I hope you all are having a great week. It is a pleasure to be able to share yet another interesting topic this week.
Personally I have been very busy in the last few weeks and amidst my schedule I took out some time to get some fresh air. In my little leisure time I came across a footage from a movie where the hero tells a young lady who was trying to get her life together; that the journey to recovery from delinquency wasn’t about perfection but about progress. It struck me and I felt I had to do a blog on the phrase, especially since many people encounter this as an issue in their day to day life and in their spiritual circle.
This same phrase has been said in many different ways such as; success isn’t about the destination but about the journey. I have heard many financially successful people say the same thing in interviews that their path to success wasn’t just about getting rich. Those who focus too much on the destination usually miss the journey, and often times the lessons we need are hidden in the journey. To this point, there is a story of a young Man who goes to his spiritual mentor and asks that he be shown how to become enlightened. The mentor said he should meet him the following day so they could go for a walk to the mountains. The young student thought the journey to the mountains was supposed to be a “secret journey” where he was going to get some secret and then finally attain enlightenment.
As they walked towards the mountain, the student or disciple would ask if they had arrived yet and the Mentor would tell him that it was just a little bit further. This went on until they got to the summit of the mountain and there the disciple asked again if they had gotten to the point where he would be enlightened. At this point the Spiritual mentor said yes. The disciple looked blank as he was expecting his mentor to give him some special prayers or techniques or show him something miraculous. Rather his mentor asked him: “On our way here what did you notice?” The disciple said he noticed the trees and the animals etc. The mentor asked if that was all and he replied affirmative. It was at this point the mentor began to speak to him with a little more detail. He said “You haven’t noticed much on our way here because you have been too engrossed with your obsession of getting enlightened. This obsession in itself is not the problem but actually your obsession is with the things you think you can do when you achieve enlightenment. Thus you have missed out on all the things that were supposed to teach you about enlightenment.”
He continued “On the path of spirituality we should always have an objective just as you have chosen enlightenment as yours, however we should always remember that we are meant to learn from the journey towards our goal and the goal without the journey is not of the same value.” A parallel example is of someone who wants to become rich so badly that all he does is work, work, and work. Finally he gets the riches he always desired and then suddenly begins to see that he has nothing else to live for and then there is a vacuum in his life. To this day we see some very rich and materially successful people who just hit a downward swirl and fall into different types of addiction and substance abuse. One may wonder how with so much money someone can fall into such a state. On the other hand if someone has the same desire to become rich but instead of making that desire and obsession and about himself, decides to use that desire as an opportunity to improve the lives of others then not only does he get the destination which is money in this case but also gets the satisfaction of helping to improve the lives of others; which is the journey.
Similarly when we as spiritual practitioners embark on the journey of self realization we should not neglect the “little things we come across on the path” taking them to be irrelevant or not in direct connection with the “destination”. If the destination is to attain pure love of God and to serve the Lord eternally in His abode, we must imbibe the process of serving Him in our chosen disposition during the journey to this chosen destination. We can actually get to understand the destination better when we have lived through the journey with the right consciousness.
For example, those who are gaudiya vaisnava’s, it comes as no surprise that the focus is not so much in the final elaborate offering or the number of items but the consciousness of the devotee from the initial phase of acquiring the items for the final offering. The second and main part about paying attention to the progress and not the destination is that it is easy to get discouraged if we focus too much on the heights we set for ourselves or those that we are supposed to attain. There is a big gap between elementary school and a Doctorate degree. If a child begins to worry too much about how he is not doing his PhD yet, he may even get discouraged about going through the entire process. However if he is taught to take one class at a time and appreciate the beauty of the progress soon enough he will attain his desired destination while learning all that the journey of education has to offer.
In a nut shell, as I contemplated the words of this hero from the movie footage deep realizations began to unfold in my mind and I felt it was worth deliberating a little more on the subject. We need to focus on the goal while appreciating our progress. I hope this helps someone in need of guidance. Till next week, read, internalize and share. Follow for more.