“It is preferable for man to go through sufferings rather than spend an easy, luxurious life; it is preferable for man to stay all day in the vineyard, to get blisters on his hands and to get his face sunburned rather than have no blisters and his face remain fair, not touched by the Sun. One who works at the Divine Vineyard will always have a share in it. Nature likes hard-working, diligent people while it turns its back on lazy people. … If you work, nature will help you and God will assist you.” ~Biensa Douno
If you would believe the people currently running most countries in the world, you would believe that greed and laziness are great virtues. Likewise, if you believe most in the medical community, you will hide as much as possible from the sun that is out to get you. Both of those beliefs, however, are wrong, especially for spiritual people.
This doesn’t mean you have to suffer in the sense that is often depicted in movies where saints could only achieve enlightenment after suffering greatly by prosecution, painful disease, or the death of loved ones. While it is true that such events can trigger one to began searching for spiritual truth, that doesn’t mean such extreme suffering is necessary.
On the other hand, if you think that just closing your eyes and visualizing yourself as an enlightened master will make it happen, you are also wrong. Thinking about it and visualizing it can be helpful. The most important thing, however, is working at it. Like everything else in the realm of matter, things spiritual must be earned.
Suppose one day you are walking down a hiking trail where there a re few people. You come upon a man trapped in a hole waist deep. He calls to you and asks you to help him get out of the hole. You look more closely and see that nothing is holding him in the hole. He is not paralyzed, or otherwise unable to help himself. Yet he stays there waiting for help when he could climb out of the hole himself with little difficulty. What would you think of that man? Not much, I would think. Yet the attitude of many with regard to spiritual growth and development is similar.
We are trapped in the “hole” of the material universe. And a true hellhole it is if you truly pay attention to what is going on. Yet when it come to escaping that world, we find the following:
- Some accept that there is a greater, better, spiritual world beyond the physical, but think noting needs to be done to get there.
- Some think that instead of showing us what we must each do to save ourselves, Jesus saved all of us at once, so we need not lift a pale, pudgy finger.
- Others believe that just wishing for it, forming a picture of it in their minds, will make it happen.
- Many simply don’t care. They are content with rolling around in the mud and blood of the physical plane.
None of those attitudes was ever taught by any great spiritual or religious leader. Nor were they taught by the great philosophers or prophets. Nearly all such people emphasized the need for work Hard work. Steady work. Continuing to work in the face of adversity, illness, and other difficulties. None ever said we could just sit on our butts and they would do it for us. When Jesus said “follow me,” he meant that we should do as he was doing, not sit and watch him do it and claim that he had done it all for us. Spiritual work is not just allowed, it is required of us.
Douno chooses an interesting metaphor when he talks about working in the ‘Divine Vineyard”. We can look at the symbology for vineyards in general to get an idea of what he means.
Grapes are often symbolic of abundance and health. In the ancient world, water was rarely clean enough to drink. Wine, however, could be drank without getting sick. Jesus once referred to Himself as the grapevine of the Father (John 15). Wine made from grapes also has spiritual symbology.
Wine is used in the greatest of the Chistian sacraments. It was also considered sacred before the Christian era. Numerologists say that bread and wine together symbolizes spiritual rebirth.
In Celtic, and other early groups, vines in general symbolized connections and how everything is interwoven.
A vineyard, as a place where the grape vines grow, is an ideal place for the spiritual person to do spiritual work in. That is especially when it is a symbolic vineyard. This Divine Vineyard where spiritual work is done is the groups of believers and seekers trying to gain personal enlightenment, and also helping others do the same. That is the type of spiritual work Mr. Douno is talking about.