Release the Striving
Q. I would find no other pursuit ultimately satisfying and yet to be honest there is a lingering feeling that I have not ever really fully committed. Maybe I could sit more, study more, be more patient, be more focused throughout the day, give up pleasures and desires in life that I enjoy because they are distracting.....
A. Could I suggest less striving, less 'working on'. For dedicated people like yourself, who have committed for so long, who have had the experience of inner knowing, adding striving to striving seems to cease being effective, and the frustration you feel, I think, is the natural process of indicating change of tack needed. Almost the opposite becomes skilful means.
Percolating happens by itself once you set the process going. You can stop it, but if you allow, it goes on somewhere back of the being like a big wheel turning. Like stirring the leaves which have settled through years of living and thinking. Just touch, hold, and give a little stir from time to time--not necessarily in formal meditation sessions, but for instance, in the quiet morning hours with a cup of coffee, before the chattering starts, or in the evening with a glass of wine before the fire, when your eye just happens to fall on a picture.....
It's what I meant by concealing/revealing. Metaphor is the tail of the tiger. You just catch the surface; there is so much hidden beneath which can emerge if you attend to it, but it has to be with this oblique approach, not the mind's bullish or dogged determination to conquer. Little fragments, wisps of understanding....they can grow. And you can uncover more and more, so it seems like layers.
Does this make sense to you?
I'm rather a metaphor junkie as you see! They tumble out of me when I write about intangible matters, and I wonder whether my correspondent is overwhelmed and bewildered... Let me know if the latter!
Properly, meditation should train a capacity to recognise how things happen peripherally, so to speak, when you release direct attention. Eg, you sit down to meditate and your blocked sinuses suddenly clear. How? Why? But if you direct your attention there with heavy intent, nothing happens. So you breathe perfectly for half an hour while you meditate, then you get up and it's back to Groucho Marx!