My spiritual master, Paramahamsa Vishwananda, has said a nice story once.
Once upon a time there was a lumberjack. He lived his humble life with his wife in a humble hut. Each day he would go to the same place in the forest, chop some wood, and then go on the market and sell it. Each day looked the same: he wakes up, chops the wood, goes to the market, spends a bit of time with his wife and goes to sleep. Same scenario, over and over again.
Each day, when he was on the way to the forest, where he always chopped his wood, there was a sage. Each day the sage was sitting in the same place, meditating, with bliss expressed in his gentle smile and kind of special aura around him. Each day lumberjack was passing by the place, where the sage was sitting, but he was not paying too much attention to him. He was just thinking: “Weird guy. Why he is smiling so much? He is just sitting in one place and doing nothing!”
Yet, there was something intriguing about the sage.
Each day lumberjack was getting more and more curious about the sage. At first, he thought, that the sage is just crazy. After all, working all these years, cutting the wood and selling it on the market every single day, as well as arguing with his wife every single day, each day repeating the same drama, lumberjack was already pretty bored of his life. Yet, this sage, sitting all the time in one place, had logically even more reasons to be bored – yet, there was pure happiness expressed on his face. Every single day.
One day lumberjack could not stop himself from stopping by the sage and asked this question, which was bothering him for a very long time:
“What makes you so happy?”
The sage smiled gently and replied with a question: “And what makes you unhappy?”
Then the lumberjack told him about his life. He told the sage how every single day he wakes up early, goes to the same place in the forest, cuts some wood, and then goes to sell it on the market. He said how each day he argues with his wife in the evening as well, and he said how each of his days looks exactly the same.
“Could you give me some advice on how to be happy?”, asked lumberjack.
The sage smiled and answered:
“Next time when you will go to the forest to chop wood, don’t go to the same place as usual.”
“Go deeper into the forest.”
Lumberjack thought it was rather weird advice. But he didn’t have anything lose. So he went to the forest, passed the place, where he was usually chopping wood, and went further.
Suddenly, he noticed a little cave on his way. It was too small to be visible from the distance. He went closer to the cave, curious, if he will find anything inside.
It was a small silver mine.
Lumberjack’s joy knew no boundaries!
His life has changed totally since then. His humble hut turned into a nice house, and his wife had now lots of new clothes. And, as she was more happy, there were also less fights in home. Lumberjack didn’t need to chop his wood anymore, neither there was a need for him to go to the market every single day. Who would not be happy with such a change?
One day, lumberjack remembered about the sage.
He remembered his smiling face and in one moment he realized, that although he has his little silver business now, and his life has changed totally, he cannot really say that he is happy.
There was still something missing in lumberjack’s life – while it seemed, like this sage, who had nothing, was more fulfilled and satisfied than him. And, logically, how could that be possible?
Lumberjack went to the sage to enquire about the topic. And once more he was wonderstruck to see the sage emanating this mysterious aura of bliss and fulfillment. He said to the sage, how he went deeper into the forest, how he found a silver mine… How he’s got a new hut and better clothes for his wife now… And how…
…he still doesn’t feel happy.
Sage just smiled and said: “I didn’t told you to go into the forest and find a silver mine. I told you to…
“…go deeper into the forest.”
Lumberjack was confused.
Yet, next day, when he was going to his silver mine, he decided to really go deeper into the forest. He went a mile further and then…
…again he saw on a horizon a small cave, covered by bushes, almost invisible from the distance. His heart started to beat faster. He uncovered the bushes. And to his great excitement he realized, that what he has just found was in fact a gold mine.
Now, that was something. Now there was a really huge change in his life. His house has transformed into a palace. His wife was now not only wearing the finest of silks, but she was also bedecked with all kinds of jewellery. They ate fine foods, which their servants were preparing for them on daily basis. And since his wife didn’t have anymore much job to do at home, and she felt pretty much like a princess, there was no more fights between them.
Their life looked like a fairy-tale. Nothing could be better.
Yet, something was still missing. “I have everything. Why am I still not fully happy and satisfied?”, ex-lumberjack kept asking himself. And as he couldn’t find any answer, he decided to go one more time to the sage.
