In his book on the Shaykh Al-Alawi, A Sufi Saint of the Twentieth Century, Martin Lings comments on one of the Shaykh’s aphorisms: “To demand increase showeth ignorance in a disciple.” According to Lings, this saying refers among other things to

the ignorance of supposing that things of the Spirit can be gauged like the things of this world, and that [a faqir] himself can judge whether or not he is receiving increase. A disciple of one of the Shaykh’s disciples [Lings is referring to himself in his own relation to Schuon] once complained to his Master: “I have regularly invoked the Supreme Name for more than ten years, but without any result.’ His Master replied: ‘If you could make in one moment all the spiritual progress you have gradually made in these ten years, it would cause a mortal rupture in your soul” (p. 209).

It is always a mistake to become distracted by the image in the rear-view mirror of our spiritual lives. Keep your eyes on the road.