The path to purifying our minds is not an easy path. The following is from the Ofudesaki (Tip of the Writing Brush).
Over steep mountains, through tangles of thorns, along narrow ledges and
through brandished swords, if you come. 1-47
Yet a head a sea of flames, and a deep abyss,
you will arrive at a narrow path 1-48
We can not just promise God that we have purified our minds of greed, arrogance, miserliness, covetousness and self love to receive God’s blessings. Suffering and illness continue to bombard us. Some will say that these inconveniences are from karma from previous lives; others will say that they are God’s test to determine our resolve.
These challenges or sufferings also brings upon negative thoughts, which we can act or not act upon. If we continue to act on them, these negative thoughts continue to emerge from our minds; but if we calm our minds and not act on them, our negative thoughts eventually subside. This is God or nature’s process of purification of our minds.
When our minds become pure, we become spirited and we are ready for the next stage of the narrow path. The following is from the Ofudesaki:
After following the narrow path step by step, you will come to a path.
This is the trustworthy main path (path of joy).
The narrow path is the stage where one begins to share God’s truth with others. God tells us that true joy is shared joy. God gives us a prayer in this stage that will help mankind sweep evil from his or her mind. This is the path that brings people to our places of worship. God tells us that the path to salvation is difficult; but God promises that if we follow this path, there will be eternal joy.