There is a story from the Puranas, of a king who was especially fond of his pet deer. Always he thought of this deer, to such an extent that in his next lifetime, he was born as a deer.

The moral of this story is simple: what we focus on, we become. Our concentration and meditation are magnetic forces drawing the object of our focus towards us. When we look at someone smiling, we smile and glow with happiness; dwelling on a sad face, gloom descends and we sadden.

We are in Florence and our destination is Rome. There are two trains on the platform – one is heading south to Rome and the other, north to Milan. It seems an obvious choice – of course we will get on the train to Rome … yet how often, we deliberately board the train heading in the opposite direction to our professed destination!

We meditate for peace, love, light, oneness, simplicity, purity and humility. Yet our meditation can be completely undone if afterwards, we engage with anything that arouses fear, doubt, confusion, insecurity, pride, resentment, jealousy or anger. We have to be careful at every moment of what we do, what we read and watch, who we speak with and especially of what and how we think, for at every moment we are on a train to Rome, or to Milan – we cannot be heading in both directions at once.

If we are going to invite or indulge in negative thoughts, emotions or activities, then our meditation is simply a waste of time. Our spiritual journey does not stop when we end our meditation; it continues at every moment with every choice we make.

Like a sprinter, do not glance sideways and never look back. Always face your goal!