I'm in Melbourne, so once more, good to see another oz Buddhist practitioner here. The teachings are vast, but there are of course important essentials, such as the four noble truths, and the noble eightfold path. I practised on-and-off with varying degrees of commitment for the last 20 years, and I wish someone had told me this (they probably did a few times, but I did not truly listen): virtue is the foundation for our joy in this path. I recently made the firm resolve to not just grudgingly keep the precepts, but to try to really take them to heart, to see with wisdom WHY we need to follow them, not just 'because the Buddha said so', and to actually follow them even when it brings some inconvenience. My meditation improved overnight when I resolved this, no exaggeration. Which brings me to the second part: use skillful means to find joy in the practice. I had conviction in the Buddha as being the consummate master of mind and the human condition, I knew for myself that his words were (for me) always found to be true when put to the test against my own often bitter experience, but somehow, joyfulness was usually lacking, the path felt 'right, but hard' most of the time. So I advise you to seek out good instruction in meditation, and experiment with different types. (The 'right' one for each person varies according to their individual temperament, etc). Here's some words I had to fight long and hard to realize: the joy that comes when the mind is calmed down and still (no, I've not attained jhana, but the increasing calmness is gratifying), this pleasure only comes from contentment with just being there, just being with the chosen object, and not by wanting the pleasure (sounds like a catch-22, I know). Its not about wanting anything, but about letting go of burdens. And yes, over time, if you give it lots of kindness and patience, your mind will begin to 'learn' how to calm down, and to be content with what is simple...you have no idea how long it has taken me to get even that far! And still much work to do. But yeah, it makes me never want to take a single drug ever again, to not pollute or harm this precious instrument (mind), that when 'well trained' can bring us joy.
I wish you a happy journey in the Dhamma.
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."