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The Myth of Striving

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. Today, I'm going to explore the myth of striving. There's an old Zen story about this. A young, but dedicated Zen student approached his teacher one day and he asked him, "If I work really, really hard and diligently, how long will it take for me to find enlightenment?" The master thought about this for a moment and he replied, "Ten years." The student then said, "But what if I work really, really hard? Like I apply myself to learn fast. How long then?" The master replied, "Hmm.

Well, twenty years." "But what if I give it, you know, every single ounce of effort I can muster. I'll work incredibly hard at it. I'll give up everything else. How long then?" asked the student. "Thirty years," replied the master.

"But I don't understand," said the student, "Each time I say I'm going to work harder, you say it's going to take me longer. Why is that?" The master replied, "When you have your eyes on the goal, you're not really present on the path." So this story points to one of the biggest obstacles, I think, we come across in mindfulness practice and that is that we tend to get so caught up in the idea of trying to find our fulfillment in the future, that we're rarely fully present in any given moment. So we always tend to have our eyes on some goal in the distance. And then, you know, we're trying to get someone, somewhere else, we're trying to become something more or better, fix things, solve things, thinking that once we get there, we'll finally be okay and happy. And so, you know, you're here, but you're always wanting to be there waiting to live.

You know, whether it's waiting until you're thin enough, waiting till the next holiday, waiting until all of your problems are sorted out or waiting until you're in enlightened. Waiting until you finish this daily mindfulness so you can get on with the rest of your day. So there's often this subtle sense, this kind of tension inside. A tension that comes from wanting to be there. Right? So when not quite here.

This is the basic habit. The mind is projecting into the future. You know, with this idea of what we need to do before we can really be present and happy. So the key to our practice is really to let go of that myth of striving so that we can actually finally fully relax into this present moment, the aliveness of the richness of now. So we're going to explore this a little bit more in today's meditation.

But you know, also in daily life, just when we're getting caught up in striving, seeing if you can let that mindset go and practice being present on the path of your life, moment by moment and step by step. As always, thank you for your practice. And let's settle in now for today's meditation.

Melli O'Brien

4.8

The Myth of Striving

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. Today, I'm going to explore the myth of striving. There's an old Zen story about this. A young, but dedicated Zen student approached his teacher one day and he asked him, "If I work really, really hard and diligently, how long will it take for me to find enlightenment?" The master thought about this for a moment and he replied, "Ten years." The student then said, "But what if I work really, really hard? Like I apply myself to learn fast. How long then?" The master replied, "Hmm.

Well, twenty years." "But what if I give it, you know, every single ounce of effort I can muster. I'll work incredibly hard at it. I'll give up everything else. How long then?" asked the student. "Thirty years," replied the master.

"But I don't understand," said the student, "Each time I say I'm going to work harder, you say it's going to take me longer. Why is that?" The master replied, "When you have your eyes on the goal, you're not really present on the path." So this story points to one of the biggest obstacles, I think, we come across in mindfulness practice and that is that we tend to get so caught up in the idea of trying to find our fulfillment in the future, that we're rarely fully present in any given moment. So we always tend to have our eyes on some goal in the distance. And then, you know, we're trying to get someone, somewhere else, we're trying to become something more or better, fix things, solve things, thinking that once we get there, we'll finally be okay and happy. And so, you know, you're here, but you're always wanting to be there waiting to live.

You know, whether it's waiting until you're thin enough, waiting till the next holiday, waiting until all of your problems are sorted out or waiting until you're in enlightened. Waiting until you finish this daily mindfulness so you can get on with the rest of your day. So there's often this subtle sense, this kind of tension inside. A tension that comes from wanting to be there. Right? So when not quite here.

This is the basic habit. The mind is projecting into the future. You know, with this idea of what we need to do before we can really be present and happy. So the key to our practice is really to let go of that myth of striving so that we can actually finally fully relax into this present moment, the aliveness of the richness of now. So we're going to explore this a little bit more in today's meditation.

But you know, also in daily life, just when we're getting caught up in striving, seeing if you can let that mindset go and practice being present on the path of your life, moment by moment and step by step. As always, thank you for your practice. And let's settle in now for today's meditation.

Melli O'Brien

4.8

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