By A Sai Youth
I want to surrender. I really do. I want to retire to my bed, look at Baba and simply exhale all my expectations unto Him. But I do have expectations. You see, I am young, my life is just starting, and I have this fiery force within me that wants to move onwards and up in my career, and in my life.
And yet one month passes. And another. And before I know it, a half year transpires, and I am still left standing, wondering, scratching my head, not knowing what else to do.
To compensate for this stale state, I push harder, study more intensely, and insist on perfection. I “visualize” my goals, my dreams, I “put out” positive thoughts, I pour my heart and soul into what I work so hard for.
I conceptually understand the spiritual philosophy of surrendering. I know that we should perform our actions without the fruits in mind (karma yoga), because aiming for results keeps us bound in insatiable circle of desire and disappointment.
My spiritual conundrum lies in asking the question – how do I balance surrendering while pursuing my dreams? This has been the theme of my life for the past year or so. I ask Baba to help me along my progress.
Some of the answers to my questions lie in a prayer hanging above my nightstand. It is the Prayer of Surrender, written by Baba. In it Baba says:
“What seriously upsets you is your reasoning, your worrying, your obsession, your will to provide for yourselves at any price. I can do so many things when the being, as much in his material necessities as in his spiritual ones, turns to Me saying: “You think of it.” then he closes his eyes and rests quietly. You will receive a lot but only when your prayer will rely fully upon Me. You pray to Me when in pain so that I intervene, but in the way you desire it. You do not rely on Me, but you want Me to adjust your requests.”
So this answers my question about expectation. Clearly there is a reason why things do or do not happen, as Baba does it for our benefit. And He is right, in a way. I do reason and worry, and obsessively contemplate on ways to further myself, and am deeply affected when those efforts don’t come to fruition. But if you think about it, why not leave the burden of that to someone who can handle it? An individual who not only created the singular me, but the billions of countless beings, planets and stars, suns and cosmos – surely that person can handle the trajectory of my life.
I willingly offer that to Swami. Because it is tiring to ponder and compulsively obsess over something that we ultimately have no real control over. The only control we have is over our emotions and reactions. Whether we are met with pleasant or unpleasant experiences in life, we have to blindly take it as for our benefit. The equanimity we gain from greeting any situation, good or bad, is the main source for our spiritual growth.
It is not only a lesson in being detached from one’s efforts, but reinforces a fundamental spiritual tenet, which Baba eloquently preaches, which is to have our “Hands in Society, but Heads in the Forest.” Meaning to say, while we operate in the world of professional aspirations and career-oriented goals, we must not let that world overwhelm us. Otherwise we risk halting our progress towards the shore of realization and drowning in the sea of misery.
I guess the one thing that must evolve is my thinking. I am a believer in the adage “God helps those who help themselves.” So I would function thinking “if I am doing this much work and effort and earnest concentration on my goals, my work will never go unnoticed and unrewarded!” But like an arduous ascetic in a hermitage, the Guru may purposefully avoid praising his disciple, nay, may even chastise the ascetic – but not out of malice, but to quash the growing fire of his ego. The ego that says, “I did this work. I deserve reward and recognition.” And as the ascetic works harder to win his Guru’s praise, the Guru knows best to pour cold water on his disciple’s desire-driven heart.
Baba is my Guru. The world is my hermitage. It is for my betterment. It is for my growth. Atop a mountain a rock appears jagged, but when it finally rolls to the bottom it is as smooth as silk. So too the spiritual path is rough and tough, but the journey is not in vain. It is to rid ourselves of the defects and sheaths of ignorance which trap us in this cyclical existence, so that when we reach the destination, we will have truly evolved.
[Editor's Note: In this post, a Sai Youth has shown how he was able to find answers to some very pressing and real-life questions through reflection and meditation. Ultimately, based on what he discovered from introspection, it is very clear that Baba guided his thought process. It appears that he has understood the importance of working hard but leaving the results in Baba's capable hands.]