At theme parks, we often have to wait in a queue for hours to get on a ride that only lasts a few seconds. Similarly, in material life we have to work very hard in order to experience fleeting moments of pleasure. Is it really worth the effort? If material life were a business, those in charge would conclude that it wasn’t financially viable and abandon the whole idea.
Just like the “fast track” priority queues that can be found at major theme parks, all of the so-called advancement of modern civilisation is aimed at reducing the waiting time to get what we want. These days, we all want things instantly, and if this expectation isn’t met, we become frustrated or even angry. If we order something online and it doesn’t arrive the very next day, or if we miss a train and have to wait a whole five minutes for the next one, we tend to act as if the world has suddenly come to an end!
I still remember the days of dial-up internet, when it took some time to see anything at all; now, after becoming accustomed to broadband, I would personally find such speeds to be intolerably slow, and I’m sure that the vast majority of people would feel the same way. Indeed, the rise of the internet has contributed greatly to the disease of impatience that currently plagues our society.
Because we have become conditioned to expect immediate results, a complete change of mindset is required when it comes to spiritual life. A lot more time and effort need to be put in before any significant results can be seen. In the end, however, it is infinitely more rewarding. Like a gardener, we must regularly water the seed of our spiritual life and patiently wait for it to break through the soil and blossom into a beautiful flower.
Rather than long periods of suffering and anxiety interspersed with brief moments of pleasure, we will then be able to experience a higher level of happiness that is independent of external circumstances. In other words, we will remain happy even whilst going through great difficulties.