On Wednesday night of this week, we were gathered in the Awakening Together Sanctuary for the Michael Langford Study Group. We were reading from his book, “The Importance of Practice and Effort”. On page 22, Nisargadatta Maharaj and a devotee are discussing awareness-watching-awareness meditation. The devotee said, “I have tried many times and failed.”
When I read that, my first thought was, “How do you know you failed?” And this analogy came to my mind:
Where I live the internet is slower than in most towns and cities. That’s because our area is somewhat rural. When I upload an audio file, it can take several minutes. As the file is uploading, I can watch a progress bar, which shows me that 1% of the file is uploaded, 2% of the file, 3% of the file, etc. So I know the upload is making progress.
However, I don’t have a progress bar that shows my spiritual progress.
When uploading a file, if I ignored the progress bar and declared failure after 5 minutes because the file wasn’t uploaded yet, I would be wrong. It isn’t failure. It is simply in progress, but not yet complete. If I got frustrated that the file wasn’t uploaded and shutdown the computer, I would prevent additional progress.
What if we were to realize that our awakening is in progress? And then with trust in that fact, what if we continue to follow instructions so that spiritual progress can continue?
When Michael Langford was teaching me to meditate, he shared some quotes with me. These are the quotes:
“Don’t look for quick results; there may be none within your noticing.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Don’t waste energy on thinking or evaluating how well or how badly you are doing in your meditation.” ~ Annamalai Swami
“Don’t be discouraged by the length of the journey, and don’t slacken in your efforts to get home.” ~ Annamalai Swami
“The practice is the progress.” ~ The Most Direct Means to Eternal Bliss
Compare these quotes to what today’s Course lessons says:
“Peace be to you today. Secure your peace by practicing awareness you are one with your Creator, as He is with you. Sometime today, whenever it seems best, devote a half an hour to the thought that you are one with God. … Abide with Him this half an hour. He will do the rest. Your benefit will not be less if you believe that nothing happens. You may not be ready to accept the gain today. Yet sometime, somewhere, it will come to you, nor will you fail to recognize it when it dawns with certainty upon your mind. … You will remember then the thought to which you gave this half an hour, thankfully aware no time was ever better spent.”
Nisargadatta told the devotee who thought he had failed, “Try again. … Give attention to the reality within you and it will come to light.”