Chapter 8: Countless Ways
This is very very difficult, because your ego will keep interfering time and time again. Your mind will keep asking what is all this? Could it be that God has made a mistake? Am I wrong in placing my faith completely in him? When things are going well, you will put your trust in him, but when things do not go as you wish, trouble starts; and that is the true time of test, that is the time for your practice.
For instance when there are flowers spread everywhere before you, you will say with Nanak: “Your will is my will.” But when you are caught in the midst of suffering, when there is nothing but insult and failure all around, then is the real time to test your faith, your practice. In sorrow and pain also, you should be able to say with Nanak: “Thy way, not mine O Lord! I am happy in whatever you choose for me!” In sorrow and suffering you must also accept what he gives.
But this acceptance must not be a pretended show of contentment. Keep in mind that sometimes we assume a false sense of contentment when we find ourselves helpless. When there is suffering and unhappiness with no way out, then the easiest thing is to say, Thy will be done. But our dissatisfaction lies hidden behind our words. Outwardly we accept but inwardly we feel that it should not have been! What we wished for did not come to pass, we could not do anything about it either. We are helpless, powerless, impotent - so the best thing is to accept his will.
Had you uttered these words of Nanak in a state of helplessness and resignation you would not have understood the real meaning of these words. Contentment is not a pitiful state; it is the state of the highest blessedness. These are not words spoken for consolation when nothing else can be done, but as the manifestation of truth. Understand well that it should not be an act of deceiving and consoling one’s own self.
Generally this feeling comes about after a person has tried his very best to get out of some trying circumstances. Having made full use of his sense of doing, he finds himself defeated on all sides, and then he turns to him in desperation, leaving everything to him; but this is no real surrendering. From the very beginning you should not make any effort to change your circumstances, but leave everything in his hands.
Nanak’s concept of supreme surrender is the ultimate spiritual path, the highest practice of a devotee. Then you needn’t worry about choosing a path or method or scripture. You needn’t worry about logic or proof of any philosophy; you have no use for any of these. The devotee rids himself of all these in the one stroke of surrender. He leaves everything at one time and cries out: “Thy way, not mine, O Lord! Thy will be done!”
Experiment a little and you will understand. Nanak is no philosopher. He has not written a scripture, his words are the expression of his inner feelings. He is giving voice to his own experience. You will have difficulty at every step because of the ego, whose very cry is: I know what is right and what should be.