“keep plugging on”

 

When the heart grieves over what it has lost, the spirit rejoices over what it has found. 
– Sufi proverb

 

During the early stages of the spiritual journey, we can feel a certain deprivation when we have to keep saying no to the senses as they clamor for things that will only add to the burden of the journey later on. “Don’t eat this. Don’t drink that. Don’t smoke this. Don’t watch that.” This is what you hear from your spiritual teacher. There is no rapture; there is no ecstasy; only “keep plugging along.”

 

This discriminating restraint of the senses is not asceticism. Its purpose is not to subjugate the body. We need to train the senses to be faithful allies on our journey for two compelling reasons: first, the body is our vehicle, and we need to keep it healthy, strong, and resilient so that it can carry us steadily and safely to the summit of consciousness; second, training the senses strengthens the will day by day, enabling us gradually to gain control over the fierce passions that rage beneath the surface of consciousness. Without a trained will it is not possible to move up out of the Valley of the Shadow of Death which is our physical world. Untrained, the will becomes self-will, our worst enemy; but trained, the will can become our most powerful ally.

~ Eknath Easwaran

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