantly, I am a child of God. That is and should be my only introduction- I am a soul, a child of God. This is where I get all my worth and value from, not from limited attainments, not from roles or relationships, or accomplishments, but solely from the fact that I am a child of God. Everything else will change and be taken away from me and so to base my value on people’s approval of me, on titles, on what I own etc, is to set myself up for heartbreak and disappointment. To realize that these temporary attainments are simply props and not part of my identity is to liberate myself.
God is not just my Father, He is also my Teacher and Satguru. As my Teacher, He teaches me the beginning, middle and end of the cycle. He teaches me how I lost all that I had to Ravan by forgetting who I am and therefore, how I can claim everything back if I simply remember. He teaches me spiritual warfare – He teaches me about the powers I have and how and when to use them. ‘Remember who your enemy is at all times‘, He teaches, ‘it’s not your brother soul, it’s Ravan.‘ When someone is being angry or rude, to feel offended by it is to take Ravan’s bait. Because then, that tiny offense turns into bitterness and resentment and before long, into a full-blown case of unforgiveness. And once there is unforgiveness in my heart, then it’s a heaviness that pulls me down constantly, that separates me from my inheritance of peace and happiness and from experiencing closeness to my Father. In other words, I become a prisoner to the offense. Rather, if I can be detached enough in those few seconds to realize that it is Ravan working through the soul, then I find the power to accept the soul and reject the anger. And in doing so, I stay liberated. When I have good wishes instead of grudges, when I have pure feelings instead of feelings of dislike, I stay liberated.
When that situation comes, if I allow myself to be caught up in the spinning of ‘why, what and how’, then I become a prisoner to that situation. Baba says, ‘situations are smarter than Brahmins. It comes and goes but you hold on to it forever’. If the situation has come, it’s because it has something I need to move forward on my journey. Rather than cry out to Baba asking Him to get me out, let me be smart enough to go through it with Him. God never promised me that I’d never have storms; in fact, He reminds me daily that there will be storms. But He did promise that He will walk through them with me. He didn’t say that there won’t be fires, but He did say He’d walk through each one with me. And when I do walk through them, I find that the only things that burn are the bondages – the fears, the insecurities, the attitudes- holding me back. I come out the other side, free and liberated. And so situations come to make me stronger, to mold my character, to increase my faith and take me to a new level of my destiny. To recognize this and go through them knowing God is with me is to already have the victory; it is to be liberated-in-life.
And it is how God works; He uses situations and people to show me those attitudes, those behaviors that are holding me back. He is not condemning me, He is simply showing me so that I can work with Him to change myself. He wants me to change not so that I can be worthy of His love, He wants me to change because He loves me so much that He cannot bear to see me labor. He loves me too much to allow me to stay the way I am when my potential is so much higher. But when I respond to His correction by feeling condemned, then I shut myself down to His help, to His love; I therefore am unable to bring change and will end up falling prey to those same strongholds again. To liberate myself is to be able to feel secure enough in who I am and in how much God loves me to then agree with Him: ‘Yes Baba, I agree with You. You’re right, I do have this problem. Forgive me, I want to change. Please teach me how.’ and then simply follow His shirmat in the matter. This is living victoriously, this is liberation-in-life.
Bhagats try to win or earn God’s love through fasting, through causing themselves physical pain, through undertaking dangerous pilgrimages, through penance and a whole slew of rituals. They think they need to impress God to win His favor. But I know better; I know that God is not an iron-aged human being that He would need to be impressed or lobbied, He is my eternal Father. I don’t have to, and neither can I earn His love; I can only receive it. It is my inheritance, it is my right as His child. But when I don’t realize this, I bring these sanskars of laboring from bhakti into the spiritual path and work to impress God with my ‘perfect performance’ – I put on my white clothes and badge, say all the right words- ‘Om shanti’, ‘Baba..’ , always wear a smile and so I play the perfect yogi outside but am a different person inside. Inside, I’m a mess! I’m embarrassed by the mistakes I made, I’m struggling with that sanskar, I don’t like myself…. Baba says, ‘I don’t need a clever head, I am pleased with an honest heart’. Let me be sensible enough to stop pretending with my Father and be honest about myself with Him. Let me tell Him everything about me as it is so He can help me move forward. To be able to do this is to be liberated-in-life.
Let me realize that I am not a surprise to God! He knew what He was getting when He got me. He chose me before I chose Him. No mistake I make is going to make Him love me any less nor is any accomplishment going to make Him love me any more than He loves me right this minute. He loves me not because of anything I have or haven’t done, He loves me simply because I am His child. Let me learn to separate my who from my do. At every step of this spiritual journey, He is right there with me- as my Father, He is sustaining me; as my Teacher, He is teaching me the ropes; as the Satguru, He is guiding me at every step, through every storm. And when I fall, which I will from time to time, He is right there to pick me up, help me dust myself off and go at it again. He is faithful, He will never give up on me, forsake me nor abandon me. And so as long as I never give up on myself, I will always live a life of victory. Because where there is faith in who I am, in Whose I am and in what I am becoming, there is always victory. And where there is victory, there is liberation-in-life…not just in the future, but right now.