Meditation is a practice. Nobody can meditate perfectly.
In our world of instant gratification, we are conditioned to look for immediate results. If the results don’t show up immediately, then it’s easy to decide that it’s not worth it.
However, meditation is the antithesis (and also the remedy) to this approach.
Sunshine and Roses
It is folly to assume that if you meditate once, then everything will be perfect. No one will meditate and then awaken to find their bank account is 3 times its size, or they instantly find love, or all their woes have suddenly disappeared.
Meditation is not the bringer of instant sunshine and roses.
While yes, there is often an immediate easing and relief that occurs after you meditate, the real benefits show up over time.
Imagine going to the gym and lifting weights. Clearly it is unreasonable to expect that if you do some bicep curls that you will be able to come home, lift your refrigerator and carry it around. Similarly, we must take the same approach to meditation.
The effects of meditation show up over time, and often unexpectedly. It may be that one day you just realize that you reacted differently to your boss than you ever have, and you do so without trying. It simply happens.
Likewise, if you repeat your gym workouts, you may one day pick up your child and realize that it was a lot easier than you had remembered. How long will it take, and what that particular success will look like for you, is up to you to discover.
Meditation is a Practice
A key word with meditation is practice. It is a training for your mind. A training of awareness. It takes time for the benefits to develop.
The Summer Olympics happened nearly a year ago. The athletes who won gold medal in the 100 meters, or the marathon, did so as a result of rigorous and repetitious training. When that medal was awarded it did not mean that the victor had mastered running, and never has to do it again. If the winning athlete stopped running after his last event, his leg muscles are sure to atrophy, his lung capacity sure to decrease.
No one will ever master meditation just like no one will ever master running.
We live in a world of instant gratification. However, not only does the “instant” of instant gratification refer to how quickly something shows up, but also how quickly it disappears.
Sustainable, longer term successes require the recognition that meditation is a practice, a journey to embark on and return to, time and time again.
The rewards of meditation are the antithesis to instant gratification. They require patience and dedication. But they are there for anyone to have.