The spiritual path is not easy. Sages have likened it to walking on a sword’s edge. There are many twists and turns on this path and the results do not arrive quickly. Little wonder then, many people who begin enthusiastically give up disheartened. However, for those that persist, the fruits are sweeter and more satisfying than any that can ever be had from any pot of gold at the end of the proverbial rainbow.
Practice makes perfect, and it holds true even for spiritual practice. Practice. Once you’ve got a time fixed and a place decided. Don’t let anything distract you. Make meditation a part of your daily routine. When you sit to practice, there will be distractions. It is Maya at play. If it weren’t for Maya, we’d all be saints. You will have to practice to block out distracting thoughts. This calls for persistence – to drag your mind back to the job at hand. It could be reciting God’s name or doing Yoga.
But before you begin, choose. Is it meditating on the name of God, Pranayam, or reading scriptures that you find closest to your heart? Many people lose interest because they cannot persist with an activity that does not interest them. Choose what appeals to you.
Persistence will come naturally to you, and in many cases you will not require it if the call to the spiritual path is from within you, if the fire is ignited from inside. However, if the flame arises from persistent advertising by others then you may not be able to sustain it.
Even small disturbances in our daily routine can throw our spiritual practice off kilter. This is where persistence comes in. A lot depends on the value you place on spiritual practice. If it is a priority for you, then you will be able to take time out for sessions. Those who pine for spiritual union with God will find it easy to steadfastly stick to the path. And others, whose fires burn bright but not with the same ardor, will have to take recourse to persistence.
While persistence is a necessary requirement, it is also important to take note of progress. There’s no point in persisting with a form of spiritual practice if you’re not going to move ahead. So, introspect. Ask yourself if you are experiencing benefits. For example, if you practice Pranayam. Are you progressing to a posture that you can maintain easily while keeping the spine erect? Is your breathing deeper and more natural than before? Do you feel a sense of calmness after a session? Compare notes, but don’t get too perturbed if your friends seem to be progressing better than you. The blocks you may be facing are a result of your past actions; these actions have to be redeemed. It’s Karma.
Remember, choose an activity that uplifts your spirit, it shouldn’t sap your spirit. Stick with it. Trust in God and stay positive. Your steadfastness will decide your spiritual destiny.