There once was an old coal miner who faithfully meditated three times a day. Each afternoon, while his co-workers had lunch, the old miner would spend 30 mins in concentrated meditation, which seemed very pointless to many others.
After working together for months, a young co-worker approached the old miner and asked why he sat around doing nothing so much.
The old miner told the younger that he would answer the question, but first had a request. He asked that the younger fetch him some water to drink and gave him a specific container to fill. The container happed to be a kind of strainer used in the mines.
The younger took the container, tho seriously doubted how much water it could hold. Nevertheless, the younger went down to the river and by the time he returned to the older, the container was empty.
“Do me a favor and try one more time?” asked the older. A second time, the younger returned with an empty container.
“Can you try again, for an old man’s sake?” asked the older.
A third, and fourth, and fifth time the younger came back with an empty container.
When the younger returned a sixth time, he was determined to have no more of this redundant behavior. Before he could speak, though, the older began:
You asked me why I meditate all the time. You think nothing is accomplished but look how clean the container is now that you’ve filled it many times! Meditation accomplishes the same thing with the mind. It washes away all the obstructions that dilute the purity of thought, restoring its potential and creative functionality.”