A friend from India wrote, “In our lives we are so used to solving our problems. Then one fine day we are confronted with a problem that we really can’t do anything about. . . . At such times all we can do is pray and leave it to God. But ‘Leave it to God’ somehow makes us feel helpless. How can we turn ‘Leave it to God’ from this negative emotion to a positive one?”
At a time like this, during a global pandemic with its associated fears and anxiety, it is easy to feel helpless. Even if we ourselves are not directly affected, our hearts yearn to be able to make things better for others. Is it wisdom or irresponsibility that urges us to “leave it to God”?
Perhaps it is both, depending on our state of consciousness. We can truly offer everything to the Divine only after we’ve achieved a deep level of non-attachment and faith. Otherwise, we offer things conditionally, with the hope that He will help us achieve our goals and desires. Really to leave everything to Him requires the level of realization where we know that only God exists, that He is the writer, producer, and sole actor in the whole drama of life.
If we are not yet at that level of consciousness, then the masters advise us not simply to leave things in God’s hands, but to work with Him. Master’s highest prayer is perfect guidance: “I will reason, I will will, I will act, but guide Thou my reason, will, and activity to the right path in everything.”
Even if we try to “leave it to God,” we err if we ask Him to fix the circumstances: to help us succeed in our work, to heal our relatives, or to fulfill a desire for (fill in the blank). What comes in life is largely the karmic result of past behavior. This is the universe’s way of teaching us needed lessons. To ask that the test be taken away, or even that it be made easier, is wrong thinking. Instead, we should be praying for strength, inner guidance, and right attitudes. With these we can pass our karmic tests and make the changes that are needed. God’s support is always there to help us grow, but rarely there to remove the test.
Swami Kriyananda often counseled Devi and me not to interfere with people’s learning curve by trying to solve their problems for them. One time a young man came to us with a costly business proposal, and we were about to advise him not to proceed. Swamiji said, “You may know that this idea isn’t going to work, but he doesn’t know that. If you stop him, how will he learn?” We, too, learned a good lesson: He did fail at the business, but someone else picked it up and made a great success of it, which wouldn’t have happened had we stopped him.
It is important to discriminate between what we can control and what we can’t. We can’t control karma, especially someone else’s. We can’t control a worldwide pandemic, or the politics involved, or the economic ramifications. These all are due to humanity’s being out of tune with universal law. These things, we really should “leave to God.”
We do, however, have the capacity to control our own thoughts and reactions. We can choose whether to seek a quick fix to make the problem go away, or to look instead for long-lasting spiritual solutions that get at the root cause of our karmic tests: our attitudes, our reactions, our attunement.
As Paramhansa Yogananda wrote: “When something is threatening to harm you, do not throttle your creative mental powers with fear. Instead, use fear as a goad to find practical solutions to avoid danger.”
In his grace,