Imagine a sculpture
You work on every day.
If you stop, the beauty
Will slowly go away.
What if you were at work on a beautiful sculpture but your material reverted or decayed if you ever ceased to progress? This is the unfortunate nature of spiritual efforts.
You can never stop trying to purify yourself, improve yourself, strengthen yourself, and cultivate the sacred that is inside you. If you do well one day, that is good. But if you cease your efforts, you will slide backwards. That is why you must strive on every level, from the physical to the mental to the spiritual. Your vigilance must never flag. Your determination must never waver.
Paradoxically, there is nothing to achieve. It is only our minds that convince ourselves that we must do something. We are already pure, already sacred. But we live in a polluted world, we have egotistical thoughts that constantly divide us from the true Tao, and we cannot remain forever in a pure state and still function in the world. If you attained the higher levels of Tao, you would appear to an outsider as if in a trance, and it would be impossible to interact with others. So if you are trying to be spiritual in today’s world, you must never cease striving to keep yourself pure. Once you are not with Tao, you must constantly struggle with the impurity of the world.