Many devotees would come to Sri Ramakrishna and openly confess to him that they are unable to progress in spiritual life because of their impure minds, etc. Sri Ramakrishna would advise them to be patient and hold on steadfastly to the methods of sadhana or spiritual striving advised by their preceptors or gurus. He would say that one has to wait for the right time. In this connection, he would narrate a beautiful example from an occurrence of daily life.
There was a youngster in a town who had developed a boil on his forearm. It was quite painful and he would visit the doctor almost every day. The doctor would examine the boil thoroughly and advise the youngster to wait.
As days passed by, the patient became more and more impatient and he would plead with the doctor to operate the boil and relieve him of his suffering since it was very painful and he was unable to bear it any longer. Yet, the doctor went on postponing it and finally one day when the boil had sufficiently become big and the accumulation of pus was visible clearly at the mouth of the boil, he made an incision and drew out all the pus, etc. The young man instantaneously felt some relief. Soon he started recovering and in a few days was completely cured.
Thus Sri Ramakrishna would say that as the devotees pursue their sadhana or spiritual striving, the process of purification begins. The spiritual aspirant has to strive hard and remove the impurities of his mind thoroughly and completely. Only when this process is complete, the Guru guides him along the spiritual path to great depths of spiritual awareness or realisation.
During sadhana in spiritual life one has to be extremely patient and carry on doggedly and with tremendous focus and purpose. At the right time, the Divine intervention takes place and then the sadhaka (learner) clearly perceives he is being lifted up.
-by Swami Shantatmananda, Sunday Guardian, 27th Dec 2014