When you walk past the building site of a new large building in the city, and peer through the window of the siding walls protecting the site, for months on end all you will see is a hole in the ground.
The hole gets deeper and larger. Every time you walk past, still there is only this huge hole in the ground. There is always activity in the hole, massive machinery moving dirt around. It seems the building itself will never manifest.
Then one day the building is there, shooting skywards and in no time it is complete.
The time taken to excavate the hole always seems inordinately long compared to the time taken to erect the building.
Yet this is the first principle of all construction: establish a solid foundation. The “hole in the ground”, the foundation, is the most important part of every construction, for upon it rests the entire edifice.
So it is with our meditation practice.
The concentration exercises we do in order to gain control of our minds – the breathing and counting, focusing on a candle or flower, mantras, creative visualisations – these are the “hole in the ground”, the unattractive but absolutely indispensible foundation upon which will stand all our future spiritual experience and accomplishments.
While this phase of our spiritual practice may sometimes seem dull and repetitive, yet it is of supreme importance for our spiritual life to blossom to its full potential.
Every day we practise our concentration and meditation, we lay another brick in the foundation of our future spiritual palace. Every day we do not practise, one brick is removed from that foundation and the whole structure becomes weaker.
When patience, determination and unshakeable resolve are constant companions of our spiritual quest, our perfection is destined.