Practice meditation regularly. Meditation leads to eternal bliss. Therefore meditate, meditate. Swami Sivananda
The importance of practice has been on my mind a lot lately. It’s mostly because my son just started playing the guitar. In a few weeks, he’s gone from not knowing a thing about the guitar, to playing simple songs. It’s been an amazing process to watch and one which could not occur without practice. As the old joke goes, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.”
The guitar teacher obviously loves music, the guitar and teaching – and not just guitar. During their first lesson, he stressed the importance of commitment, practice and having fun. When he mentioned how looking for perfection stands in the way of learning, I recongized life, as well as guitar, lessons.
I take my son to class every week and sit in on his sessions. As I watch quietly, I am practicing too. Because I can’t work, use my phone or laptop, I practice being mindfully present. I am totally engaged with my son and experience an overwhelming sense of joy. It’s the same joy I felt watching him as a toddler, when everything he did was a wonderful new experience.
It’s interesting that the practice of yoga also brings me this level of engagement. Uniting my mind and body in awareness while I practice poses, places me in the moment. While I am in that moment, it is only the moment that matters, not perfection of the pose. That’s why it’s called a practice – the goal is the continuous experience of wondrous growth. In fact, if we could ever reach perfection, wouldn’t that be the end? What would be left to learn or challenge us?
In an earlier life, I practiced law as an attorney. When I was in law school, they told us it was called a practice because we would spend every day honing our profession to better serve our clients and the law. Again, the idea was not to reach perfection, but to keep trying to grow and improve.
Because of all the static in our minds, meditation often does not come easily. It takes practice, practice, practice and we’ll still never be perfect at it. But it’s the pursuit, the practice itself, which is the goal – not perfection. Do you have a pursuit, such as meditation or music, which you practice for the joy of growth and improvement?
Survival > Existence,
Image courtesy of Yngve Bakken Nilsen