"It's Not Working"
People who start out in meditation are seeking results.
That’s logical. We usually don’t engage in any activity
without expecting some experience or outcome. When
we first study the Buddhist teachings, words such as
“enlightenment”, “peace” and so forth are used to
show that there is some direction to the path of meditation.
Some people hold one or more of these words in mind,
as reassurance that the activity of meditation has a worthwhile
goal...however, there doesn’t seem to be much of a
timetable for reaching any goals through meditation
There is no timetable. As one gains experience in
meditation, one begins to realize, perhaps, that
“just sitting” in itself is worthwhile. Let’s say someone
has been meditating regularly, an hour a day, for a year.
For most people, no one has achieved enlightenment…or
had any great meditation experiences to speak of. One’s
life is pretty much as chaotic as a year ago. Mind still yaps
away as always…perhaps one has become increasingly
aware of the mental chatter… irritatingly so even. Far from
experiencing the peace one had hoped for, all that meditation
seems to have done is heighten mental discursiveness…
though at times one recognizes that the chatter had always
been there. One continues to practice because just sitting
is grounding, feels healthy and wholesome…not for any
superior reason. At that point, it is possible
to see that the path is the goal. It is also possible to feel
“It’s not working”, i.e. , the meditation is not living up to
one’s expectations. Or, one could realize that just sitting,
breathing, coming back to one’s breath when distracted
is a simple, organic, uncontrived practice… a simple
cultivation of awareness. The path is continuous from
the first time we sit down to the attainment of enlightenment.
What changes is what we see when we’re sitting,
how we see. That takes place over time, as has been said,
like a pool of muddy water becomes clear over time
if left undisturbed. How can that have a timetable?