As difficult as things may seem sometimes, when you know something is possible, it is much easier to continue to strive for it. Seeing someone else do it and knowing it is not completely out of reach, alters your outlook. It lifts your spirits and helps you to keep going. Even more significantly, when you see what others can do, and you realise that there are things beyond what you thought possible, it can change everything. This post is a form of encouragement to keep going with your development, and offers an indication of the heights which can be scaled with something as simple as daily practice.
Karaj showed me what’s possible. He used everything to pinpoint areas of the self which needed work. Whatever happened, he continually brought our awareness back to the learning available, compelling us to discover life’s hidden treasures through a level of reflection I had never seen before. It was non-stop. He showed me it’s possible to keep going when I’m too tired to think. He showed me it’s possible to have breakthroughs when all seems lost, just by staying on the path. He showed me it’s possible to connect with others in ways which are always present but all too often remain untouched. And he showed me it’s possible to see service as the highest form of work, but that you can only help others when you help yourself.
He lead by example with his commitment to sorting himself out. His dedication to his own journey, and complete devotion to the ultimate goal were just the examples I needed; and he honoured my own search in a way which suggested he had no choice. As I wrote in the post ‘Cockiness & Humility’: ‘Because of my desire, Karaj had a responsibility to honour my commitment to discover the truth. He had to make sure I was shown the right path.’ What he showed me changed my life.
A few months ago a friend pointed me in the direction of the spiritual teacher, Ram Dass, whose own life changed when he met a remarkable man whom he refers to simply as Maharajji. Known also as Neem Karoli Baba, he was one of those highest-level beings who own nothing, need nothing, and want nothing – except, perhaps, to serve and be one with the Divine. Such people stand at the end of the journey; beacons to all who have a desire for self-realisation. His devotees say of him: ‘In his presence, it was not just that you knew he loved everyone unconditionally, but you loved everyone unconditionally, too.’ Such was the purity of his heart.
Inspired by Ram Dass’s comments that even just to read about Maharajji is enough to touch his purity, I got hold of a book of stories and anecdotes about him – ‘Miracle of Love’ – and began reading. I was struck by how much he reminded me of Karaj. There are very obvious differences: Karaj, by his own admission is neither a guru, nor enlightened. Nor does he have any of the mystical powers that such beings always seem to have. However, their single-minded and mischievous nature is the same; as is their way of challenging the self with their very presence, doggedly holding up a mirror for as long as it takes the individual to see what is there. They are gentle yet fiercely determined, effortlessly capable of complete love and unwavering support, but also utter disdain and irritation. Their devotion and commitment to the highest ideals are as manifest as their insight and wisdom.
Indeed, Karaj talked periodically of such people during our many discussions. But whilst his stories enthralled me, I was so busy with the basics of my own development – seeking to override years of conditioning – that such states of being seemed way beyond my immediate goals. The gift for me now is that, having seen what is possible in my work with Karaj, I look to those people he spoke of and feel a similar attraction and knowing. I know it is possible to change my life when I follow the example of the ones ahead of me on the path. Furthermore, they are teaching me more about what happens when we focus on love, compassion, and service to others; when we devote ourselves to the highest purpose; and when we tap into the influence of daily practice.
As an indication of what’s possible, here is a podcast of Ram Dass telling a few stories about Maharajji and other spiritual beings, for whom it is commonplace to transcend time and space. Scientists have confirmed that particles can be in two states at once, and in two places at once, so we know it’s possible at the quantum level. These stories show us it’s possible at the macro level too. But it is not about the miracles or the powers. It’s about the emptiness of mind, the purity of heart, and the oneness of existence. All of that is within reach of all of us, all of the time.