There was another time when one of my teachers — the abbot on a temple just outside of downtown Los Angeles — pulled me aside to tell me something important.
I was expecting him to share enlightening words with me.
In a way, his advice proved to be wise, albeit unexpected.
He wanted to remind me about the importance of getting regular oil changes for my Toyota, which I used to drive to the temple every weekend.
If I did so, he said I would encounter fewer mechanical problems and could drive my vehicle for a very long time.
I nodded my head in agreement — acknowledging the down-to-earth wisdom of performing routine car maintenance.
In a city like LA, it’s hard to get around without a reliable vehicle.
At that moment, I also realized that these seemingly unremarkable tasks help to build the confidence needed to tackle more difficult tasks.
Before I started practicing meditation, I couldn’t imagine forcing myself to sit quietly for a half hour or more.
Now, I can’t imagine forcing myself to sit quietly for anything less than half an hour.
It isn’t noble to accept a challenge if it’s beyond your capabilities at the time or won’t benefit you in the long run.
As one of my teachers said, a wise warrior won’t fight every battle. You don’t want a pyrrhic victory.
Try to take the minor wins first. They’ll lead to major wins in the end.