Guiding Light: Evaluating spiritual growth

In the initial phase, do not worry about whether you are moving ahead or backwards because your logical judgments will be very misleading. When you sit for your pranayam in the morning, your legs will tell you that you are going backwards, your family will probably also tell you to stop this nonsense. So in the initial phase, do not judge anything. It is always best to start a spiritual process with an unconditional commitment for a certain period of time – just do it with a commitment. Just simply do the practice out of commitment for six months. Nothing needs to happen. No benefit needs to happen to you. Just simply do it. After that, evaluate your life and see how peaceful, joyous and calm you are. What is it doing with you?

So give yourself to a certain period of sincere practice without expecting anything to happen. Don’t look for miracles to happen. The greatest miracle in life is life itself. The very process of life, that you are sitting here and breathing, is a miracle. If you do not appreciate this miracle and are looking for some other miracle where some God will extend his hand out of the clouds and do something to you, then you are still very childish. You have not matured into an adult and you still believe in fairytales. So do not be in a hurry to evaluate your spiritual process; just allow it to sink in.

Generally in this tradition, the normal commitment that was demanded to start any spiritual process was twelve years. You simply say a mantra for twelve years and then look at what is happening with you. Even now, many spiritual sects in India follow this path. A Guru gives you a mantra to utter for twelve years, and then you come back to see your progress. But today, people have become so impatient with life. Even if we ask for twelve days of commitment, people have so many problems. People are complaining that it is too long.

Gautama Buddha had his own methods. If anybody came to him, there was absolutely no teaching, no spirituality or anything for two years – you would just hang around. If you could wait for two years, then a certain quality came and something else would happen to you. When he initiated you, it happened in a big way for you. But now, people are struggling to wait, because the modern mind has become so impatient. Do not be in a hurry. Just stick to the practice, evaluate yourself periodically and see.

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