Whenever I visited Guru in New York, it was usually an escape from my responsibilities in Chicago. With that escape came more opportunity to meditate, and maintain what appeared to be better spiritual discipline.
Therefore, I was surprised when Guru told me that when I am in Chicago, I make more progress. This was exactly contrary to my perceptions. So I said, “Guru, you know, I don’t see it. You say I make more spiritual progress back in Chicago. I don’t feel spiritual progress in Chicago. I feel nothing but struggle, nothing but difficulty.”
And he said, “No, no, no, it’s not like that. Think of the weightlifter. The weightlifter lifts weights. Now, you can take all the weight off the barbell and the weightlifter says, ‘Oh, look how easy it is for me. I can lift the weight so many times.’ Now, put weights on the barbell. Immediately he will see it is much more difficult to lift. But in which way is he developing more strength? When the barbell has weights, of course.” He added, “True, it is more difficult to lift. But at the same time, he is developing more strength. In life, what are your weights? Nothing other than your life’s responsibilities, or you can call it your duties. Your life’s responsibilities are the weights. So when you go back to Chicago, you assume your life’s responsibilities, and it is these responsibilities that compel you to develop inner strength.”
Sometimes there’s a delicate balance between what we deem to be life-struggles and what truly are our proper life-opportunities. Life is constantly challenging us with the opportunity for self-transcendence.
Responsibility cannot weigh you down
If you take responsibility
As a God-approved opportunity.
It can only lift you and your life
To the higher worlds.
Sri Chinmoy 1