Picking Apples, Giving Up Smoking, Letting Your Friends Know About Meditation: A Question of Perfect Timing.
If you leave the apples too long on the trees, they will fall to the ground and the wasps will get them. On the other hand, if you arrive too early, you'll have to fight to get them off the branches, and they'll taste just that little bit bitter.
The well-timed farmer walks through his orchard one day, and arrives at a tree just as an apple on that tree is approaching perfect ripeness. The farmer's stroll through the sun-and-shade dappled trees has given him an appetite. The apple falls into his hand. His first bite is crisp, perfect, and he recognizes the taste of grace.
Timing is important. Things can't be pushed.
I remember the struggle I had, trying to give up cigarettes. I used to smoke forty a day, and several times I decided to cut them out altogether. I would stop smoking, smoke nothing for maybe a month, then suddenly (out of control) zoom right back up to forty a day.
Now we need to tell the rest of the world, "If you're suffering and if you're miserable …" - maybe some people don't see themselves right now as suffering or miserable, but at some point in their life it's going to be like, "This isn't why I'm here. I can't find it." So we have to be really clear and ready to say, "Listen. I can help you, I think. I can show you something. I can lead you to someone who can help you." If we're not even clear enough to do that, if we're crazy ourselves, who's going to listen to us? We have to get really clear.
- Durga Ji
Years later I started meditating, and found I was smoking less. It wasn't that I'd make any decision. I wasn't using will power. I was just feeling happier all round, and it took longer between cigarettes for me to remember, oh yes, it must be time for another one.
After a while I was only smoking thirty-two a day, twenty-seven, eighteen, five, two, one, none. Aha, I said, I've done it. I quit. I smoked another one the next day. Then I went for about three days without smoking. Then another. And that was it.
It taught me that it's all a matter of time, of the readiness of the heart. Timing is important. Things can't be pushed.
Timing can be important in other ways. A few years ago, I was on my way back from India, and had to spend an hour or two at the border post between Afghanistan and Iran. I started talking to a young American who was on his way through Afghanistan to India. I told him about Guru Maharaj Ji, and he stopped off in Hardwar to visit the ashram there. His name was Bill Patterson. Now we call him Mahatma Satchitanand.
Kurt Vonnegut said it: "Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God." Bob Dylan said it: "Take what you have gathered from coincidence." Those "chance" meetings are often planned. Timing is important. Things can't be pushed.
But we're pushy people. We've been conditioned all our lives to work for results (rather than for the joy of working), and it's a bit hard to slow down now. Meditation helps, of course. But we still seem to want every satsang we give to produce an instant convert. And it ain't necessarily so.
Listen to what Lao Tzu said, in his quiet Chinese way, two and a half thousand years ago: "Do not strive to convert, those who want peace shall find the Way."
Striving in satsang? It means being so concerned with the effect of the satsang, that the love is lost. Often when we're pushy with our words, we push the people we're talking to right out of our lives. It may be better to speak little and serve much. Then, when we're asked, hey, what's come over you that you're so helpful all of a sudden, we can start to talk about Maharaj Ji. No need to push it. The time will be ripe.
Often, if we give someone a seed of satsang, and allow it a week to grow before we follow up with more, we'll have grown too. Gandhi was once asked by a friend, "How can you say one thing last week, and something quite different this week?" He replied, "Ah, because I have learned something since last week." Another week's more wisdom may be enough to tip the balance.
Of course, this doesn't mean we should leave all satsang to the last minute before the end of the world. "Never delay in attending Satsang," and "Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today" still apply.
When we give satsang, there are two sorts of things we are trying to do. We want to share some of our love with the people we're with: and we want to explain where the love comes from, and how we tap into it. Sharing love is a matter of "vibe," while explaining is a matter of words.
I was once asked to lecture a class in business college. The subject was given to me just before I walked in the door of the classroom: Making a Presentation. In other words, how do you tell someone (boss, secretary, publisher, client) about what you're doing. Like a premie, I reckoned I could speak on any subject and make it stick, if I came from the one place I really know. So I got up in front of the class and started to speak. And I found I was discussing "rules for effective satsang," although I pretended I was talking about "rules for effective presentations." The first thing (I said) is to be sincere. In other words, don't tell people things that you don't know to be true. In satsang: speak from experience.
Meditation: The Missing Peace
During his satsang to the public at Hans Jayanti, Guru Maharaj Ji talked a bit about jigsaw puzzles. "Can you imagine putting together a puzzle with 5,333 pieces, and finding you only have 5,332 of them?" he asked. "There's only one link missing, and that's the one that sits right at the heart of the puzzle. It's no use going and showing someone the puzzle, because he's going to say, 'Oh yeah? Well, what's that hole in the middle?' "
The puzzle, naturally enough, is our life. And the piece that's missing? Meditation, the Missing Peace.
Meditation: The Missing Peace is the title of a new propagation magazine. You may have seen it at Hans Jayanti before it sold out. It's a very gentle introduction to satsang and the Perfect Master. So far, everybody's main comment seems to be, "At last, something I can even send my parents." Or leave on a seat in a doctor's office. Or show my professor. Or whatever.
All in all, it's probably the best short introduction to Knowledge we have. In magazine format, not too glossy, with a color cover. And meant to be used. A lot of the people who bought copies at Hans Jayanti bought three or four at a time. It's not something for us to keep to ourselves, it's meant to be sent to our friends. We kept the price down so we could all afford to buy it and then give it away.
Meditation: The Missing Peace. $.35. Available from your local DIC or Ashram. If you have any difficulty getting tne copies you need, write:
Meditation: The Missing Peace
P.O. Box 532,
Denver, Colorado 80201
Okay. Let's do it.
For premies who live in a community, the opportunities for doing propagation through your local DUO office are many. As our family gets more and more organized, the actions we do in propagation will have more effect on the way the public sees Divine Light Mission, our family; and Guru Maharaj Ji, our Perfect Master.
If there is no Divine Light Mission ashram or center already established in your area, and you feel you would like to take a more active role in propagation other than word of mouth satsang to friends, associates, etc., you should write to:
Divine Light Mission
P.O. Box 532
Denver, CO 80201
Someone will then write to you and tell you what to do.