Perseverance On The Spiritual Path

By Rudra Shivananda

pexels-photo-372098.jpegThere is one advice that I give to all sincere seekers irrespective of their path or progress and that is to persevere and never give up. The spiritual path is long and arduous and has many pitfalls and obstacles. We are often befuddled by our delusions and fall prey to illusions, thinking a true path is false and a false path is true or that we have achieved something when we have not.

Why does this happen? It is because of our karmic tendencies or samskaras operating in our field of experience including the very spiritual practices which are meant to burn them away. We cannot rely on our senses or our minds. We can only trust our heart and the spiritual guide. That is way it is useful to have a trusted guide on the path lest we fall by the wayside.

It is at the start of a journey that we must do most of our planning and scouting. We must select the goal and the route that we think will get us there and the experienced guide that can lead us to the desired goal. Once you’ve done your due diligence to select the guide and the path, the key to success is perseverance. Many have died and lived and died without achieving their true Self because of doubts and the lack of intensity in their practice. Many have delayed their realization by prematurely giving up their daily practice. Do not join their ranks.

Of course, it can happen that for whatever reason, one may have selected the wrong path and/or the wrong guide, due to hastiness or karmic tendencies. At some point, our inner guide will help us realize the error of our ways and point us towards a true guide and path.

Practice, practice and practice more – that is the mantra of spiritual success.

Please remember that cautionary tale of the two brothers who divided a piece of land. Both of them asked a trusted and proven dowser to select the location to dig their wells. Both began to have doubts when they had drilled over 30 feet without any sign of water. The younger one decided to consult another dowser who selected a different spot but gave up again after 20 feet and decided to sell the land to the older brother and became a wanderer. Meanwhile the older brother persevered and drilled down to 50 feet and tapped into the water table. He was soon able to setup a viable well and started to build his home and a prosperous farm on the land.

The water that wells up from the fruit of our practice is the joy, bliss and steady mind that mark the beginning stages of spiritual progress. It is important to set your priorities – what do you want from this life? Something that you cannot take with you into the next life or something that can endure past death? Besides one’s karma, the only thing that survives death is spiritual practice. All the great sages have assured us that not one second of spiritual practice will be forgotten and that the fruits of our practice will last for eternity if need be.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain or if you want to be very precise – you will lose everything which is of no value and gain nothing which is of the greatest value, for only by giving up the impermanent things of life can you gain the immortality of the true Self which is nothing as it is not an object but you, your Self. It is comforting to know that your present effort in practice will result in continued progress in a future life, even if you cannot reach your goal in this one.

Set your sight on the priceless Divine and persevere in your practice, no matter the winds of emotional turmoil or the tsunami of physical and mental distress that come and go.

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