Spiritualists of all paths have one obstacle in common – the difficulty in building up momentum.
You know, that momentum, when you are humming along, making progress, learning and discovering more and more, having those experiences that brought us to the spiritual path in the first place!
But quite often, we see ourselves or others struggling. Struggling with the basic principles of spiritual life, struggling to keep up with the practice, struggling to maintain enthusiasm. Some obstacles are momentary, like a lapse in judgment, and some others are persistent, like the craving to satisfy those old, material itches… we may keep scratching, and scratching, and scratching, and we may lose momentum.
It’s really important to remember that “momentum” can be seen to be made of many Moments.
How do we know if we are making progress?
आयुर्हरति वै पुंसामुद्यन्नस्तं च यन्नसौ ।
तस्यर्ते यत्क्षणो नीत उत्तमश्लोकवार्तया ॥ १७ ॥
āyur harati vai puṁsām
udyann astaṁ ca yann asau
tasyarte yat-kṣaṇo nīta
Both by rising and by setting, the sun decreases the duration of life of everyone, except one who utilizes the time by discussing topics of the all-good Personality of Godhead.https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/2/3/17/
All of us know that with every passing moment, every day, every night, as the sun and the moon move in the sky, we are getting old. But when we look at ourselves in the mirror, say, now, do we see ourselves getting old? No. We see that our bodies have gotten old when we see a picture from say 5, 10, or 20 years ago.
We don’t notice ourselves getting old in the present, even though we clearly are… but we get discouraged when we don’t see ourselves making spiritual progress in the present moment?
My dear spiritualist, look back. Look back to say 10 years or 20 years, or less, depending on how long you have been on a spiritual path. Look back and compare your life then with your life now. Are you following your principles more now than back then? Are those old materialistic places, habits, people even a part of your life today? Have you moved in the right direction? I’ll hazard to say yes, you have moved forward.
When you look back, you will see how far you have come. And when you see that you have come thus far, you can easily find the motivation to keep moving forward.
Sure, there may be some missteps, there may be some false starts – maybe you’re not where you’d like to be, comparing yourself to some great saint, for example.
Look at a little child learning to walk… the child falls many many times and is unsteady for many days, weeks, months. But the child doesn’t give up.
And so you should not give up.
Every moment is a moment we can choose to choose, to “flex our choice muscles” as one of my teachers Devamrita Swami says. We can choose to act according to our conditioned instinct, or we can choose to act differently, on a higher spiritual plane.
And when you make that choice, take a moment to reflect that you did make the right choice, and rejoice. Momentum is made of many moments, and you just made this moment count.
In spiritual life, we often struggle with gaining momentum, when a spiritual lifestyle becomes easy… but it is important to remember that many moments make momentum. Each and every choice, however small, propels us further… don’t be discouraged. Make a choice, flex that choice muscle now, and do something that will help you advance spiritually, right here, right now.