Once the seed of spiritual growth/Illumination has sprouted, whether it wilts and dies, is up to each Soul’s actions thereafter.
Deciding to continue the pilgrim path, care for that seedling, nurture it until it grows into an adult plant, and finally at the end provides a nurturing Spiritual feast.
If one decides to continue on the path of pilgrimage to the end, one has assured one will live a life of pain, disappointments in others actions, and many of your own, heartache, mental anguish.
Nothing worth having, comes cheap or easy.
As Thomas Paine wrote in ‘Common Sense’ concerning fighting for freedom, that it would be hard, costly, but that That Which Is, knows what price to put on things of this world, and something as dear as freedom should not be priced cheap, or people would not respect or fight to keep Freedom, once they had obtained it.
Any soldier/Warrior, who strove to be the best he could be at his business, did not get there without a lot of pain.
Pushing the body, the mind, past the point they are used to, so both complain loudly.
But with repeated going beyond the point of protest, the point of protest by the mind / body, is moved farther down the path to perfection of ones growth and Duty as a Warrior.
The same with Spiritual growth.
It Heaven had priced spiritual Growth too cheaply, too easy to obtain, then it would not be worth the having.
It is the high cost one must pay for spiritual growth, which causes those who obtain it, to guard it jealously, from others as well as from some backsliding spiritually on ones own part.
This life for me, has been one of continuous pain.
Hell of a lot of physical pain.
If I ever went bald, the top of my head would would look like a road map of the Occupied Republic of Texas.
Scars from the top of my head, to the tips of my big toes, both which have been smashed, one split open and some bone missing.
Once had more than 200 stitches in me at one time.
Then the mental pain, emotional pain, heartache, Spiritual pain, to go along with the physical pain.
But I treasure the spiritual growth, the Illumination that pain bought, more than any physical thing on this rock, to include the whole of this rock itself.
“For what does it benefit a man, to gain the whole world, yet lose his own Soul?”
So when the pain comes, tighten the other end from your mouth, then grit your teeth, Eat the Pain, again. and again, until you are ready for that level of illumination.
Spiritual growth is like building a house.
If the foundation is sound, the rest can be repaired, maintained, it will bare the added weight of future addition, future growth.
The same for the ground floor, if it is sound, and having a sound foundation the first floor stands on, one can safely add a second story, which will be supported by both the foundation and the first story.
So Suck it up, Eat the Pain.
Never look back, except to remember a failure, from which you learned a lesson, so you do not make the same mistake again.
So courage my fellow pilgrims, bruised, battered, bleeding, yet resolute, each of us keeping our eyes on the Light at the end of the path, continue on.
The prize is worth the pain and struggle.
The Ole dog!