We cannot eat most delicious food every day – yet we still have to eat every day to sustain ourselves on earth. Some days we may be fortunate to dine at the finest restaurant; while on others we have to subsist on dry crackers. If that’s all there is, we’ll eat those dry crackers and be sustained by them, and see what tomorrow brings.

Sometimes we sit to meditate and everything flows effortlessly: the mind sits still like an obedient dog and our heart opens spontaneously as a fragrant flower in Spring. We are engulfed in peace, all is calm and clear, each breath is suffused with delight, the entire world is perfect. These are our most delicious meals: savour them!

Other times, try as we might, nothing works for us: the mind is all over the place, our heart nowhere to be found. The world is all confusion. These are our dry cracker days: endure them…

Our consciousness is subject to the influence of many forces, internal and external – thoughts, feelings, desires, responsibilities, incidents and accidents, pressures and stresses, worries and anxieties – our own and those of others around us and the greater world beyond – over which we have no control. Our consciousness is the sum of all the forces affecting us – consciously and unconsciously – at any moment.

To rise above the influence of these forces and circumstances – to become master of our consciousness – is precisely why ne need to meditate. Meditation is our pathway to self-awareness and self-control. Until we are truly expert meditators, we remain enthralled by these forces and influences.

In our present human condition, such fluctuations are absolutely normal and inevitable.

The secret is to cherish both dry crackers and delicious food, for they equally serve and guarantee our progress.