The Sunlit Path|Jun 12, 2014 4:00 AM| by:

Progress on the Path

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Sweet Mother, when we make an effort to do better but don’t see any progress, we feel discouraged. What is the best thing to do?

Not to be discouraged! Despondency leads nowhere.

To begin with, the first thing to tell yourself is that you are almost entirely incapable of knowing whether you are making progress or not, for very often what seems to us to be a state of stagnation is a long – sometimes long, but in any case not endless – preparation for a leap forward. We sometimes seem to be marking time for weeks or months, and then suddenly something that was being prepared makes its appearance, and we see that there is quite a considerable change and {on several points} at a time.

As with everything in yoga, the effort for progress must be made for the love of the effort for progress. The joy of effort, the aspiration for progress must be enough in themselves, quite independent of the result. Everything one does in yoga must be done for the joy of doing it, and not in view of the result one wants to obtain…. Indeed, in life, always, in all things, the result does not belong to us. And if we want to keep the right attitude, we must act, feel, think, strive spontaneously, for {that} is what we must do, and not in view of the result to be obtained.

As soon as we think of the result we begin to bargain and that takes away all sincerity from the effort. You make an effort to progress because you feel within you the need, the {imperative }need to make an effort and progress; and this effort is the gift you offer to the Divine Consciousness in you, the Divine Consciousness in the Universe, it is your way of expressing your gratitude, offering your self; and whether this results in progress or not is of no importance. You will progress when it is decided that the time has come to progress and not because you desire it.

If you wish to progress, if you make an effort to control yourself for instance, to overcome certain defects, weaknesses, imperfections, and if you expect to get a more or less immediate result from your effort, your effort loses all sincerity, it becomes a bargaining. You say, “See! I am going to make an effort, but that’s because I want this in exchange for my effort.” You are no longer spontaneous, no longer natural.

So there are two things to remember. First, we are incapable of judging {what} the result ought to be. If we put our trust in the Divine, if we say… if we say, “Well now, I am going to give everything, everything, all I can give, effort, concentration, and {He} will judge what has to be given in exchange or even whether anything should be given in exchange, and I do not know what the result should be.” Before we transform anything in ourselves, are we quite sure of the direction, the way, the form that this transformation should take?–Not at all. So, it is only our imagination and usually we greatly limit the result to be obtained and make it altogether petty, mean, superficial, relative. We do not know what the result can truly be, what it ought to be. We know it later. When it comes, when the change takes place, then if we look back, we say, “Ah! That’s it, that is what I was moving towards”–but we know it only later. Before that we only have vague imaginations which are quite superficial and childish in comparison with the true progress, the true transformation.

So we say, first point: we have an aspiration but we don’t really know the true result we ought to obtain. Only the Divine can know that.

And secondly, if we tell the Divine, “I am giving you my effort, but, you know, in exchange I must make progress, otherwise I won’t give you anything at all!”–that is bargaining. That’s all.

The Mother