How Far to the Temple?
Think about a spiritual practice in three different ways:
1) Meditation as a contemplative practice. This includes prayer and sitting quietly with your thoughts. Science has shown many medical benefits from this, and most people include this in some form in their life.
2) Meditation as a tool to understand the Self. This includes those of you who want to learn more about energy, your own and surrounding you. With this approach, meditation becomes more than just contemplation; instead you quiet your thoughts and connect to a deeper place within.
3) Meditation as a commitment for life. With this more committed approach, life becomes a spiritual path. Awareness grows such that all of life can be viewed with a deeper understanding.
With all that in mind, here is another monk and a man story (courtesy of my yoga teacher, Jason):
One day a man set out to find a Temple he had heard was amazing. He wasn’t sure where it was but people had told him it was really worth visiting. Not far on his journey he came to a crossroads where he saw a monk. He asked this monk if he knew of the Temple he was trying to find. The monk said that of course he knew where it was. It was hard to find so he suggested they walk there together. They walked for over an hour talking and getting to know one another. The man began to wonder if the monk knew where they were going and asked how much longer to the Temple. At that point the monk answered, “For you, it will be another three hours.” The man responded, bewildered, “Why didn’t you tell me it would take so long before we started?” And the monk replied, “Because I didn’t know who you were.”
All spiritual practices are beneficial. Like anything in life, you will reap what you sow, so if you put more of yourself into your practice you will be surprised to see how much more you can get out of it.