A young man seeking enlightenment arrived at a Zen temple, and introduced himself to the master. He wanted to know how long it would take him to reach enlightenment. He asked, “If I meditate 4 hours a day, 3 days a week, how long until I reach enlightenment?” “4 hours a day, 3 days a week? Probably take you…. 10 years.” The master said. The young man replied, “Well what if I meditate for 8 hours a day, 4 days a week, then how long until I am enlightened?” “8 hours a day, 4 days a week? Probably take you… 15 years.” The master said. The young man asked him, “Well what if I meditate for 16 hours a day, every day of the week?” “16 hours a day, every day? Probably take you… 30 years.” The master said.
In Zen tradition, someone who lives to meditate, to completely eradicate their mind of all thoughts and attachments is called a Stone Buddha; you could whack a piece of stone over and over, and it won’t feel a thing. It might as well be dead.
Do not live in order to meditate, do not use your precious life toiling away, and trying too hard. You will miss the whole show, the entire beautiful cosmic play. You must meditate in order to live more fully. Let the meditation be to only serve the life involved.
Do not live to meditate, meditate to live.