We are what we repeatedly do
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.
Cultivate your intelligence, dear students, but also take care that it does not subordinate itself to everything else, and that the accessory does not become the main one. May your heart not be the fool of your mind. Pascal said: "The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing"; yet this deep word is not of absolute accuracy. For if the heart has its reasons, Reason knows them and recognizes itself in them.
The whole work of Reason consists in subordinating Intelligence to the Heart.
"You might as well ask if it's natural to do up one's trousers with zippers," said the Controller sarcastically.
"You remind me of another of those old fellows called Bradley. He defined philosophy as the finding of bad reason for what one believes by instinct. As if one believed anything by instinct! One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them. Finding bad reasons for what one believes for other bad reasons–that's philosophy. People believe in God because they've been conditioned to.
No matter what activity or practice we are pursuing, there isn't anything that isn't made easier through constant familiarity and training. Through training, we can change; we can transform ourselves. Within Buddhist practice there are various methods of trying to sustain a calm mind when some disturbing event happens. Through repeated practice of these methods we can get to the point where some disturbance may occur but the negative effects on our mind remain on the surface, like the waves that may ripple on the surface of an ocean but don't have much effect deep down. And, although my own experience may be very little, I have found this to be true in my own small practice. So, if I receive some tragic news, at that moment I may experience some disturbance within my mind, but it goes very quickly. Or, I may become irritated and develop some anger, but again, it dissipates very quickly. There is no effect on the deeper mind. No hatred. This was achieved through gradual practice; it didn't happen overnight.