The true saint goes in and out amongst the people and eats and sleeps with them and buys and sells in the market and marries and takes part in social intercourse, and never forgets God for a single moment.
To meditate and live the spiritual life, we needn’t drop everything and undertake an ascent of the Himalayas or Mount Athos or Cold Mountain. It may not sound glamorous, but you can actually do better right where you are.
I read these lines from Eknath and I think, “Then maybe I still have a chance!” I’m not leaving for a lonely mountaintop anytime soon, so these words are encouraging.
They are also challenging since they don’t give room for excuses. If I don’t have to become a hilltop hermit to travel the spiritual path and I can do just as well right here, right where I am now, then I best get on with it.
Eknath goes on to say that we need people if we are to grow as all our problems with them are, properly seen, opportunities for growth. “Can you practice patience with a deer? Can you learn to forgive a redwood?” he asks. Good point.
The ability to add these little instances of practicing into something much bigger is at the heart of it all. Forgiving a colleague for being rude, or being patient with other drivers rushing during the morning commute—these small things here and now are my own steps on the spiritual path.