By truly causeless mercy of the devotees I came across two very valuable pieces of advice that I hope can help one under attack of desperation.
It’s one thing to theoretically know that nothing is lost on the path of devotional service, it’s quite another to realize it and keep faith in it in the times of great stress.
God knows how many times I caught myself secretly wishing for my rounds to finish soon, stealing a glance at the watch, fingering the counters, even trying to distract myself with something else, hoping that time will fly faster and I finish my rounds “sooner”. Eventually it leads to disappointment with myself, disappointment with my lack of taste in chanting, desperation of never ever achieving anything. Why can’t I continue chanting beyond the required sixteen rounds? I’m a failure.
What one should try to do in this situation is to focus not on what we can’t do but rather focus on what we can – and that is the struggle against all odds to finish our daily sacrifice. That tremendous effort we sometimes put in accomplishing our quota of rounds is our sacrifice and that effort is what really counts. It doesn’t count not how far advanced we are on the infinitely long road, the level of advancement doesn’t make any sense comparing to the infinity of potential service a soul can render to Krishna, what really counts is how much we’ve sacrificed today, how many steps we’ve taken.
Ultimately, only time separates us from the success, and time is a tricky illusion of the material world, it has no power over the soul. Time has no place in the spiritual realm and it is only an illusion that we are moving “slowly”. The only real feature about time is that it always changes. One day you cry, the other day you laugh, just live through it, whether you like it or not, it WILL end sooner or later -just like people with broken hearts simply need to let time take its course. Same goes for happiness, btw.
And worrying about “losing” the race to perfection is nothing but the frustrated false ego demanding extra attention.
But what if you can’t finish even the required sixteen? Wouldn’t that count as a failure?
Not really. It isn’t surely a success but there’s no point in lamenting over it either. Just resume where you left off next time you get a chance. Failure shouldn’t discourage one from continuing, ie one shouldn’t give up chanting just because he failed at it yesterday. The only way to remedy the failure to chant is to chant more.
There’s no other way, remember?
Sometimes it feels like you can’t resume chanting. Great – the real problem would be if you feel like you DON’T need to chant anymore, and I don’t think it affects anybody against their will so they won’t be frustrated.
After all, what is a lost day, a lost year, a lost lifetime? We’ve had thousands and millions of those. Yes, we can’t afford to waste time either but that should be measured against individual conditions. One person might delay chanting by ten years while another might delay by five minutes – these numbers have no value whatsoever in the face of eternity.
Don’t worry about how much time has passed, be glad you want to resume chanting again – now that’s the attitude!
Hope this helps.