There are continuous, constant tests on a spiritual path. A person who wants to get a degree is given tests. Those who are not interested in learning, do not need to be tested. Teachers will not even want to give a test to a person who doesn’t want to learn. And, the biggest degree one can get is to reach the goal of spiritual life: to know your True Self and to experience the peace that is your true nature. For that, we have to face millions of tests. If you don’t get tested, you should be sad about it, because that means you have been forgotten. The proof that God remembers you, and knows you are trying to grow, is that you are given more tests in life.

Tests are a way  to make sure that you are growing in the right direction, that you are keeping up some zeal, faith, and devotion. It’s a continuous constant education. It’s as simple as planting a post. At every moment, you want to make sure that the post is strong, steady, and well planted. How would you know? Just try to shake it and if it shakes you would put a few stones around the base, hit it with a crowbar, jam it in, and then shake it again. If it is still shaky, put some more stones around it and jam and pound another time. When would that jamming stop? Only when you are sure the post is steady.

It is through the same process that we are made strong and steady and until that time, the jamming and pounding and slamming will be there. So, no seeker should get disheartened by that. On the other hand, one should feel happy about it. Yes, I’m being tested. This is the opportunity for me to prove my faith and dedication. Spiritual seeking and attaining spiritual goals demands a lot. We have seen this in the lives of all the sages and saints. They are the ones who really went up the spiritual ladder. Saint Ramakrishna used to say that if you want to push a sewing thread into the eye of a needle, even if one minute fiber sticks out, it won’t go in. So you have to twist it and even if one little fiber is out of place, it will prevent the thread from going into the eye. All the fibers should be twisted together and then it is easy for it to pass through.

Likewise, the mind of a spiritual seeker must be totally together. There has to be a one-pointedness. Even one little distraction is enough to make us not succeed. One little minute attachment over anything is a distraction. What does the Bible say? “Seek the kingdom first.” Don’t worry or wait for anything. Sacrifice all your selfishness. Just think, Peace is my priority. Then, “everything shall be added unto you.” Whether you wanted it or not, it will be given. You don’t even have to ask. All these other little things are nothing compared to having your peace. Because if you get you peace, you get everything. If you have everything, but have no pPeace, you get nothing.

Supreme harmony, supreme joy, that is your peace. Keep this as your goal: Nothing should take away my peace. I am ready to give up anything and everything if they are going to come and interfere with my peace. Peace is my priority. And if you have that as a goal, of course tests will come to see if you are really living up to that priority. If you face the tests and pass them, then you prove that yes, I don’t want anything else—no matter what happens. If the peace is satisfied with you, and you have proved you will never sacrifice that peace for anything in life, then all else will come.

Everything likes to be with a peaceful person. Nobody and no thing wants to be with a restless person. Even money will say, Oh you seem to be a very peaceful person, so I know you will not misuse me; I’ll go stay with you. Name will come, fame will come, beauty will come, if you have peace. So be peaceful. Peace is our goal. A peaceful person has everything. A peace-less person has nothing, even though he or she may seem to have everything.

This same point  is presented in a simple proverb that we use: “Contentment is golden.” You don’t have to go to the West or East for gold. There is no need to “rush” for Gold. The simplest way to find gold is to stay contented. If you think, I am content with what I am given, that is peace. A contented mind will always be in peace.

There is the example of two saints who were both contented with their partners. One said to God, “I’m so contented with my partner. You gave her to me and she is such a sweet person. She helps me in everything. She inspires me to think of you, thank you for giving her to me. I’m content.” Another saint said, the same thing. “God, I am so contented with the partner you gave me. It’s so kind of you to have given me a partner like this. Because of her, I am constantly thinking of you. If you had not given me this terrible monster for my partner, I would be falling at her feet constantly saying, “Oh honey, honey, you are so wonderful, what can I do for you?” Then,  I would not even bother about thinking of You. She is the one who is pushing me toward You more and more. How kind of you to give her to me!”

So it all depends upon how you take it, on your attitude. If you take what comes to you as a blessing, then whatever it is, you will be contented and peaceful. And that capacity comes with your total faith in God, or faith in the Cosmic Consciousness, or in Nature. So do not lose your peace in the name of anything. Every seeker should remember this truth. Then the seeking brings results quickly. It’s not just a mere philosophy to read and then forget. It is to be applied in our lives. Contentment. There is no greater wealth than saying, “I don’t want anything.” There is a proverb that says, “Waste not and want not.” I like to turn it around and say, “Want not and waste not your happiness.”

By Sri Swami Satchidananda