Patience… bitter sweet…

I shaved my head the other day. It’s impossible to perceive the hair growing on a moment-to-moment basis, though the growth is clearly noticeable after a few weeks. While cruising above the clouds in an aeroplane it’s difficult to appreciate just how fast you are traveling. A few hours later, as you end up on the other side of the world, things become more apparent. A tiny stream in the mountain ranges can drop away at a solid rock and it seems insignificant. However, if you return there after 100 years you may be surprised to find a huge dent.

The aspiring spiritualist must recognize the absolute necessity of patience in their practice. There may sometimes be doubts over whether any transformation is occurring, whether there is really any change of heart, but determined practice over years will surely bear fruit. According to the Bhagavad-gita, souls have passed through many chapters of existence, repeatedly seeking happiness in the wrong places and cultivating perverted worldviews. Our misdirected desires and deep-rooted conditionings will naturally take time to transform. They are like warm soft beds in the winter – easy to get into, very difficult to get out of!

The Roman writer Phadreus once remarked “patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet”. There are times when we may feel far from spiritual, but to patiently continue, knowing that spirituality is not just a momentary emotion but rather a lifetime’s mission, is the advice of great teachers. The spiritual path is full of inspiration, insight and amazing fulfillment – but this is only available to those who are willing to also embrace the not-so-glamorous need for patience.

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