The Road to Success
Business consultants have described four stages through which mastery over any specific task is achieved.
The first stage is called unconscious incompetence, where we do not know what we do not know; at this first stage, we are not even aware of our ignorance. For example, someone may not be aware of what a computer is (unconscious), and therefore they do not know how to use it (incompetence).
Similarly, many of us are unaware that we have a soul which has a natural longing to go back to its Creator. We go about life trying to find happiness in worldly possessions, in relationships or in popular acclaim. We may find some degree of happiness in these, but unfortunately it does not last long. We then shift our focus and endeavour to achieve something else – all along being unaware of the fact that the happiness we are seeking can only be found when our true being – our soul, merges into its source.
The second stage is called conscious incompetence. During the second stage, we read about spirituality or come to satsang and learn about our soul and its relationship with the Lord. We learn about the Master’s role, and the technique which he advocates for us to be able to re-establish that relationship. We are aware of what we are missing but we cannot work towards it yet.
Then starts the practical or the third stage which is conscious competence. After initiation, we know how to meditate and we do it, but it is hard! The mind does not stay still, thoughts are recklessly shot in all directions and the body suffers from pain and stiffness throughout the sitting. We are thus extremely conscious of the fact that we are making an effort and it seems like a great ordeal, which sometimes makes us wish we had remained ignorant!
This is where most people will either give up in desperation, because they conclude that they just do not have it in them to succeed in the specific task at hand, or they may try their luck at something else.
When we are faced with challenging circumstances, quitting may seem like the easiest option. This is true for every aspect of life, whether it is our relationships or work. All of us have to face setbacks in life. When we fail it does not mean that we are failures. People fail because they quit, not because they lack knowledge.
The key to success is very simple and can be summed up as: “Try a little more.” People succeed when they refuse to become discouraged by difficulties; they succeed when they refuse to quit.
If we do not give up and continue to persevere in our efforts, there will come a time when we become unconsciously competent. This is when one learns to do a task without effort, like driving a car without being conscious of the gears, the brakes or the accelerator; or creating documents on our computers without thinking about how to operate the programs.
As we keep putting in a conscious effort in our meditation, we will gain mastery over our mind and experience that ‘automatic’ simran that Hazur always used to talk about – simran which is done with ease, love, devotion and concentration.
We have to get ourselves into that habit of meditation, of concentration. Daily, regularly and punctually, we have to go on doing it, and ultimately we succeed. Then we would not like to live with ourselves, we would not feel happy, we would not feel that the day has been rightly spent if we have not given time to meditation. We are creatures of habit, and when once we get into the habit of trying to meditate, then that very habit will help us in concentrating. But in order to achieve this, we must struggle with the mind.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. II