Ascent - 上升 - Shàngshēng
the divine path is awfully steep.
We may stumble along the way,
but we must not have fear,
to get up, and rise, again.
~inspired by Deng Ming-Dao
Spiritual cultivation is a required daily activity. No matter how much we may achieve in one day, we must let the momentum carry into the next. Progress is often so subtle that we may feel our efforts thus far have been futile, making it hard to rise each morning and try again with the same unabashed enthusiasm. Yet this is exactly what we must do.
If we possess the benefit of talent, guidance, and serendipitous circumstance, then the majority of our attention has been applied to daily efforts. No person leapt from Earth to Heaven in a single bound. Spirituality is a process of steady climbing, like the difficult journey to the mountain temple. The number of steps is nearly incalculable, the mind losing track of the number through the monotonous hike. It will take a long time to reach our destination, and we must content ourselves with the view along the way. The panoramic experience cannot be reproduced in one's heart, unless it is allowed in. We must hold onto the allure acquired during the climb, such that if we fall, we will instinctively pick ourselves back up and get on the trail again.
Our success in our spiritual life is not determined by spectacular/miraculous events, but through daily devotion. The iron will, composed of deep sincerity, maintains our ascent.