Buddha spoke: “On the path of self-realization, there are only two mistakes a seeker can make. One: Not treading the path at all and two: not going all the way.”
Quite frequently, I get queries from enthusiastic readers about meditation, self-realization, applied spirituality, and so forth. I even write back to many in great detail, but more often than not, an overwhelming majority lose their steam midway.
Meditation sounds good, self-realization is attractive, and yogic trance sounds fascinating, but if you are serious about them and truly wish to gain results, they require an incredible and persistent effort. Not just self-discovery, to attain your goal on any path, you require three elements:
This is often the difference between failure and success. When you choose to persevere with discipline, with the same enthusiasm you had at the beginning, when you continue to persist until you reach your goal, your chances of success go up significantly.
It is not possible to be persistent without being patient. Patience feeds persistence, and it boosts your determination. Patience is reminding yourself that you must continue without complaining until you are fully satisfied with the outcome.
It may seem a little odd, but based on my personal experience, just being blindly persistent, and infinitely patient is not enough. It is equally important to analyze your own actions, the charted course, the path, and your current approach. Self-reflection is the art of analyzing yourself, it helps you in streamlining your goals and actions.
I would like to share a passage from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It represents the essence of this post. As follows:
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cheshire Cat.
“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“—so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
Whenever you feel like quitting, ask yourself if you really want to quit midway.
The human mind has this amazing ability to mold itself. If you say “I can’t do it,” it shuts down itself. When you ask, “How can I do it?” it gets into action and comes up with answers enabling you to discover a solution.
There is no passage nor light until you dig a tunnel right to the end. I have always stressed the importance of setting small goals to attain bigger ones. It is easier to train your mind by vowing to do something for a shorter period, so it may allow you to honor lifelong commitments. For example, you are far more likely to keep your vow if you resolve to not smoke for the next day as opposed to never smoking for the rest of your life. Each time you stick to your word, you gain inner strength and you get a step closer to taming your mind. Subsequently, executing bigger plans, and attaining larger goals becomes easier.
To experience the joy of it, go right to the end. Whatever it is that you do, do not quit until you are satisfied. Keep going one step at a time, keep crossing one hurdle at a time. Just like when traveling at night you only see two meters in front with the headlights on but it is enough to travel a journey of several thousand miles; similarly, each step takes you further, closer to your destination.
A wealthy merchant employed Mulla Nasrudin as his cashier. He gave him a packet of one-rupee bills and said, “Count them to make sure they add up to one hundred.”
Following his master’s order, Mulla began counting. He got to the seventies, “74, 75, 76,” he was whispering before handing back the packet.
“We need not bother counting it to one hundred. If it is right this far,” remarked Nasrudin, “it must be right all the way.”
The truth is, you will not know until you go all the way.