Our goal when we meditate is to defeat the energy of greed, anger and delusion which defile the mind. Just like olympic athletes, when we compete against the defilements, we have to compete for inches. In this race for goodness, every moment of mindfulness counts in our favour because this challenge is all about building momentum in the right direction.
Through careful observation, the Buddha discovered that, ultimately, we suffer because of the habit forming nature of the mind. In other words, the reason we can never be satisfied is because we have developed the wrong habits. Every moment of heedlessness that we experience is built on the moments of heedlessness that came before. So, when we start meditating, we are trying to overcome the unmindful momentum we’ve created.
The cure for this condition is to simply build up momentum in a more productive direction. Every moment we spend being mindful becomes a condition for mindfulness in the future. Even if this mindfulness begins slowly, it can eventually snowball in to a very potent force for change. We should therefore not discount the many moments that we have during the day to be mindful.
Even more importantly, when we put serious effort into training the mind to be mindful on a regular basis the benefits accumulate quickly and very soon we build up enough of the good habit to free ourselves from the worst kinds of suffering. Then we can become firmly rooted in the path towards true happiness which only becomes more and more satisfying as our practice progresses.