The other day while browsing through a bookshop, I came across this book - ‘Shortcuts to God’ by Gerard G. Jampolsky, M.D. The book had an interesting cover, rather tongue-in-cheek.
It touched upon a memory.
“Why are many of the holy sites so inaccessible?” as a child I had once grumbled, disconcerted at having to trudge a long way up to the Vaishno Devi temple. “It is because the saints wanted to be left undisturbed in their quest for God. So they settled far away from the crowded, noisy cities. Also, we sometimes have to go through a little bit of pain to reach something good,” my mother had replied. A few years later, the Vayudoot (flight) service was started so that people, who did not wish to walk the walk, could conveniently visit the pilgrimage site. It was a shortcut.
Today we seek painless, shortcut solutions to everything in life – be it a daily chore, a relationship, a pilgrimage or even a quest for self-improvement. But do we really need a shortcut in our attempt to reach and touch the Divine? Is God really so far away from you and me? In this context a beautiful saying from Rilke comes to mind.
"When I saw others straining towards God I did not understand it, for though I may have had him less than they did, there was none blocking the way between him and me and I could reach his heart easily. It is upto him after all to have us; our part consists almost solely in letting him grasp us."
Maybe there are times when shortcuts are not required, simply because the actual path is not a difficult one at all. Maybe if we just open a window, the light can enter...and that will be enough.