Again he was amazed to feel the amazing aura of bliss literally emanating from the sage. He told the sage about finding the gold mine, about his new palace and how many positive changes it has brought into his life… He wanted to ask the sage, why regardless of all these changes he is still not happy, but the sage stopped him gently, and said:
“Nice, nice. I am happy that you found a gold mine. But you see, I didn’t told you to go into the forest and find a gold mine. I just told you to…
“…go deeper into the forest.”
Now, ex-lumberjack was really confused.
He couldn’t understand, why the sage keeps repeating the same words. Normally he would think that the old guy is just crazy. But as his previous advice has already brought a big change into his life, he decided to give it a try one more time.
So ex-lumberjack went deeper into the forest. He walked for few miles this time, seeing nothing but trees on his way. And then he saw it. Another cave hidden behind the bushes. This one was hidden so well, that there was absolutely no chance to find it for anybody, who would not pass really close by.
It was a diamond mine.
For a moment lumberjack already saw before his eyes all the possibilities that this discovery could bring into his life. Oh, what a joy it would be for his wife! But being already richer in experience, having found two other mines before, and having experienced, that none of them made him really happy, almost immediately he became sad again.
And then, in one moment, faster than a lightening, he has finally understood.
It was never about the forest. It was about him.
The sage never told him to go deeper into the real forest. The sage was telling him to go deeper into experience of life. He was telling him to go deeper into himself.
And it was never about finding any cave, any silver mine, any gold mine or any diamond mine. It was never about “getting” anything. It was just about going deeper.
That’s the story about each one of us.
There are very few of us, who have enough courage to go deeper into the inner forest. Coming back home today from the forest of Marjan, and sitting in a bus, I was observing people’s faces and behavior. Most of them live completely on the surface of life. Their whole life is job, family and entertainment. Once they lose one of those, they get depressed. Because there is nothing else to their life. And only because they chose so. Because they chose to live on the surface and to not “go deeper into the forest”.
And then, there are few lucky ones, who are on the stage of “waking up” from their own dream. It’s similar like in a real dream. When a dream becomes too scary or painful, many people unconsciously wake up to avoid further unpleasant experience. Same is with spiritual awakening. When one already gets fed of being depressed, unsatisfied or hurt, a person is looking for a cure. 80% of people come to yoga or meditation, because they have some inner problems and they are not able to deal with them. Hey, it was the same with me! (You can read the whole story in my first blog post.)
Another 20% of people interested in meditation are those, who have really everything: loving family, loads of money, few cars and a successful career. Yet, they are still not satisfied. Often even depressed. And they absolutely don’t understand why. Logically, they have everything. I have met quite a lot of such people on my Atma Kriya Yoga courses.
But the soul is missing something deeper.
I was there, exactly on the same place, 10 years ago. Fighting with depression (or rather giving up) and with insomnia, unable to get any satisfaction or happiness from life. And then I found my “silver mine”, when I understood how yoga and meditation helps me. Regular practice cured me not only from depression and insomnia, but also fixed my spine and took of some burden from my mind. I experienced a similar shift in life like lumberjack from the story.
I really received a lot.
But there was so much more to discover!
Same like the lumberjack could not possibly expect to find a hidden diamond mine in the middle of the forest, I could never expect that I will receive from yoga, and especially through chanting the mantra and meditation, so much as I received. I would never ever suspect that this path will take me, where it took me: to such moment in my life, where I can experience real miracles happening on daily basis.
If you are just beginning your journey with meditation, no matter what is your current reason for that, or which of your problems is your motivation, I would say: blessed are you. Because you are going to receive so much more, than what you expect!
Even if you started your meditation, Atma Kriya Yoga practice or mantra practice just to find your own “silver mine” inside, that’s totally fine. But, please, for the sake of your own happiness, don’t stop there!
Go deeper! Don’t stop even, when you find a “diamond mine”! Because there is far more miracles awaiting you, that you can’t expect or event think of at the moment. You will receive your healing, you will receive your calmness and harmony you are looking for. But you will also receive much, much more: you will discover the eternal connection between your soul and Divine. And I tell you, you can’t possibly imagine at the moment, how much it will change your life and how much it will change you.
And if you are lucky enough, and find your own spiritual master, who will guide you through your own inner “forest”, there will be no more need to seek for any “mines”. “Mines” will start seeking you! And you will be happy to receive Divine blessings in your life, wherever you go. But this intimate, inner connection with the Divine and with life itself, which can be experienced only in the depth of your own heart, will always mean more than this, what any “mine” can ever give you.