Incremental Progress

Growth and development from meditation is slow and steady with progress usually measured in weeks rather than hours. Like many activities, practice makes perfect, but if you don’t practice, you’re not going to improve. A new meditator interested in Vipassana is presented with the massive challenges of completing a silent 10 day meditation course to learn the technique properly and to sit 2 hours a day once they know the technique. My western mind thought that overcoming these challenges would lead to some big reward, but the reality is that they’re just small steps on the giant path of life.

It’s like completing a hard math class in college. Every lecture you feel like you’re in over your head. You bust your butt on homework and preparing for tests. You score poorly on a test and want to drop the class but you decide to stick with it. You have this major push for the final exam, and then it’s over. After a short break, you start a new semester and do it all over again.

I think that’s what Vipassana is like. Each day of a 10 day course feels like a struggle. Every few days you think about quitting, but you struggle through it and make it to the end. Then it’s over. It’s not like life is easy forever more. Instead, you get to decide whether to continue swimming against the current or not. Every day you’re working hard to get to a better place, and you do, but each step is just one step on a very long path.

One thought on “Incremental Progress

  1. Years ago, I read a biography of Steve Jobs that took its title from a Zen adage that Jobs was fond of: “The journey is the reward.” That saying has always appealed to me and clearly speaks to the dynamic you describe.

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