“There is a saying, ‘To catch two birds with one stone.’ That is what people usually try to do. Because they want to catch too many birds they find it difficult to be concentrated on one activity, and they may end up not catching any birds at all!”
-Suunryu Suzuki, Soto Zen Monk
We can get into an anxious state of mind where we want to know if we will fulfill our goals in life. In spirituality, this is manifested as a desire to know whether or not the practice is working, and so we examine ourselves for signs of some sort of enlightenment. This could be true whether we are saying mantras, chanting verses, or sitting for zazen or dhyana. The trouble is that stepping back from the practice actually makes it more difficult to engage with the practice. The hard thing is to just do the practice and not worry about whether or not it is working, and to be fully immersed in life.
Try not to compare yourself with the yardstick of spiritual experiences you may have had in the past, perhaps when you first began your favorite practice. You are not the same person that you were ten or twenty years ago. It’s not that those experiences don’t matter: It’s just that they happened to someone else a long time ago. Try to focus on the realization that you might have today, in this moment. Make today a new occasion for expanding your capacities and increasing your awareness.
From: A Mindful Morning, by: David Dillard-Wright, PhD.