Inner  Frontier
Cultivating Spiritual Presence

 

Determination

What determines who succeeds and who fails? Certainly luck, preparation, and circumstances shape our possibilities. But none of these are either necessary or sufficient. The one indispensable factor in success is determination. In the spiritual path, even more than in material pursuits, our degree of determination makes the crucial difference between fulfilling our spiritual potential and falling short.

Material success arrives in tangible, obvious forms. Progress on the spiritual path? We may not even recognize it. Long years of uncertainty confront us. Determination sustains us through the droughts and doubts.

Determination results from our sense of purpose. And our sense of purpose, at its best, is a projection of the Great Unconditioned Purpose into our limited world. Thus, our determination to pursue the spiritual path day-to-day and moment-to-moment is a direct manifestation of our openness to and connection with the Divine. The greater our determination to serve and practice now, the stronger our relationship to the Source, and vice versa. Our need for spiritual sustenance and connection originates in the particle of the Divine Will placed in us at birth. This need manifests in us as a longing, as an unwavering determination to practice, to open, to win our way through to that Perfection and utter fulfillment that await us.

In any (or every) given moment, determination enables us to work on awareness, sensation, presence, kindness, and all the other practices which form our path. This is the essence and touchstone of the reality of the path: practice in this moment, in every moment. The more we practice, the more our determination to practice grows. Our repeated recognition, particularly in times of difficulty, that the spiritual is the source of all meaning, renews our determination, returning us to focus on our practice.

Imagine the determination we would need to practice unabated, moment-to-moment, in continuity of awareness: great determination indeed. Fortunately, we find help from another direction. Determination emanates from the active, forceful side of will. On the open, allowing side of will, we have our commitment growing apace. With determination we push ourselves and our practice, probing and extending the boundaries of our familiar envelope, our assumed limitations. Commitment draws us to practice, attracts us into this moment of heartful presence. Together, determination and commitment create a natural synergy directed toward liberation, love, and service.

Determination is the ramrod strength of will to see the path through, come what may, even in our weakest and most distressed moments. Yet the truth is, it waxes and wanes. At times when other interests, cares, and burdens distract us, our inner work and determination to practice may weaken. But rather than merely flapping about in the breeze of life, we can, even then, reach beyond our usual self, into our own core and find that which will not let go of the path, which holds to the most basic source of meaning, which remembers why we are here. This, our second and hidden determination, picks us up from life’s muddle and sets a clear course. Then we find our bearings and begin to walk the path again.

 


        

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