The plum tree near my driveway has a nest of robins–the eggs hatched a couple of days ago. The bird box that I hung on the eucalyptus tree outside our kitchen last year now is home to a family of small blue birds. Spring is a time when many creatures are diligently nurturing their young. Here is a quote from Focused and Fearless, page 79 to inspire diligent effort on our path.
“You can cultivate many things through dedicated interest: patience, generosity, joy, understanding. You can develop conditions that are conducive to concentration and supportive of wisdom. You can “sit on your eggs” by diligently nurturing the meditative explorations. Giving yourself to the spiritual life is like sitting on the nest. But the actual rate of maturation is not under your control. It would be senseless to wish, “May I attain the fourth jhana today,” and expect that wish to be fulfilled without any practice. You can diligently nurture your practice, but maturation occurs due to the ripening of conditions, not from how fervent your wishes are.
No one will make you meditate, no one requires you to cultivate deep spiritual happiness, no one can insist that you become aware. Meditation practice is not a prescription, obligation, or punishment. In the absence of authoritarian requirements, we must each discover for ourselves the tender discipline that sustains us. Spiritual discipline is a precious resource for maintaining a practice, even when it feels dry, tedious, and difficult. We need effort to progress on this path. Only after all need for effort ceases are we entitled to make the ancient declaration of enlightenment: “What had to be done has been done.”