'Be' with Swami Venkatesananda

Are we sincere?

Only the insincere man grumbles, and finds difficulties. If you have sincerity at heart, there is no impossibility, and difficulties are accepted as necessary challenges. The sincere man converts obstacles into stepping stones. The insincere man regards stepping stones as obstacles. On the path of yoga, what is needed is sincerity; and if we are sincere and earnest, then the path is smooth. Sincerity itself is only the inner expression of the correct scale of values. We are sincerely devoted to only that which we value. Otherwise, we treat it as hard labor.

If you value anything, you want to do it, and love doing it. If you do not value it, your mind magnifies only the difficulties involved.

As proof of sincerity, the ancient masters looked for what are known as the ‘four means of salvation’, which every aspirant is encouraged to cultivate.
These four means are:
(1) discrimination – the recognition of the proper scale of values,
(2) dispassion – its adoption to daily life,
(3) virtues which induce one-pointed application of the mind and heart to the goal of life, and
(4) keen desire to attain that goal.

These are fundamental to all our endeavors – sacred and secular – and cannot be dispensed with. Time does not efface nor alter these eternal verities. In order to be aware of these verities, one has to realize the futility of relying upon changing phenomena and fleeting objects of pleasure, upon the elusive inner emotions and divisive thought processes, which perpetuate inner conflict, and the consequent restlessness and unhappiness. Unless we realize the danger of relying on false values, we shall not seek true values.

One who has these four means, takes to yoga as a duck takes to water. But one who neglects them, regards spiritual life as a labor or burden to be carried. The secret of overcoming this unpleasantness lies in understanding the fact that we are bound to realize the self – God – one day or the other, and it is a great joy doing so now; and also in taking a keen interest in boldly venturing into the realms of the mind and the spirit, in full recognition of the truth that the ‘other path’ – the path of sense-pleasure – is worthless, and is fraught with pain and sorrow. Then, yoga becomes delightful and fruitful. Occasional setbacks lose their depressing effect, but act as stepping stones to greater effort and success.