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On the Value of Time
One year has passed since the young men began to live in the Master’s house.
Here was the certain order of an average day.
They got up — with the dawn. After hygienic procedures and a light breakfast — time was spent for spiritual work. Sometimes these were lessons of Master or one of the older disciples. For the remainder of the morning, the disciples themselves repeated the tasks previously received from Master.
In the afternoon, they usually worked in the garden and the vegetable garden, or by reading and rewriting books.
Some disciples, who came to Master from other countries, translated the texts into their native languages.
Our young men, at first, liked this life in the Master’s house very much. They were filled with rapture from the first touches of Divine Love, Which they could sense from the simple initial exercises for opening the spiritual hearts.
... In the beginning, they followed everything with inspiration! But then... they began to be lazy.
To good — people get used quickly... And sometimes it happens that the good things in life... become ordinary — and then they stop appreciating.
When all the other disciples went to their rooms to perform daily meditations, our young men sometimes preferred to sleep. And no one scolded them for it and did not check how they perform the exercises!
And sometimes one of them began to boast about imaginary achievements in meditations — to show the others how successful he is!...
When everyone worked in the garden or in the kitchen, it happened that this work seemed “not spiritual” — and they only pretended that they tried but got tired, and, if possible, they avoided this work. Such a “dirty work” — they thought — was not needed for “spiritual ascetics”!...
They took for granted that they had nutritious food and shelter. And — they forgot about gratitude...
Master watched them sadly, but did not hurry to admonish them. The good that a person will do under duress was unlikely to benefit the souls! So he believed.
Master sometimes washed the dishes himself after a common meal or undertook to fertilize and dig the vegetable beds when the young men pretended to be very busy with more important matters...
Master was waiting for a convenient moment to explain how sad the fate of those who stopped in their spiritual development due to laziness and narcissism. And also — of those who have ceased to make efforts to transform themselves — into the souls shining with love.
And after all, if a person does not perform the normal affairs of good in everyday life or performs them with unwillingness and disgust, — then what spiritual work can be talked about?
The young men were sometimes embarrassed by the Master’s strict views, but did not rush to look for the cause of his discontent in themselves.
Boredom began to appear in their lives from satiety with well-being and because of the extinction of love...
* * *
In one of these days, when the young men were especially lazy, an old man had come to the Master’s house.
He walked, heavily moving his legs, hunched over, like a heavy load of past years and life’s problems and of disappointments, weighed him to the ground.
This man has not achieved much in life, and what he managed to find — it became just a load of new worries, and it did not bring him happiness.
One of the Master’s disciples said to the young men, looking at this man:
“Yes, when the life is lived almost to the end, — only then many people start to think about the fact that they did not live it the way it was necessary to. But they have nothing to help already... Here — the old man came to Master for advice and help, and what can you do when death is already ‘knocking at the door’? Look: it’s so sad — and rejoice that you still have strength and time!”
... And Master spoke with this old man for a long time, and when the guest left after the conversation, his eyes shone with hope. Even his gait was easier, he straightened, as if he had managed to lose load, which bent him to the ground, in which the body soon will rest...
“Tell us, what did You tell this old man?” — the disciples asked Master, being surprised by the change that happened in the visitor.
Master invited everyone who was interested in this conversation to discuss this topic:
“Despondency is often inherent in old age. In old age, a person can not entertain oneself with hopes for the future, because this ‘future’ has already come close, and it is such, as man built it for all his or her life. And what awaits after the death of the body — usually people do not know, and this frightens them.
“In old age, a person can no longer console oneself with dreams: ‘I will have time to accomplish this, I will make it, I will reach it!’ Both diseases and bodily infirmities are added to that...”
“We thought that such a person could no longer be helped. But You — as if resurrected in him youth and hope! What did You say to him, Master?”
“The fear of the unknownness of posthumous existence makes many people — young and even elderly — try to not think about the inevitability of death of the body. When the death of the body occurs to another from their environment, then people try to drive away the thought that death awaits their bodies. ‘It will not happen to me soon!’ They try so to console themselves.
