Don’t be afraid to do some work. One of the most common things I hear is that, “I do some of that (meditation)” or “yeah, I meditate…just not regularly”. Your life will yield the results you want only when you put in the prerequisite effort. I do not say this judgmentally and I am not saying you are a “bad” person for missing your goals.
Rather, it is a completely human and understandable experience.
But let’s be clear about one thing at least: half-hearted efforts yield half-attained goals. I have had so many students approach and begin their practice with a sincere desire to improve their lives. I have no reason at all to doubt their sincerity. The problem is that it does not come easily. Therefore, they get frustrated and stop. Just today, after reading a quote, a student contacted me to say that he is really working on “responding well” but doesn’t have the discipline.
This seems to be a built-in guarantee of failure.
There is no such thing as the mind that cannot become disciplined and in the moment. However, there is no mind that can achieve this without making it a priority. You must approach your practice and becoming the best version of yourself with a desperation for success. It is only through this commitment that you will begin to see any real improvements. Once you see these, you will not stop.
Think of the last diet you “kinda” did. Or maybe the last workout program you half-heartedly embarked upon. Did you get the results you desired or those that are commiserate with your efforts? Every time I, personally, have done something halfway, the results were exactly what you would expect.
Becoming the best version of yourself has got to be the most important and vital task you undertake.
How else will you be able to live up to your potential and be the best mother, father, friend, or anything else that you can be, when you are still sorting yourself out and confused?
To like a quote, to have listened to a talk, to have read a book…do not mean that you “own” that knowledge. Only truth that is your own can be alive. It is through diligent effort and doing the work that you can make these universal truths your own. I know this goes against our “quick-fix” society. We want “5-minute abs”. We want a date, right now. We want material things and get angry and frustrated when faced with the amount of work necessary to attain them. It is ok. We have all been there. I am there in many aspects of my life right now! I admit that, so you don’t think I am casting stones from a glass house.
I also know that you have the potential for greatness, if you’d only believe in yourself and do what must be done.
We are all like seeds. If planted and properly cared for, we will bloom into beautiful manifestations of our true nature, locked away in that little seed. If we scatter the seeds on rocks, they will not grow. However, and this is perhaps even more important, if we plant them with great care, we still aren’t guaranteed of their success.
Imagine that you plant a seed and cannot wait for it to bloom. So even though you lovingly planted and watered, you become impatient and dig it out the next day to check its progress. Unsurprisingly, there is none. So, you replant and repeat. In a couple days, you will have a seed that is as dead as if scattered on a rock. Be patient with yourselves and be compassionate but PLANT THE SEED. Trust in the process and stick to it.
Don’t be like the eager gardener who destroys what he loves by prematurely checking its progress and comparing it to others.
Once, Sifu was asked about the difference in “free will” and “destiny”. His answer was simple and profound: “Your destiny is, ‘you will make it’. Your free will means you get to decide how long it will take you to get there”. You have everything you need within you and I believe this with all of my heart. I know you can become a better version of yourself, even without ever having met you. I believe in you and what you can become. Believe in yourself as well. Stick to your practice and give it more than a passing thought or “like”. You will be astounded by what a little consistent watering and care will do to help you bloom into the person you want to become.