Once, Srila Prabhupada was being driven to a public engagement. As they hit a series of road-works, the traffic slowly built up. Within minutes all the vehicles were at a complete standstill. As they peered outside the windscreen, a huge road sign read “temporary inconvenience, permanent improvements.” Srila Prabhupada laughed at the sign and exclaimed “this material world means temporary improvements, permanent inconvenience!” He went on to explain how life in this world is like a can of worms. Once we open it up, it’s impossible to keep things under our control. In the course of making our life plans so many things can go wrong and do go wrong.
The external reorganization of our life and the internal cleansing of our consciousness need not be mutually exclusive activities. Like train tracks, they can coexist side-by-side. As we progressively reengineer our lifestyle, we can simultaneously intensify our spirituality. Realistically, will life ever be free of those unexpected distractions? Cars break down, family feuds need to be mediated, homes demand improvement, friends need advice and attention, health problems slow us down and work demands drain our free time. Amidst the complexities of this world, the only practical solution is to create a sacred space within. Serious spiritualists make quality time for spiritual meditation and introspection on a daily basis no matter how busy they are. They guard those hours with their life. Sacrificing that sacred time in pursuance of a utopian ideal is a risky strategy.