Funny how the same problems come up over and over and over again in practice. But you can't say that. If you say that, those listening will feel left out of some broad-brush application which does not apply precisely to their circumstances ... pay attention to me, to my circumstances, to my life, to my difficulties ... this is unique and not subject to some answer that comes out a cereal box!
And so, of course, it is unique and needs to be treated that way. "Your life is so difficult that it has never been tried before."
The woman who came to instruct me this morning -- to sit with me -- had recently gone through a painful divorce. She and her former partner had joint custody of their three-year-old daughter. She had a hard time sitting because thoughts interfered and were painfully diverting. She would be counting her breath from one to ten and then find herself at 27 with no clue as to how she had gotten there. She would find herself glancing at the clock, wondering when the at-home sitting would be over.
There is no consoling such a person but they definitely won't find consolation in knowing that everybody else who practices -- or has practiced -- has gone through precisely the same thing ... precisely! No, this is different ... it's no like anybody else's difficulty ... some same ol' same ol' be fobbed off with a generalization. If I am unique and important, well, don't treat me like another pit in the watermelon!
And yet the answers are always more or less the same: It takes determination to practice, so muster your determination. It takes courage and patience and doubt, so muster your courage and patience and doubt. If you make a promise, then keep a promise ... or take responsibility for not keeping it. If you make a mistake, just correct it. And if you make it again, correct it again ... and again...and again...and again.
Attention and responsibility -- the same ol' answers as ever before, only this time it's no joke, no broad-brush generalization, because this time the problems are yours and you -- like the rest of us -- are desperately important.
The older I get the fewer the suggested answers seem to get. Once upon a time, there were hundreds of heart-felt suggestions, one for every ache or pain or confusion or sorrow. Then there were fewer and they reached further. Then there were fewer still and they spread their arms wider still.
Pay attention and take responsibility ... but I won't say that. That's miles too broad-brush, I imagine. :)
OK ... so spit out the watermelon seeds or try pinching one between a thumb and index finger ... see how far you can shoot it. Do try the watermelon, though ... on a hot day it's sweet and juicy.