AN AUTHENTIC MEASURE OF OUR SPIRITUAL PROGRESS
How do we measure our progress in spirituality? How do we know if we are on the right path? The answer is simpler than we may believe. It is not just about being able to do complicated postures or being able to have exotic visions while sitting in meditation.
It is also about how we relate with the people around us in our day to day lives. Once we have established ourselves in our true nature, we feel a natural inclination to serve others. We will be moved from within by a drive to serve our fellow human beings. All saints and sages have this in common.
It is said in the Bible that ‘a tree is known by the fruit that it bears.’ Our actions and behaviors toward others always reflect the level of our spiritual attainment. The following short story by Paulo Coelho drives this point home.
A Rabbi gathered together his students and asked them: ‘How do we know the exact moment when the night ends and the day begins?’
‘It’s when standing some way away, you can tell a sheep from a dog,’ said one student.
The Rabbi was not content with the answer. Another student said:
‘No, it’s when standing some way away, you can tell an olive tree from a fig tree.’
‘No, that’s not a good definition either.’
‘Well, what’s the right answer?’, asked the students.
The Rabbi said:
‘When a stranger approaches, and we think that he/she is our brother/sister, that is the moment when the night ends and the day begins.’
The story conveys the message that when we see the barriers between ourselves and others breaking down, we can know that we are on the right path. The air we breathe, the water we bring and the soil we walk on does not discriminate. It is we who build unnecessary walls between ourselves and others. The disappearing of there walls is a sign of spiritual progress. And when these walls disappear, we are drawn towards serving humanity.