My neighbor complains that her compost pile barely produces any compost. She piles up all the brown stuff in the fall, and in the spring, it's still brown. After 45 minutes of sorting through all the phlox stems and squash vines from last year, she finally finds some compost--just enough to fill a wheel barrow.
"Your compost looks so great," she tells me. "How do you do it?"
"Time" is my answer.
I build a compost pile and leave it alone for 2-3 years. I do not pull it apart the following spring.
This means i need 3 compost bins: 1 for this year, 1 for last year, and 1 for the year before that. Actually, the bin i'm using now was put together 3 years ago; i know this because i just found the not-yet-decomposed bamboo plates from another neighbors' daughter's outdoor wedding in 2010. I pitched those flimsy remains into the current 2013 bin.
The soil in my compost bin is rich and dark, and there's plenty of it. And it's 3 years old.
Sometimes we compare our meditation results with our friend's. They report rich states of calmness or kindness. Meanwhile, we sit on the cushion and sort through the detritus of our minds. Maybe we find a moment of calm, but we feel we are reaping puny results.
More time in meditation, my dear. Meditate every day. Go on retreat. Don't stint. There's a lot of refuse to recognize and let go.
As Thanissaro Bhikkhu says: The subconscious is like a flooded basement. When you meditate, the water level starts going down.
There's a lot of yucky stuff in our flooded-basement subconscious. Pitch it into the compost pile, and it turns into rich soil in which to grow your meditation practice.