Sona was the son of a rich businessman. He lived in the times when Siddhartha, through deep practice, became the Buddha. Buddha was to go on to inspire millions of others to follow in his footsteps, the eight-fold path being one. Sona was no different.
Inspired by the teachings of the Buddha, he set off into the forest to follow in his footsteps. Buddha followed him into the forest. It was not hard to follow him, as the path into the forest was strewn with blood.
Sona had set off barefoot into the forest with the belief that the harsher the penance or suffering, the faster he would attain his goals.
This may be an ancient story, thousands of years old. But the lessons remain the same. Human beings move from inertia to extreme penance. The penance could be a denial of food, a denial of rest, or even a denial of joy.
Buddha wanted to teach him to follow the middle path. He used his own instruments, in this case a vina (sitar in those times). He first loosened all the strings and asked him to produce music.
Naturally, he could not. He then tightened the strings to the point where they might break. Sona could not produce music now either.
The lesson was that too much or too little of anything does not produce results. Too much, and the system breaks. Too little is insufficient. Yet! All of us constantly do the same thing.
We jump from too little or inertia. We jump too much. We quickly break and go back to too little. Wasn't that so much easier and better?
Forgive me for what I say next. Your body is smarter than you. It has a mechanism known as homeostasis. Homeostasis is the natural ability of the body to remain in equilibrium. But for those moments when you take it out of equilibrium.
So what is the lesson? Consistency beats effort. Every single day!