B.K. Atam Prakash
On the spiritual path, we can measure our progress by checking three things: (1) to what extent do we reflect on our true, spiritual self, the soul; (2) how pure and positive are our thoughts about others; and (3) how much do we serve the world.
Our feelings for others and the service we do are, in fact, based on the first practice. We need to check how long we are aware of our original self during the day.
We may be very keen on serving others and make plans for that, but are we equally enthusiastic about our own spiritual growth, and do we look for new ways to move towards our goal of attaining perfection?
It has been observed that spiritual aspirants are usually eager to serve others, but their interest in self-development fluctuates – sometimes it is there, and at other times circumstances fire it up, but its intensity is short-lived. Their attention on having positive thoughts about others is also greater than that on the self.
However, to become perfect one needs to speed up self-transformation. For that one has to make a plan for oneself—for self-analysis, identifying what needs to change, and making that change.
Just thinking of making spiritual effort will not do; what is required is genuine concern for that effort. Concern does not mean worry, but a zeal that consumes all other interests. Having this concern, and the results of it, make one content and happy when one starts experiencing success.
Many aspirants recognise the fact that their spiritual effort is not what it should be. They think: “It should be like this; I should do this; this is how I should do it.” Merely thinking in this manner does not bring results. The thoughts have to be translated into action.
Why does one become careless some time after starting something? The main reason is not having a deadline. Just as one is not casual about one’s work once a deadline is set for its completion, one needs to fix a time limit for one’s effort – that by such a date I will be free of this weakness. This will bring quicker results.
Unless you become your own teacher and bind yourself to certain rules, you will not develop into someone who is able to help others live a fulfilled life.