"Training the Mind is just like training a water buffalo."
"In every age, on every occasion, in every turn of fortune, in the field of action and in the stillness of solitude, a man should therefore have a single Aim before him on which his mind’s eye may be set and it should shine as if it were - the pole star in his mental firmament.
To him it should be like the majestic lordship of the Supreme Father, like the abiding Grace of the Great Mother, like the ever flowing sweet Spring of the Eternal Beloved; it may also be like the impersonal but self-conscious Bliss of the Divine Being; it may even be like the hidden Essence of his own soul.
It is in the direction of this Supreme-Objective that a man should always be consciously striving; through action, through knowledge and through love.
In whatever condition a man may happen to find himself at the moment of awakening he should bear in mind that his path really stretches out before him from there; he has only to exert himself to the best of his powers and proceed along the path. If it is true that a man through his limited action cannot reach upto the Goal, it is also true that no effort, however insignificant, goes in vain if It is sincere. Every genuine effort, however imperceptible in its littleness, has a value of its own as a means to the End; and where It is rightly put forth, this End is bound to be realized in its own time." (from Matri Vani - Words of Sri Anandamayi Ma)
The Grace of God is literally confined by our choice to receive it. Its effect is limited by the intensity of our efforts to absorb it. Sri Ramana Maharshi verified this truth with certainty to all who came to him. The most profound example of this is seen when in the presence of Bhagavan:
“The conversation turned upon the question as to whether Iswara Prasad (Divine Grace) is necessary for the attaining of samrajya (universal dominion) or whether a jiva’s (individual’s) honest and strenuous efforts to attain it cannot of themselves lead him to That from whence is no return to life and death.
“The Maharshi with an ineffable smile which lit up His Holy Face and which was all-pervasive, shining upon the coterie around him, replied in tones of certainty and with the ring of truth: “Divine Grace is essential for Realization. It leads one to God-realization. But such Grace is vouchsafed only to him who is a true devotee or a yogin, who has striven hard and ceaselessly on the path towards freedom.”
(from Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi #29)
Anandamayi Ma and Ramana Maharshi on Spiritual Striving and Attainment