Do you ever have days where you think you don’t have enough time to get everything done? Or days on which the goal you want to achieve is so enormous that you wonder if it’s even worth the effort? Maybe what I cover in this post will help you to feel better about getting started. My goal is to help you take on the task one day at a time.
I started my “mission” in life (which I discovered when I was forty-nine years old) wanting to change the world. The message I had was so important and true that once I got it into print in a book, the rest would take care of itself. Have you ever tried to change the whole world? Talk about a frustrating goal. I should have narrowed it down to the country or state I was living in at the time. Then I would have found out that I needed to narrow it down to the city I lived in. And then to the neighborhood. And then to my own household.
I’m starting to think that the greatest barriers, the mountains I face, are in my own mind. My expectations are too big. The bar I’ve set for considering myself a success is too high. My timeline for wanting to see results is too short. My thinking that the more effort I exert, the more I’ll get done.
In his book, See You At The Top, Motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, coined the phrase, “You need a checkup from the neck up.”
If you are getting worn out with work or life, do you need a checkup from the neck up? I’ll go ahead and say it right now, meditation can help you do that. Setting aside time to meditate might be one of the mountains in your mind. You think you don’t have enough time for anything more on your schedule. If you want to achieve your goals, I’ll tell you that you can’t afford NOT to meditate.
According to many sites on the Internet, Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” You should take the time to clear your mind, settle your mind, establish order and control of your mind. You are going to work much harder to accomplish the task you have chosen for yourself if you don’t. A sharp and clear mind is a creative mind that can cut through the diversions and wasted effort.
Another component of getting the job done is that step one has to be completed before you can get to step ten. There are always things that have to be done first. What are they? Work on the step that needs to be done. Get it done. Do it a step at a time. A day at a time. That’s the only way it can work. Like William Shakespeare wrote, “And many strokes though with a little axe hew down and fell the hardest-timbered oak.” The biggest of tasks are done one step or stroke at a time. It would be nice to have a chain saw for every tree you want to fell, but even a chain saw needs to be sharpened, lubricated, and refilled with gasoline.
To go even further back in time, the Hebrew Scriptures say, If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength. Wisdom has the advantage of giving success (Ecclesiastes 10:10 NASB).
To go further back than that, I found a quote that someone connected to Buddha. I couldn’t verify its original source but it goes like this: Meditation is like sharpening a knife, This knife needs to be a certain sharpness to cut different strengths of strings…When all these strings have been cut, when these attachments are severed…. you are free from bondage.
Maybe this is a good way to think of the importance of meditation. Sometimes we get attached to certain ideas or goals for what we think we need. But we haven’t taken the time to determine, will doing this really lead me to the peace and harmony I hunger for in my life? Will this effort bring true happiness? Meditation is one way that can help you cut some of the attachments to false expectations or false images of success or even to thinking you need to meet the expectations of someone else.
Mountains full of trees get moved one day at a time, one stroke of the axe at a time, one shovel of dirt at a time. Meditate to sharpen the axe. Try to rejoice in the progress toward your goal, no matter how small. You’ll be a happier person. And in the next post, I’ll tell you how faith can help you move your mountains.