One hundred and fifty years ago there was a certain spiritual Master in India who made a resolution at the beginning of each year as to how he would deal with his disciples. In this way each year the Master would try a different approach to expedite the progress of his disciples. He would follow his declaration faithfully for the entire year. One New Year's Day the Master announced that this would be the year of self-transcendence. He gave a very inspiring talk about transcending limitations:
"The New Year means new hope, new determination, new realisation and new manifestation. Every day we can have new hope, new determination, new realisation and new manifestation, but unfortunately it does not usually happen in that way. So at least once a year we should find inner encouragement and bring forth new achievements, new reality. Such being the case, I wish to say that today we are getting a golden opportunity not only to transcend our limitations, but also to transform them. While aspiring, we eventually transcend our achievements. When we transcend our achievements, we transcend our limitations as well. Every second we can achieve and transcend; and while we are transcending ourselves, our limitations can easily be transformed as well. In this way we gradually come to know more and more of our divine reality."
After his talk the Master asked his disciples to come up one by one for his spiritual blessing. After he had blessed them, a close disciple of the Master asked, "Master, can you tell each one of us individually what limitations we should transcend?"
The Master said, "My spiritual children, we have only one limitation and that limitation is the feeling that God belongs to somebody else and not to us. We have learnt: 'God belongs to him; He is partial to him, not to me.' That is our only limitation. When we have that kind of attitude, we feel that we ourselves are the most useless limitation. But now let us try to feel that God belongs to others and that He belongs to us as well. Each individual has to have the faith that he will eventually feel the constant Presence of God. When we have this feeling, all our limitations can be surmounted. So from now on, all of you please feel that God belongs to you. If you claim God as your very own then there can be no limitations."
Suddenly one young man stood up. "Master, what can I do? I have been your disciple for ten years, but I still feel that I am all limitation."
"First of all," said the Master, "it is wrong to feel that you are an unworthy disciple or that you are my worst disciple. These feelings are not good. There are two ways to ruin ourselves. One way is to feel that we are great, very great, by far the best; everybody is inferior to us. This is one kind of ego; self-aggrandisement. The other way to ruin ourselves is to feel that we are hopeless, we are useless; everybody is far superior to us. By feeling that we are good for nothing, we get a kind of subtle pleasure. By feeling that everybody is at our feet, that we have surpassed everyone, in this way also we get a kind of pleasure. These are the two ways in which the ego operates. One way we feed our self-aggrandisement and the other way we starve our dream and reality. Both ways are bad."
"Then how should I feel, Master?" asked the boy.
"The positive approach is 'I am God's son. Now it is up to me to please Him in His own way and it is up to Him to manifest His Reality in and through me.' If you have this kind of attitude, then you will never have a feeling of inferiority and you will never think that you are my worst disciple. Who is best? Who is worst? God alone knows. But by feeling that you are by far the best or the worst, you do not gain anything. If you aggrandise your ego, then you are doing something wrong. And if you deliberately strike your own reality, then you are also doing something wrong."
"Oh, Master," said the boy, "you have hundreds of disciples, so it is not easy to feel that I am a chosen disciple of yours."
"From now on," the Master said, "please feel that you are God's son, and that out of millions and billions of people on earth you have been awakened. You are following our path. Whenever one follows a spiritual path, that person is supremely chosen. Here the feeling of unworthiness has no value. All of you are following our path. You are chosen disciples for our path. And for you, our path is the one that is destined to take you to God."