There was once a Perfect Master who was walking along a rough country path which wound its way between and under trees of many varieties. The Master came upon a man seated under one of the trees in the act of meditation.
The man, becoming aware of such a strong spiritual presence, opened his eyes. He immediately reacted to this advanced being with a cry of, "Oh, Master, will you tell me how many more lives I must pass through before realizing God?"
The Master looked at him and replied, "It will be four more lives before you reach your goal." The yogi reacted badly to this, complaining that it was too long; especially as he was working so hard to obtain his freedom.
The Master then continued his walk through the trees. After a time he came across another yogi who also opened his eyes and asked the same question as to the amount of time that must pass before he would receive God-realization.
On being told that he had about 300 more years before this longed-for event, he also grumbled, but was not as aggressive as the first yogi had been.
Again the Master walked on, and again a meditating yogi asked the same question.
The Master looked at the tree under which the man was sitting, and saw that it was covered with thousands of small leaves and then replied, "You will have as many lives as there are leaves on this tree."
The yogi reacted by joyfully saying, "Oh, thank you Master, thank you; it is such a wonderfully short time."
Immediately at such submission to the will of God, this yogi received the longed-for realization.
A great deal of patience is required for God realisation.
(Still Dancing with Love, pp. 7-8, Margaret Craske, 1990 © sheriar press, inc).