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Impatience: An Obstacle on the Spiritual Path

by Swami Kriyananda
Winter 2013 No Comment

Dear_________,

A man who is really hungry doesn’t abstain from eating merely because he isn’t sure which food will prove the most nourishing. He eats what he can. It is the same with the search for God.

In any search for answers, at least half the problem is to ask the right questions. The right questions in this case are, “Do I want peace of mind? Do I want joy? Do I want understanding?” and not, “Do I want to be a Buddhist, or a yogi?” If the answer to the first set of questions were No, then I would say, “Forget the spiritual path for now, and concentrate on being an upright citizen” (instead of an “uptight” one!).

But obviously, from the tone of your letter as well as from what I know of you personally, you do want peace, joy, and understanding. You are so desperate to find them that your mind runs ahead of its present realities. You are like a runner who pulls a ligament because he can’t wait to warm up before running a race. Impatience is an obstacle on the path. It creates leaks in one’s flow of energy, leaving too little power at the end of the wire for constructive use. Always, control is necessary—self-discipline.

Leave further riddles to be solved in their own time. Your present need is to do something—anything, practically—to develop yourself inwardly. Numerous paths can help you in this undertaking. The only thing that won’t help you is to do nothing. In time, as you develop spiritually, finer distinctions will become clear to you; you will then know which path, specifically, is for you. Once a hungry man appeases his initial hunger, he can afford to say, “I prefer watermelon to peaches.” But he’d be foolish to be particular so long as he has nothing to put in his stomach at all.

I’ve already told you what I feel is your path. I didn’t say that to convert you. Besides, it doesn’t really matter. Whatever is the right path for you will be shown to you in time, if you will only walk now. Go slowly, deliberately, step by step. Know that no effort sincerely made to find God can ever be wasted.

In divine friendship,

Swami Kriyananda


Related reading: In Divine Friendship
Letters of Counsel and Reflection by Swami Kriyananda

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