It’s May, and here in southern Oregon we have finally seen signs of spring. The sun has peeped out, the rain has (mostly) stopped, and people are planting their gardens.
Planting a garden takes work, but the promise of an abundant harvest fills the gardener with happy anticipation. It would be nice to be able to wake up the next day and enjoy the garden’s bounty. But we all know it doesn’t work that way.
Now comes the long wait with all its stages. First the tender shoots appear, and then the soft green leaves and lovely blossoms, which in turn give way to the baby fruits and vegetables that may take weeks or months to grow and ripen.
It’s a long process that has played itself out since the beginning of time, and the gardener must develop patience. To lose patience and neglect the garden would bring disaster.
It is the same when it comes to our inner growth. It takes work and patience before we can see any kind of results. And the changes that come may be so subtle, we hardly notice them at first. Nevertheless, one day there’s a little more understanding, a little more compassion for others, a little more resilience, and over time, by tending to our own inner garden, we begin to live a more authentic life.
Here is some inspiring wisdom that comes to us down through the ages that reminds us to keep up with our inner work, and let the beautiful process of self-discovery and self-transformation unfold in its own time.
What sort of tree is there which will not, if neglected, grow crooked and unfruitful, but which will, if given right attention, prove to be productive, and bring its fruit to maturity? — Plutarch (46 – 120 A.D.)
No great thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen. — Epictetus (55 – 135 A.D.)
The only useful question in this matter is this: how a man may know that he is in the way of regeneration, that he is spiritually alive, and growing in the inward and new man. — William Law (1686 – 1761)
All our progress is an unfolding, like the vegetable bud. You have first an instinct, then an opinion, then a knowledge, as the plant has root, bud, and fruit. Trust the instinct to the end, though you can render no reason. — Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882)
It matters little where a man may be at this moment… the point is whether he is growing. — George MacDonald (1824 – 1905)
The beautiful truth that shines through all these quotations is that there is a process of development, it is known, and though it may sometimes seem not to be happening at all, we must never turn away if we wish to be transformed into our own highest nature.
Just to strengthen the lesson, here’s one more quotation from OneJourney founder Guy Finley:
The seed of greatness is sown in an instant, but in this world of ours everything great takes time to grow. This means that patience, mingled with persistence, is the special nutriment that sustains all things great. Therefore, should we wish to win the Great Life, we need only add equal measures of quiet watchfulness to our spiritual willingness and a Great Goodness cannot help but flourish within us. — Guy Finley (1949)
So do not give in to discouragement if you are not seeing the results within yourself that you look for so eagerly. Change doesn’t happen overnight. But the inner journey is a great adventure that yields rewards all along the way. Savor every bit of it.
Dr. Ellen Dickstein
The OneJourney Project
PS: You are invited to join Guy Finley’s weekly FREE talks on these beautiful ideas. His talks are livestreamed every Wednesday evening and Sunday morning. For details visit guyfinley.org/freeclass