“And, having lost all hopes for the future, people begin to indulge in regrets about the past, blaming themselves and others for ‘everything is so bad’...
“Sadness and despondency are the best way to squander in vain also that little residual time, to lose the last forces in negative emotions...
“For each person — young or old — the principle should be relevant: there is no spare time in life, there is no time for idleness, laziness, and meaningless vain cares!
“The death of the body does not always come in deep old age. Therefore, every day should be ‘expensive’, filled with joy from the spiritual transformation of oneself and the accomplished deeds of good in relation to other beings.
“It can be small and simple — at first glance — deeds, and not always it should be just meditation. If all deeds that help people are done with love, then this is already a great good in the sense of a favorable fate formation! Such a person, including, creates around him or her a space of love, peace, joy, harmony. All surrounding beings feel this, even if they do not understand the reason why they feel good! And all the fruits of the work of such a person carry in themselves particles of the energy of love, like the fruits of plants, saturated with sunlight!
“There are feasible opportunities to transform oneself — for any soul.
“That’s what I tried to tell the old man. Also I told him that beyond the threshold of death of the body — man-soul does not die. Also — that righteous intentions, the desire not to harm anyone and do only good deeds — even in the last days of life — change the posthumous existence and the fate which will be in the next earthly life.
“We have talked a lot with you about the formation of destinies.
“And here is the understanding that the conscious aspiration to God, to Good, and Light — even at the end of life — can be very significant, helping the person to gain an understanding of how to build his or her life now!
“You can always start living in the ‘moment now’ and try to use every moment of life productively, no matter how many of such moments are ahead: many or few.
“It is important for each of us: to do the best that we can — right now! Do it with joy and full dedication, investing love and soul power in the creation of harmony, peace, beauty, purity, kindness, and wisdom!
“This is appropriate in large cases and in the smallest, at first glance! Even with our emotions — which are the states of the soul — we create what we give to this world, to all beings around. We create and give away either a space of joy and harmony — or anguish, discontent all around, condemnation, and suspicion...
“And it always depends on us!
“And all this is always known to God!
“Did you pay attention to the fact that senility, despondency, laziness, lack of will, and other manifestations of extinction can begin much earlier than the time when the matter of bodies grow old?
“Sometimes already at a very early age, there is a stop in the development of the soul. After completing studies at school, having created a family, having gained a certain ‘position in society’, or imagining oneself ‘the successful spiritual ascetics’ — people very often cease to develop themselves intensively, they lose purpose in life and live only ‘by inertia’... This is the beginning of senility.
“When the speed of the development of the soul fades away — then the body also grows old before its due time.
“There are also opposite examples, when the intensity of spiritual life does not stop even when the time of death of the body has come. There were scientists and physicians who, even in the process of the body dying, monitored what was happening, and tried to give this experience to other people.
“It is worthy before God: to share with others the wisdom and love! If life is lived this way — then old age and death of the body do not terrify!
“It makes sense to accumulate just such indestructible by death treasures of the soul! Because then the man-soul becomes composed of these qualities — Love, Wisdom, Purity, Power!”
... The young men that evening came to Master and with repentance told of everything that they understood about their vices that day.
“How, as it turns out, we quickly got used to the good and stopped appreciating what we get from You!
“How easily we forgot about the joy of labor for the sake of others!
“How inconspicuously the usual execution of exercises was deprived of emotions of love for God!
“How imperceptibly for ourselves, we began to perform meditations only in order... to be proud of our skills!
“We will try to improve!”
“Yes, it’s good that you understood this yourselves, without waiting for My reproaches or ‘blows of fate’, with which God reminds of the value of incarnate life, about the importance of heart love, without which even the most ‘prosperous life’ is empty and has not a lot of sense... And then — even the most correct techniques of meditation are not useful, but they only nurture egocentrism and self-conceit!”