There once lived a king who loved to entertain and uplift his subjects.

At the heart of his capital city lay the Royal Park, crowning jewel of the kingdom, a beautiful landscaped expanse with playing fields, games areas, a terraced amphitheatre, botanical gardens, a zoo of exotic animals, aviary, herbarium, scented floral walkways, a meditation grove and interconnected ornamental ponds and water features.

At its centre, the king was inspired to create something unique: a glorious white fountain, which would flow from a pond of milk!

Milk was very expensive, so the king brilliantly decreed: since his subjects loved and enjoyed the Royal Park so much, each family would bring one jug of milk to pour into the pond, thus sharing the cost and also the satisfaction and glory of helping create such a masterpiece. A mass public celebration was planned: the pond would be filled throughout the night, and the fountain switched on at dawn to everyone’s collective amazement and delight.

Alas, everyone had the same thought: in the dark, no-one will notice if I bring a jug of water instead of precious milk. In the morning when the ceremonial trumpet sounded, there arose – an insipid plume of plain water.

Instead of festivities and joy, massive disappointment dissipated into sombre reflection.

In our private meditation at home as well as group meditations, it is so easy to feel it will be OK if I offer a token, dilute effort today in lieu of my A-game. No-one will know and no-one will mind…

Yet our own heart always knows, and feels the consequences. If something is worth doing, it is worth doing well. If you want the best result, never offer plain water. Whenever you sit to meditate, strive to always bring your best, full-cream milk.