Nearly every sangha from time to time experiences a wave of inertia, which is actively supported by those pupils called the “old soldiers” (and by other less complimentary names). With the aid of various false analogies, propounded with enormous condescension, they try to dissipate all enthusiasm and reduce the whole sangha to their own state of apathy.
On one such occasion, one such person was holding forth to a little group having their morning tea break on a verandah overlooking the garden. He waved a hand at the garden. “Think of the seeds,” he said magisterially. “They are sown deep in the ground, and nothing more is seen of them for quite a time. But then the first sprout appears, and a little later the plant or whatever it is. Do you remember when you were very small children, how impatient you used to be, waiting for the seeds to show themselves? You expected something to happen next day or, at most, next week. Some of you may even have dug them up, to see what was happening. How ridiculous it is to the adult, though naturally to the child without experience it seems quite natural.
“Well, it’s the same with inner training too. People are far too anxious to see some results, far too anxious. They should understand that once the seeds have been sown, it is a question of waiting, just waiting: impatience for results does nothing to bring them about.”
One of the gardeners, an experienced yogi, was passing just below the verandah. “That’s right, isn’t it now?” the speaker appealed to him for support.
“Yes, that’s right. No use expecting seeds to come up the next day, or the next week. But still,” he continued, with a negligible glance toward the “old soldier,” “if it was ten years ago that you sowed them, and you’ve never watered the place and you’ve been walking over it, and then you let a wall collapse on it and didn’t clear away the rubble for quite some weeks—well, then, I should think, it might be worth digging them up and sowing some new ones.”