It’s easy to start new things isn’t it? Whether it’s a new diet, a new exercise programme, a new hobby, a new job, or even a new relationship, starting it off is the easy bit. The tricky part is keeping it going. It’s not that we begin with the intention of later giving up. On the contrary, we often begin with a zealous enthusiasm which borders on fanatical. But so often we see that enthusiasm start to fade as we meet obstacles, as we get lazy, bored or more interested in something else. As Homer tells Bart in one of my favourite episodes of The Simpsons, “If something’s difficult to learn, son, then it’s really not worth doing.” Whilst this is undoubtedly one way to approach life, it doesn’t seem to be the most skillful way of living.
As cliché as it may sound, generally speaking the things in life which are really valuable, precious and important, take time and patience to learn. As they say, “If it was easy, they’d all be doing it.” And nothing could be closer to the truth when it come to meditation. It’s not about some kind of quick-fix self-improvement programme. It’s about a fundamental shift in the way you relate to your thoughts and feelings. Whilst that can sound a little overwhelming, it’s done by repeating the exercise little and often. Training the mind in this way, we slowly build up a very stable sense of awareness that starts to filter through to the rest of our life. And the more frequently you practice being aware, the more beneficial the meditation becomes.