There’s a story about a Zen Student who went to his Teacher and asked, “I have truly committed myself to master the Zen’s Enlightenment methodology. How long will it take me to succeed fully?” The Teacher’s response was, “Five years.” Impatiently, the Student countered, “But that’s far too long. I want to succeed much sooner. I’ll work very hard. I’ll dedicate myself to practicing however many hours it takes each day. How long will mastery take when I make that kind of relentless effort?” The Master thought for a moment and then replied, “Ten years.”
The Teacher is trying to educate the Student that he/she needs to learn patience before proceeding any further. He’s saying that one needs to go slowly in order to go fast! Certain kinds of learning, especially those that involve the spiritual realm, cannot be rushed. They have to be approached one step at a time.
This is the problem with the modern generation. Everybody is somehow restless. Everybody is hurrying in one way or other to get somewhere. Nobody is in the Now. The Thatness of Nature has become completely forgotten. This way it has become increasingly hard to see happy and fulfilled individuals and families. Hankering is a result of the lack of patience to develop our inner selves because we have become so accustomed to the doctrine of INSTANT GRATIFICATION.
This is especially true of becoming more and truly spiritually attuned. To acquire this kind of mastery, there are two secrets. The first is to have patience; the second is to be patient! To attain higher consciousness – that is, gaining the ultimate understanding of all that Is – is never instantaneous. To gain the full benefits of Awakening requires not only time, but also persistence.
Inflexible patience and persistence can move mountains. They are the sacred keys to becoming more spiritually astute.