What’s your priority?
Budding aspirants on the spiritual path often tend to complain that despite devoting time, energy and resources to their spiritual practice, they experience that the mind still remains as unruly and undisciplined as ever, running all over the place like a drunken monkey. Know this for a fact that this is so because somewhere deep inside, it is still the world which holds more importance for the aspiring seeker, rather than his or her spiritual growth.
It is still the world along with all its so-called glitter and attractions - wealth, power, status, promotions, relationships etc – which are seen to be the most lucrative goals of life. It is these things that one wants to strive for, to go after, to accomplish at any cost. Therefore but obvious the mind will think only about pursuing them, related aspects and people connected to these objectives. This means that one has prioritised certain things, so the mind is obviously going to think about them incessantly. Now when meditation is not your priority, it gets secondary treatment as your other goals are perceived to be more important. On top of that one complains ‘why am I not able to sit in meditation?’ – well, that's because you have not prioritised it.
To illustrate with an example – when a man falls in love with a woman, he creates every possible opportunity or even contrives an opportunity to meet his beloved. What do you think - who gives all these ideas and tricks to his mind? It is the passion to see the woman and to be with her; so the mind is going to think overtime as to what excuse, what opportunity he can use to meet his beloved. Work is there, family is there, his friends are there and if he is married his wife and children too are there, yet his mind is fixated on this one woman. He will do whatever is possible in his strength and capacity to woo her. Until and unless one has the same passion for meditation, one won't be able to do it; intense passion is indispensable. Propelled by samskaras, (impressions), words of wisdom which one has heard from the master and on top of it, fear of the unknown, one wishes to somehow walk on the spiritual path, to meditate, but this is being done in a passion-less way. The thing is that when one is not passionate about it, how can meditation ever happen?
If a worldly relationship demands so much attention, wouldn't meditation require the same treatment? If a man falls in love with a woman and doesn't go to see her or buy her gifts or offer her rich compliments about her beauty and looks, the woman is definitely going to break up with this man. A woman needs to be wooed and if the man continually makes her feel special by offering her gifts, flowers, jewelry, chocolates, dinner dates, outings and so on, they are going to have a good relationship. If the man doesn't do all these things, she will break off because she would think that he does not love her. If a worldly relationship demands this much, the spiritual relationship demands hundred times more.
Another example to bring the point home - if you do not listen to your boss or complete your project on time, the boss will get angry and could even ask you to resign. In these competitive times, you fear becoming jobless; you can't afford to let go of your job either so you are going to go that extra length to keep your boss happy, to please your boss. Because the job is the priority and the money is the priority, so the boss becomes the priority.
Similarly the day your guru become your priority, then the guru's words too will become priority and then the methods given by the guru too will become priority for you. The guru does not want anything from you – he or she will not push you out, drive you away, so there is no fear that you will be kicked out should you not 'perform'. Thus you don't see the guru and the guru's work as precious, something that you would fear to lose, something that is so vitally important that it becomes a matter of life and death for you. You are very casual about it. So when you give this kind of secondary treatment to your spiritual practice, you will get a secondary response in return. This is the bitter truth.
The spiritual path has to be given the right amount of respect and the right amount of importance, only then will you nurture your time as the most holy, sacred and precious thing. Then, when this becomes priority, even if you have say half an hour in your so-called busy schedule, just half an hour for yourself, you will cherish every second; you won't allow anyone or anything to interrupt that. Coming back to the first example - when a man and woman are in intimacy, they put up a sign saying: "Do not disturb". They have to, right? Now the same thing applies to your spiritual practice as well - when you are in intimacy with God, you have to put up a "Do not disturb" sign so that no thought, no person, nothing at all is allowed to interfere, to encroach upon this sacred space which you have created to be in communion with the Lord.