Kabir—a fifteenth century weaver who was both Hindu and Muslim and whose mystical poetry is included in the Sikh Holy Scriptures—spoke these words, taking the voice of God:
O servant, where do you seek Me?
Lo! I am right beside you.
I am neither in temple nor in mosque;
I am neither in the Kaaba nor in Kailash;
I am neither in rites nor ceremonies,
Nor in yoga nor renunciation.
If you seek truly, you will see Me instantly;
You will meet Me in a moment of time.
How do we seek truly for God? Through meditation. To meditate is to let everything fall away until all that remains is God’s Light, God’s Love, God’s Wisdom. Instead of thinking our small thoughts and wallowing in our personal feelings, we let them go so that we can simply dwell in God.
The Sikh Gurus say that God is closer than our hands and feet; they say that the distance between us and God is as thin as the wing of a moth. My teacher, Baba Virsa Singh, emphasizes that there is not a wall of stone between us and God but rather a mere curtain. If we just let go of one end of it, the whole thing falls away, revealing the Light of God.
Why are we holding on to that curtain? We lack faith in God; we are preoccupied with worrying and negative thoughts in a vain effort to protect our small ego. Baba Virsa Singh says,
God has given us a mind that is so tender, so full of love and truth. But we harden it by worrying. We should turn worrying over to the One who has not yet created tomorrow. We are not the creator of tomorrow. Nothing happens without God’s orders.
Jesus taught us that we are like children and God is like our father, that God knows better than we do what is best for us and will always take care of us.
Instead of being aware that God is shaping and protecting our lives we tend to feel that we are surrounded by problems or even by enemies. But our great enemies, our great problems, are worry, anger, resentment, jealousy, greed, and pride, and they all dwell within us. When asked what was the greatest battle to be fought in life, the Prophet Muhammad said that it was the inner battle against these enemies. What are our weapons? Silence, faith, love of God, prayer, surrender, meditation.
Although I am drawn to meditation by sweet longing for God, the path to experiencing the presence of God is a great struggle against all that is not sweet within me. Every day I must take the time to pray to God to free me from any negative thoughts and feelings that have arisen. The struggle to let go of them may be long and intense, but once I finally surrender all darkness, all tension, the Peace and Light and Power and Love by which we know God are instantly apparent, and I can bask in this ineffable Presence.
Baba Virsa Singh says,
Early in the morning, when you first arise, thank God and do a little bit of meditation. Go deep inside, concentrating all your awareness on God. Then the whole day your mind will be concentrating on God; nothing will bother you. As you love God and practice meditation, your weaknesses and bad habits will be driven out, and love and truth will be revealed, as if dust were being cleaned from a mirror.
As you continually look toward God, eventually you will see only God everywhere. You will recognize that everything is happening according to God’s orders. You will be joined with God at all times. You will remain in the world, doing your worldly duties, and you will be always happy.
[prepared for BBC World Service Words of Faith]