Driving on a stormy night to an uncertain destination is a daunting experience for all of us. It’s also a perfect analogy for the challenges on our spiritual journey.

First, we get in our car and are glad for the moment to be out of the storm. (This is our first step on the path to God, in which we have a longing to escape the turmoil of life and find peace of mind.)

Next, we’re uncertain about driving in the storm. We even begin to question if getting to the destination is worth it, so we decide to cancel the trip. (Some new seekers lose heart before they begin, and decide that the unknown destination of finding God and the demands of the trip are too much. They quit before they’ve even begun.)

Then, if we’re plucky enough, we summon up the courage to start the car, turn on the headlights, and check our GPS unit to get an idea of where we’re going. (We generate the initial energy to start the journey, then put out the positive energy that enables us to find a true guide—the guru—who can show us where we’re headed and how to get there.)

So the journey begins. Since the headlights enable us to see only a little distance ahead, we proceed slowly and cautiously. We hope that the road will become clearer as we continue driving. (Each step on the spiritual path is revealed as we approach it. The techniques and teachings come into focus as we proceed.)

At this point, the storm seems to be letting up, and we begin to relax and enjoy the journey. As we draw closer to our destination, streetlights appear to guide us, the road gets wider, and the signs for our journey’s end are more frequent. (As we continue towards our spiritual goal, the dark karma that obscured our way seems to lift. Our inner path to God becomes more brightly illumined, and reaching Him begins to seem possible.)

Finally, as we approach our destination, we begin to speed up, because we see that we’re nearing the journey’s end. With a sigh of relief, we realize that the goal that for so long seemed obscure is now familiar and welcoming. (Though the spiritual journey is seemingly filled with perils and uncertainty, as we continue the momentum builds. We realize that there was always an Unseen Passenger in the back seat silently guiding our way to our true home in God.)

take that step

To complete the journey, we must find the faith to trust that we are never alone on the spiritual path, and that God’s grace is always with us. But we must also have the courage to take the next step, and then the next, until we arrive at our goal.

Once Yoganandaji was correcting a disciple for some behavior that needed changing. The man tried to justify himself by answering, “That’s easy for you to say—you’re a master.”

Yoganandaji replied with great force: “And what do you think made me a master?” In other words, it’s by facing our challenges and overcoming them that we attain soul freedom. The journey may seem dark and daunting, but if we take each step in front of us, with God’s grace, we will get there.

Master, who has the soul of a spiritual warrior, wrote a wonderful poem, “My Soul Is Marching On.” It’s filled with the determination and power to reach the journey’s end. As you read these stanzas excerpted from the poem, try to visualize him in armor of gleaming light holding a flaming sword to guide us forward:

The flowers bloomed, then hid in gloom,
The bounty of the trees did cease;
Colossal men have come and gone,
But still my soul is marching on!

Darkness, death, and failures vied;
To block my path they fiercely tried.
My fight with jealous Nature’s strong,
But still my soul is marching on!

Take the next step with determination, friend. Marching bravely we will reach—each one of us—the journey’s end.

Nayaswami Devi