"It is best to take a gentle, friendly attitude toward ourselves right from the beginning. Compassion will do a lot to assuage the grasping, aggressing, and ignoring that persists even when practicing meditation. The single most powerful ally we have as we explore and awaken from our daydream is gentleness and kindness toward ourselves. How many of us can say that we have learned how to be truly kind and gentle with ourselves? We've heard about it, we've talked about it, we've espoused it perhaps, but how many of us have actually done it? Learning to be kind toward ourselves is possible, but it takes intention and patience. It is not a habit for most of us and it is not the orientation of life in the six realms. Gentleness and compassion have little to do with having things conform to our agenda or timetable.
"Perhaps a majority of the meditation students come to the practice with a strong project mentality. It's as if once they get this meditation thing under their belt, they can finally have some peace of mind and be even more efficient and together. Needless to say, in such situations there is often a kind of frustration, impatience, and even early burnout, as they begin to realize that there is no magic bullet. The practice is slow and steady and requires diligence and patience. The two things missing from such an approach are gentleness and curiosity. We should take the same approach as we would when caring for a child. Helping a child can bring out the tenderness in us. It's a good model for working with others and it's an especially good model for working with ourselves."