A young man came up to me before a meditation class a while ago, asking very direct questions. I admire and enjoy directness; it's refreshing.
"How long have you been meditating?" he asked.
"This type of meditation - eight years, but other kinds... on and off for ten years before that."
"So where are you at?" he said.
"What do you mean?"
"Where are you at, you know, like with your karma?"
I laughed. "I don’t know."
"Have you reached Nirvana?"
I looked at him as if to say "Are you making fun of me?" but I didn’t say it.
"I’m serious," he said. I laughed, so we both laughed. "Then what level have you reached?"
"I’m a beginner."
"You’re a beginner, after eighteen years? Then what am I?"
"Maybe we’re both beginners."
He looked a little disturbed. "Then why continue if you haven’t got anywhere?"
"That’s not what I said. I think I’ve come a very long way, but I’m still a beginner."
He smiled and nodded. His face was peaceful; perhaps he understood something with his heart. We had a more meaningful conversation after that, and I'm sure the meditation then answered many more questions than I could.