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From Help on the Eleventh Step—The Practice of Penetrating the Cloud
An old man who was teaching me…instructed me in what he called the “wedge system.” Said he: “Ten-minute periods faithfully and regularly held every day are far better than half-hour sessions held occasionally or in spurts. When the ten-minute wedge is firmly inserted in your daily routine (and this might take six months or a year), then you can drive it in a little further, maybe expanding the time to fifteen minutes — later to twenty — later to thirty — and so on, up to what your real capacity for daily practice of this kind turns out to be. It is wrong to lag, but it is no good trying to be a saint overnight, either.”
When I first began to listen to this man, he questioned me about my habits of prayer. “How long do you go?” he asked. “About two hours at a stretch,” I said, trying with a great effort to appear modest. (It was true. I was less than twelve months out of a moral and physical collapse in which I had been floundering for years. But I had been reading books, and I am inclined to excess, and I was practicing, at that time, two hours at a clip.)
My old spiritual father looked at me narrowly.
“You do this every day?” he said.
“Well, no,” I said.
“You do it for a few days and then skip a few days?” he said.
“Yes,” I said.
“And sometimes you skip a few weeks, perhaps?” he said.
“That’s the way it goes,” I said.
“Ten minutes a day for you,” he said. “No less and no more.”
—24 Newsletter Vol 1, No. 3 (link)
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