Many set off on the quest for enlightenment because they have a sense, an inkling, that it is important... but in truth not many pursue it! Why?
- Distractions of all sorts: relationships, material possessions, the monkey mind etc.
- Lack of discipline
- Lack of faith
- Lack of commitment
- Lack of the right teacher
We are human, born into human bodies and subject to all sorts of distractions on a daily basis. We are full of desires of all sorts, many of which turn into anger when they are not fulfilled.
We are often so busy that our spiritual practices get put to the bottom of the ‘to do’ list, sometimes dropping off altogether.
We have moments of belief in our spiritual quest, particularly when we are gathered with others on the same path, but also many moments of doubt.
We are often just ‘not sure’ whether this is the right time to truly commit to this quest.
We think we can do this on our own with occasional inputs from various teachers but not with the guidance of one particular teacher or mentor.
So how do we engender ‘mumukshutvam’, the intense desire for liberation?
Obviously we must adjust the factors that are preventing us from moving forwards!
Let us begin with discipline, Patanjali called it ‘tapas’, the fiery discipline required by all ‘adhikaris’ (spiritual seekers). Once this is in place it can help us to overcome distractions and to raise our daily practice to the top of the to do list.
Once we have our practices in place as a priority and we also prioritise dedicating time to be with our spiritual friends and we find our special teacher or mentor then faith grows. When we start reading the scriptures regularly, when we contribute our selfless service to the world faith blossoms. Developing this level of dedication may require determination and sacrifice, but believe me, it is so worth it!
You may have already decided that this is not the right time for you to commit to this level of discipline right now, that there are too many other things (career, family, etc.) requiring your energy? That it is something you will come to later in life? Reasonable, but don’t forget that the future is not certain, not promised, we do not know for certain when we will leave this body (in thirty years or tomorrow!) and so taking care of our soul is actually hugely important.
And the preparations for transition are intensive so it is essential to have good discipline in place beforehand. That is supposing we are lucky enough to get prior warning of approaching death, and that it doesn’t just creep up on us unannounced!
Finally the quest itself is amazing once we decide to fully commit to it. Relationships improve, small miracles begin to happen. Difficulties slowly drop away. Peace, contentment, joy, abundance, bliss, love grow and grow. It just gets better and better.