The first few weeks and months of a beginner’s meditation practice are the time we are most likely to give up.
Sitting still and attempting to quieten the mind can be a frustrating and seemingly fruitless task, and it is easy to imagine that one is deriving no benefit from it. One hasn’t yet developed the momentum of habit, nor the powerful motivation of deeper fulfilling experiences.
The whole exercise can seem both tedious and pointless.
Meanwhile, there is the mountain of pressure from a million other tasks and distractions, which invariably appear more pressing and essential right now than sitting down to fritter away time in further fruitless frustration.
Beginning meditators are much like the baby turtles who hatch eagerly in their thousands on the beach, and are immediately beset by predators on every side in their fledgling journey to the sea, with only a few getting to experience the joys of swimming.
We have spent an entire lifetime consciously building up our minds to be more and more complex, sophisticated and cluttered. And now we expect them to be silent in an instant? In your dreams!
Everything takes time. A diamond takes much longer to form than a lump of coal.
The beginner meditator needs the determination, patience and unwavering faith of a baby.
How many times does a baby fall flat on its face before mastering the skill of walking? Does it ever occur to the baby to give up?
Just as the capacity to walk is latent in the baby, and only needs practise to be manifested, so the capacity to meditate is inherent in everyone.
Once the baby can walk, there is no chance of reverting to crawling to get about. That would be absurd.
Determination, patience, faith. Never give up!