This story made me think about my motives. I share it here so you might consider yours too.
A man wanted to transcend his suffering so he went to a Buddhist temple to find a mediation teacher to help him. He asked the teacher, “If I meditate four hours a day, how long will it take me to transcend?” The teacher looked at him and said, “If you meditate four hours a day, perhaps you will transcend in ten years.”
Thinking he could do better, the man then said, “Oh, teacher, what if I meditated eight hours a day, how long will it take me to transcend?” The teacher said, “If you meditate eight hours a day, perhaps you will transcend in twenty years.”
“But why will it take me longer if I meditate more?” the man asked.
The teacher replied, “You are not here to sacrifice your joy or your life. You are here to live, to be happy and to love. If you can do your best in one hour of meditation but you spend eight hours instead, you will only grow weary and miss the point of the experience. Do your best, and perhaps you will learn that no matter how long you meditate, it’s why you meditate that really matters.”
Moral: It’s not always what you do, but why you do what you do.
What’s your why?