What is the difference between your experience of Existence and that of a saint?

The saint knows that the spiritual path is a sublime chess game with God and that the Beloved has just made such a Fantastic Move that the saint is now continually tripping over Joy and bursting out in Laughter, and saying, “I surrender!”

Whereas, my dear, I am afraid you still think you have a thousand serious moves.

- Hafiz

A young man went to a saint and said: “Teach me how to be successful.”

“I will teach you more than that,” replied the saint. “I shall teach you to be generous to the unsuccessful. That will pave the way towards your own success, and give you far more.”

The young man was interested.

“I shall also teach you how to be generous towards the successful. Otherwise, you will become bitter and unable to work towards success.”

“Please, tell me, how do I learn?”

“Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be granted to you. This sums up the teachings of the scriptures. The secret of all life is in these words.”

The young man was confused. “But what about all my striving? There is so much I want to do, so much I want to achieve. I’m not ready to renounce the world.”

The saint smiled. “That is an obstruction caused by our own misguided ego, which is the only thing we must renounce. The purpose of one’s life is to be a conscious instrument of the Divine Presence. The whole tragedy in the life of man is his ignorance of this fact. Our work should be our religion, whatever our occupation may be.”

The young man looked curious.

“There are two aspects of will working through all things in life. One is the individual will, the other the Divine will. When a person strives with all his might and yet finds difficulties all along the path, and cannot achieve his desire, that is when the matter is contrary to the Divine will; naturally his human will fails, because he is swimming against the tide. The moment a person works in harmony with the Divine will, things become smooth.”

“But how does one know the difference?”

“One feels he is directing life or that life is happening to him. He is the doer. The other sees life happening for him and through him. Whatever his life’s pursuit, God is the doer and he is his devotee.”

“It’s not that easy.”

“It’s not that difficult either. Listen to your heart. It knows all things.”

“All my life I’ve been using my head.”

“How’s that working out for you?”

“Well,” he fell silent.

The saint burst out laughing. “Try something different. Surrender.”

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