Patience and Perseverance
In our modern-day world many of us demand that everything be done quickly. From instant communications such as email, Twitter and tweets, to instant mashed potatoes for dinner; from speedy oil changes for our cars to speed-reading classes. We can’t seem to do things quickly enough to satisfy the mind that wants more and more at a faster and faster pace.
We have ignored the saying, “That which is worth doing is worth doing well.” To do things well takes time. Since the Masters tell us our meditation is the only thing that will follow us beyond the grave, perhaps it is certainly worth taking our time and doing it well. Anything of importance – anything we value – will take time to achieve. It takes time to reach our worldly goals; it will certainly take time to reach our spiritual goals.
If we look at a few examples we see that it takes years to complete formal education. It takes many years to achieve a successful career or to raise a family. Anything worth achieving will take time, effort, and fortitude.
A Chinese proverb says that the constant drop of water will eventually wear away a stone. With his grace, our daily meditation of two and one half to three hours and our constant remembrance of the holy names – our simran – will eventually leave its mark on the karmas that we have collected over many, many lifetimes. Eventually the vessel will be cleaned and the soul will shine forth from under its many coverings. Now is the time to do our spiritual work, and this will take patience and perseverance.
Maharaj Jagat Singh says in The Science of the Soul:
As you probably know, our attention has been ‘out’ for ages and to draw it ‘in’ again requires both time and effort. The tendencies established for such a long time are at once up against us when we attempt any reorientation. It is certainly not impossible but it is naturally difficult and slow. For some it is slower and more difficult than others.
The Masters tell us that as we draw our attention inward from the world and upward from our physical bodies, we will need to persist with patience, hope, and faith, for it is a slow process, though one that can be accomplished in this lifetime But we need to put in the effort before we can accomplish our mission. When we experience the true reality of things, faith, hope and patience are no longer problems for us.
Even though effort is very important, it is not the only thing that affects our progress. His grace and the amount of karma we have collected over this and previous lifetimes also have a great effect. So it is futile to compare our effort, our progress, or our results in meditation, with what we imagine others have achieved.
Maharaj Charan Singh says in Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. II:
Everybody has an individual load of karmas, an individual heap of rubbish, to burn. And you also can’t know whether this is your first birth on the path or second birth on the path or third birth on the path. You may have burned a lot of rubbish in the last life so you have very little to burn in this life. That is why Christ said, the first may be the last and the last may be the first. There’s no seniority, you see, for spiritual progress on the path – that since I have devoted more time and I started meditation earlier, I should have better results than the other person who has come at a later stage on the path and so has devoted less time to meditation. You can’t compare like that because you don’t know his background. Your background is different than his background; your load of karmas is different than his load of karmas. So you can’t compare that with anyone at all.
There’s no seniority on the path. We don’t have that kind of agreement with the Master. But we do have the guarantee that some day we will succeed. Hazur encourages us with this advice:
We should try to do our duty, and then it depends on how much load we have to carry or we have to burn. His grace is there; our effort should be there.… But for that grace, we wouldn’t be in touch with that voice of God within at all. We wouldn’t be given this human life, we wouldn’t be on the path at all, we wouldn’t meet a mystic at all, but for his grace. So when he has marked us to be part of a certain fold, of a certain Master, he doesn’t withhold his grace after that. He’s more anxious than we are! So his grace is always there, but we have to do our duty. We just can’t look to the grace without even doing our duty. We should do our best; then his grace is always there.
Baba Jaimal Singh succinctly says in Spiritual Letters:
You must do your meditation daily.… Love for the Shabd-dhun developes gradually, it does not come quickly. The Satguru himself will ferry you across.
We need to practice patience and continue meditating because the results are not in our hands. The results are in his hands. We are not in control; he is in control. He is waiting for us, waiting for the time when our mind has been conquered and the coverings over our soul have vanished. He knows the exact moment when we will be ready for him to take us back to the Father. He is more eager to do his job than we can ever imagine. Now is the time for us to do our job.
You should only develop insight and improve your mind: do not make any outward display; nor should anyone know you have made great progress.… You meet with many hindrances when you advertise yourself: it is like boasting to others about your wish-granting gem.
Pbongka Rinpoche, as quoted in Buddhism: Path to Nirvana