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This photograph was taken on a recent retreat.

I love the tenderness of the little bird sitting in the Buddha’s left hand as he meditates. It says something about the gentle kind of effort that’s required in meditation.

An image I used to use in my teaching — but which I had forgotten about until this moment — was that the quality of effort we use in meditation aims toward the kind of effort we’d make in holding a baby bird. We don’t want to hold our attention so firmly that we crush our sensitivity, but we also don’t want to hold our attention so gently that the object of meditation flies away.

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