Once there was a boy in Tibet who longed to fly. As the story goes, one fine day he saw a large bird flying magnificently in the sky, but as he looked intently he discovered that it was a man flying like a bird. So he went from one village to another in search of this man. Finally, after several months of searching, he came face-to-face with the master of flight. He eagerly offered his services and pleaded to learn the art of flying. Seeing his earnestness, the teacher took him under his wing.

As the years rolled by, the boy performed all his duties for the teacher, until one significant full-moon day, the teacher called him and announced that today would be the opportunity to fly. He instructed the boy to meditate at midnight, but warned: “Do not think about monkeys! Otherwise all your efforts will be in vain.”

The boy was overjoyed and left for home. While walking he thought to himself, “I have never seen a monkey. Why would I think of monkeys? That would be ridiculous,” and he went on thinking in this manner. Later that night, when the boy sat to meditate, he could not avoid thinking about monkeys! Thus the moment came and went, and the opportunity was lost.

Our spiritual journey is also fraught with such difficulties, which are mainly the result of our expectations and the thoughts that arise from them. Instead of simply meditating, we expect to receive and attain something. For example, if we have a profound experience in meditation one day, then we want more of the same. We expect deeper sittings, more profound visions, and deeper inner inspirations. The list of expectation continues incessantly.

Expectations act as an obstacle to experience. Expectations rob us of the gifts that Nature is conferring upon us. When we don’t have the experience we want, not only do we deprive ourselves of the gifts we were meant to receive, but we also feel despondent and create inner doubts. We may start doubting the place, the people, the method and even the teacher. “Is there something wrong with my practice?” “Maybe the group I am meditating with is not right,” “Have I lost my inner connection?” I have heard many such statements from seekers, who feel they have lost their way because their expectations were not met.

Then we aggravate the issue by discussing and comparing our experiences with those of others. Suppose someone else describes an amazing experience, we think, “Why am I not bestowed with something similar?” Comparisons, expectations and disappointments relentlessly play tricks with the mind.

Now, how to overcome this problem that is so real and bothersome? The answer is quite simple: it lies in our attitude. The altitude we reach will be determined by the attitude with which we approach meditation. Ram Chandra of Shahjahanpur wonderfully guides us in his book Commentary on the Ten Maxims of Sahaj Marg when he urges us to practice “with a heart full of love.”

When we meditate with a heart full of love, we negate our existence, nullify our expectations and create the vacuum within for the higher dimensions to descend. Every meditation can be an act of surrender.

Surrender is a widely misunderstood concept. We do not surrender to someone or something. Rather, when our heart is drowned with love, every action is a beautiful surrender. This is where we realize the genius of Ram Chandra’s advice. Meditation with love naturally creates surrender. In such a state, we no longer worry about the experiences we receive. Meditation is no longer a transactional affair with Divinity. We are instead open to whatever happens. The path is now the destination, and when the path becomes our destination we can deem ourselves to be surrendered.

In this state of surrender, worrying seems absurd, akin to insulting our Maker. So, meditate with love and let the magic happen!

Originally published at medium.com