The more we connect with a bigger perspective, the more we connect with energetic joy. Exertion is connecting with our appetite for enlightenment. It allows us to act, to give, to work appreciatively with whatever comes our way. If we really knew how unhappy it was making this whole planet that we all try to avoid pain and seek pleasure—how that is making us so miserable and cutting us off from our basic goodness—then we would practice as if our hair were on fire. There wouldn’t be any question of thinking we have a lot of time and we can do this later.
Yet when we begin to practice exertion, we see that sometimes we can do it and sometimes we can’t. The question becomes: How do we connect with inspiration? How do we connect with the spark and joy that’s available in every moment?
From Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion by Pema Chödrön, pages 139–140