When you do meditation, quality is more important than quantity.
People have a lot of ideas about how much practice one should do. Some Lamas might say you have to spend a particular amount of time doing certain pujas. If you can listen to them and practice accordingly that’s great! But sometimes it doesn’t work even if you do exactly what they say – if your mind doesn’t change at all even after a lot of practice something is going wrong.
For example you can do two hours of Tara practice each day. But if you are distracted during that time it might turn into a mere lip service or just another duty which is to be done on top of your other worldly responsibilities.
Some people who focus mainly on quantity might end up with daily sessions of discursive thoughts or “planning sessions” rather than doing meditation sessions. The mere amount of practice might turn into nothing more than fodder for a proud ego. In this way your practice might have a good quantity but not a good quality.
A good quality is like pure milk. Whether you have a glass or just a teaspoon of it, it remains pure milk. Discursive thoughts are like water. Good thoughts are like clean filtered water. Bad thoughts are like dirty polluted water. Now, whether you pour the clean or the dirty water into that milk, in both cases it’ll dilute the pure milk.
I’m not saying that you should let go of your practice! Don’t use this as an excuse in order to minimize or escape from your daily meditation sessions. A regular practice is very important. It’ll gradually train and transform you. But you should always examine whether you are really focused on the practice or simply counting hours, minutes or mantras without even trying to tame your mind.
Don’t fool yourself by thinking that you’re a great practitioner because of quantity. Likewise don’t fool yourself by thinking that you’re a great practitioner because of quality. No matter what you say to other people about your practice – if you are insincere you won’t fool anyone but yourself.
What matters most is that you discipline yourself. Be your own boss. Take responsibility – for your life, your actions and your practice. Don’t depend on others or particular situations to make things happen. Otherwise nothing will ever happen. As I already said in one of my previous posts: Just do it!
When you practice try to make the time you spend really meaningful, no matter how long or short it may be. Develop a positive attitude towards it so that you can generate a natural habit and sincere wish to practice regularly.
This is how I try to approach my daily life and practice. Since it works quite well for me I thought of sharing it with you. However, if what I am saying is not helpful for you then better just do what you consider to be best for you.
As I said: take responsibility for yourself. Things don’t just happen. You have to make them happen.