Q: I feel like I’m constantly failing in my meditation practice. How can I be more successful with my meditation?
A: I would like to be known for this actually—everybody says, “I’m not good at meditation” or so many people say, “It doesn’t work for me” or “I’m not successful with it.” There is only one way to measure the success of your meditation: whether you did it or not. Everything else is irrelevant. Your experience, or the nature of your experience, or what you think your experience should be, or even is, is not the measure. You will experience whatever you experience, and if you persist in the meditation, that experience will not be the same, it will keep changing.
So, if it is guaranteed to keep changing, how can it be the measure? The measure is: today I did it as instructed—or—today I didn’t. The only failure is: today I didn’t—and don’t regard that as a failure—just make sure you do it tomorrow! Because I’m not giving you practices that you should use to beat yourself up when you don’t meet my standard or your standard, that’s not what this is about. This is not for achievement—this is for God. So the only way that you succeed at meditation is by doing it. Whatever happens as part of the experience is not: yes it succeeded, no it didn’t. “Oh, I had this powerful experience, so I succeeded in my meditation,” or “I didn’t feel anything so I must have failed my meditation, or maybe I did it wrong.” None of that. Either you did it or you didn’t, it’s very matter of fact.
You know, the measurement of whether you succeeded at painting your house is not how good a paint job it is, it’s did you paint the house or not. It’s as matter of fact as that. Maybe you did a great job; maybe you did a lousy job, but did you paint the house? Because very often we wanted to paint the house, and we never get around to painting the house—well, then yeah, you didn’t succeed at painting the house! it’s not about how good did you paint it—it’s did you paint it or not. Meditation is exactly that mundane: did I do it or did I not do it—that’s the only measure. Any other measure is your mind playing tricks on you, or your expectations running wild. Because meditation has nothing to do with your expectations, it’s you did it and you did it as instructed, or today you missed out, and do it tomorrow.