I read a Hukamnama the other day this line of Gurbani keeps running through my mind. “You believe that your life in the world is true.” I think this line of Gurbani has more depth than I can appreciate or understand. On one level, we know that we came on this earth to meet God, but that the illusion of maya has clouded our vision and gets in the way of us meeting Truth. One of the Bhain Ji’s I met explained that night and day are actually reversed. When we wake up in the morning we are actually sleeping. Why? We enter this world, this dream, and we kind of just “sleep” through our lives. We don’t live in Hukam, or meet God, or see Truth. We don’t look at each person as Waheguru. Instead, our minds are overcome by jealousy, anger, etc. and we divide ourselves. When we go to sleep, we receive instruction from God. That is our time to spend with God, but often times we have spent so much time in maya that we end up in dreams. The process of awakening is the process of seeking Truth (God) and happens through simran. In that way, we can become “awake” spiritually 24/7.
On another level, I came to understand that this line is saying that God is operating on a whole other level we don’t understand. We are often struggling to understand when we don’t know the whole picture. There is a reason for everything. We are limited in what we can see in this life. We often jump to assumptions that God is unjust or unfair based on a small portion of the picture. I remember one time I asked one of my friends how they deal with seeing so much suffering. They said to me something like “everyone has their own journey.” I think I hadn’t really understood until today that they were talking about the soul journey and not the life journey. We tend to see people as their life journey, and a lot of the time we end up not having answers that we need to get peace. When we understand that God operates on the soul’s journey- all the lifetimes that soul has gone through, then we can start to understand that what we see in life isn’t necessarily true as we see it.
In the face of seeing sad things in life (which happens in almost every line of work, and if not at work then in personal life and in the world in general) then there is that question of what can you do as an individual. It took a long time for me to understand that my role in life is not necessarily to change people’s realities or fixing everything. Waheguru decides how long we each have to live. There are some things that cannot be corrected. Let’s take an obvious example- your friend’s family member dies. You know that you can’t bring that person back to life for your friend, but you do your best to support them. We do what we can in our realm of influence. I remember one of the Gurmukhs I met talked about how they did simran next to a dying relative 24/7 so that they could know that they as a family had helped in his spiritual progression and fulfilling his purpose in this life and that his mind would be on God in his last breaths. It was a powerful experience for the whole family and they got a lot of peace from it. A lot of times it’s about seeing a devastating situation and realizing what CAN be done rather than what can’t be undone. Ultimately there is a role to trusting that God is just and has this whole other realm of things happening and souls connecting, and then there’s our ability to really connect to God and trust that each soul is taken care of. There’s the ability of each person to do our best to make a difference in other people’s lives as well. So really to understand this line of Gurbani it requires us to see that Truth by connecting to Waheguru.
"He Himself is the school, He Himself is the teacher, and He Himself brings the students to be taught”