Writers say that for every 10 pages written, one page may be worth reading. Thus a good writer must be willing to sacrifice the 90% trash to get to the 10% gold.
Everything worthwhile takes time to cultivate. One of my favorite teaching points from the Gita is the importance of discerning lasting happiness from a temporary dopamine rush.
This discernment is actually pretty simple. A desire that requires any amount of skill will have positive impacts. This is due not to the fulfillment of the desire itself but to the lasting skill learned along the way.
Conversely, a desire requiring little or no effort to achieve creates no lasting happiness. This is because desire itself is an illusion. It is never the things which fulfill us. It is the process.
Be wary of any habit of yours that satiates an uncomfortable itch. This is often a compulsion dressed in the mask of desire and it cannot create happiness. It only reinforces unconscious behavior.
Food is an all too easy example. Food that requires forethought, time, intentionality and planning tastes better every time.
A less obvious example is Meditation. Meditation is like writing. If you want to get something worthwhile, then you need to be willing to sacrifice 90% to get to the 10% gold.
Warning: Most people find it difficult to bring themselves to spend 1 minute a day meditating. So it is a tall order to meditate for enough time(s) in the day to be able to metaphorically throw out 90%.
You can meditate for one minute a day. And it will definitely make your life better. You can also write one page a day. And you will definitely become a better writer. In neither case will the writing or meditation experience become historically significant.
What incrementally small amounts of writing and meditation will do for anyone is help maintain sanity, increase self-awareness and provide a foundation. It builds grey matter in the brain and the willpower to eventually be able to sit for longer periods of time.
People who are new to meditation hear things like, “In meditation, the mind becomes still.”
Well, ideally the mind becomes still.
The mind does become still in true meditation. That will not happen through five minutes. It could possibly, not probably, happen after a lifetime of devotion.
Devotion means above everything else that I want to know mySelf and The Self. Devotion is demonstrating the willingness to meditate every day. It is holding firmly to integrity in every action.
If I want to experience bliss in meditation, I must try several times a day, every day for all the years of my life.
Baba Hari Dass says, "Everyone seeks an easy, short, comfortable way to attain God. One who wants to compete in the Olympics practices for eight to twelve hours every day. How then can it be easy for a person who wants to attain the highest goal in life?"
-Everyday Peace: Letters for Life p123
A regular day is spent in and out of work, egoism, distraction, hobbies and meditation. Discouraged by my lack of connection, I come to the meditation space and beg God to help me concentrate, to help me remember Him and to constantly stay connected with what is important in life.
Then I sit and wait until that sweet peace comes... for two minutes.
All that time and all that attention for two minutes of bliss. And those two precious minutes are completely worth it. And it all started with 5 minutes a day.