I was feeling dejected that even after several years of study and contemplation of Vedantic texts, I still didn’t see much progress in my behavior or attitude.
Swamiji asked “Do you think you’re on the right path?”. After having attended a zillion of his lectures, after nearly a hundred days of one-on-one advice from him, after all the hours of reading and listening to Vedantic topics, it seemed discourteous and blasphemous to even say “No”. So, I did say “yes”.
In thinking further, who am I to even judge that I am on the “right” path? Or, aren’t we all in the “path” in some form or fashion though we may stray away often into habitual off-roads or tempting scenic routes?
I guess the only reason to think we are on the “path” is the simple internal belief that we are on the “path”. And maybe the understanding that there is a goal to reach beyond living a normal life – the goal of “self-realization” and a slowly growing desire to attain it. The desire seems to burn bright once in a blue moon, and then the torrents of life fling one away from it leaving behind a trace of that desire like the faint impression of a old table on the carpet.
Anyway, going on with Swamiji’s query, he continued “Believe that you are on the right path and that you will progress. Measuring progress, getting elated with perceived progress, dejected with supposed failures, comparing with others, setting milestones are not conducive to spiritual sadhakas”.
This was timely advice for me. As if the agitations of the mind in the vyavarika world is not enough, I was adding to it the pressure of progress/performance/milestones of spiritual sadhana. It is the ingrained habit that we develop right from childhood to measure progress – tests, grades, ranks, competitions, interview acceptances, performance assessments, KPIs, metrics, weight goals, children’s growth, calorie goals, paycheck earned, bonus, interest earned – all that entrench into our thinking, this notion of measurable progress.
I forgot that “Karmanye Vadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachana” is very much true violated for spiritual sadhana too!
Faith is beyond measurement. I have to learn to “just be”. (And throw away all units of measurement)
Source of cartoon: Arunachala Ramana forum