We love puppies. So cute. No one likes a puppy that misbehaves, jumps up on you, bites you, pulls on your pant leg, chews your shoes, barks madly. An untamed puppy can be a real pain in the you-know-what. I love to see a puppy owner who is putting the time into their puppy to mold it into a good dog, time into showing it how to behave, what is expected out him or her. I love to see that. Puppies need that guidance, that time invested in them, so they can grow into mature, balanced, well adjusted happy dogs.
Many times our minds have been compared to untrained puppies, puppies that jump all over, don't listen, and basically wreak havoc on the world all around them (as entertaining as that can be sometimes). The mind can and should be trained, just as we train a puppy. It needs guidance, it needs discipline, especially if we have the kind of mind that jumps around, chews on things, barks madly and is generally a pain in the you-know-what. When you take the time to train your puppy mind, the result is that it will sit still when you tell it to. When it is misbehaving and running here and there thinking non-useful thoughts, you can tell it to stop and it will listen. It will sit quietly and wait, until you tell it to go in the direction YOU want it to go.
In this way, we harness the immense of power of our minds and avoid the loss of energy that comes from letting the puppy run loose and out of control all over the place. Of course, it takes time, it takes practice, but you can think of it as going to the gym for your brain. You go to the gym to build your heart health and your muscles. We practice meditation to build the concentration "muscle" of our mind, to develop our logical brain, the one that is master over the puppy and just as with training a puppy, we have to put the time in if we want the result, there is really no quick fix to it. But if we are interested in what the puppy can do, or what the mind can do, that could really inspire us. That could really turn us on and light us up, if we are curious about that.
I like to think of my meditation as waking up and thinking: "I wonder what my mind is going to be like today?". I am curious to spend time with the puppy to see how its training is going. In the beginning, meditation is really just developing concentration, developing that muscle. In the beginning, the mind won't stay focused long before it gets bored and runs off somewhere chasing a thought. Be patient, it gets better, the logical mind gets stronger day by day, it gets easier, for the most part, the more you practice, I promise. Later on, when the concentration becomes sustained, it will become "meditation", but for now, we are just developing that muscle. We are developing that witness consciousness or that higher mind that watches everything go on: our thoughts, our breath, the sensations that arise in the body. We sit and we watch. If we go in without attachment to whether our mind is going to be calm and still that day or messy and quagmire-like, we are content to just give time to the watching. There is no "good" or "bad" meditation, there is only time given to the process. There is no such thing as being "bad" at meditation. The only one who is bad at meditation is one who does not try. Really it's just about being curious about one's self, going in there, listening, watching, hanging out with the puppy. We all want our puppies to grow up to be good dogs, who listen and bring joy to our lives, not chaos.