It's ok to slip sometime
Whether we realise it or not, each one of us are in a quest of self-improvement at a conscious or sub-conscious level. This is part of our DNA. To survive we have to continuously evolve, as discovered by Darwin. The more “driven” among us do it with determination, but even those of us who are apparently lazy and seem to lack motivation still keep working at a subliminal level, sometimes even without realising it.
But, the best among us also slip, trip or fall on the path. It is like having a bad day at the Gym or developing a sprain while running. One can catch a cold or flu during the change of season or visiting a new place. Someone who had successfully overcome a chronic ailment, for example Asthma, can have a sudden relapse. The first point to accept is that it happens.
Spiritual masters have written how the inner journey can be a very slippery road. They have also prescribed some precautions and methods of recovery. In fact, the wise caution new aspirants from being over-enthusiastic and too ambitious, since rapid progress very often lead to quick fall as well. They, therefore, talk of the importance of creating safety nets.
Is there a way to prepare for such pitfalls? The answers are probably pretty much similar to what we are taught to do at beginning to get started. For both, the key ingredient is will power for which we must dive deep into our inner resources or, should we feel the need, turn to an external source of inspiration for enlightenment. However, this cannot work in the midst of commotion and distraction, we have to create a congenial environment for it. This is not just in terms of physical but the atmosphere around us, it includes the company we keep. Finally, we need dedication, discipline and practice.
The reasons for set back can be many. Quite frequently it is the lack of progress that frustrates us. But, it is also common for events to overtake or circumstances that overwhelm. There is always that sudden giant wave that overthrows even a champion surfer. In all these instances it is important to get back on the feet and attend to any injuries that one may have suffered. But, more important is to attend to any psychological impact, especially on the level of confidence.
If it has been a minor fall, one needs to simply get up and start running again, just likes any good athlete or sportsman would do. But, if it is a major mishap one it is probably wiser to step back and take a pause. One does not always have to get back to the drawing board, as it were, but a bit of quiet reflection is generally called for.
It may also be a good idea to get back to a mentor or a coach. Discuss the issue with him or her and get a different perspective. Then, draw up specific and measurable action plan to get back on track. Just like a patch of bad form, seasoned Golfers return to the practice range and take few lessons from a Pro.