Tuesday, February 9, 2010
The Magic Of Practice
Practice is doing something mindfully on a regular basis. After a time it may become more and more automatic. Over a long time it becomes ingrained in our repertoire of behaviors. I am not just talking about playing the piano or riding a bicycle. All of our behaviors, including our behaviors of speech and thought, become more ingrained the more they are repeated. Thus if you practice expressing anger you will do that more and more often, more and more easily. I hear people say that certain things are hard, or impossible. I don't have a lot of sympathy for that. Yes, things are hard. It was hard to walk, to talk, to learn to feed yourself. Probably harder at the time than the new behavior that is now being attempted. But if the person attempting the new behavior will "just do it" it will get easier. Break the worry chain for five minutes. The next time you may be able to go for six minutes. Hold off on having a smoke for five minutes. The next time you may be able to go for six minutes. Every behavior you can start you can improve. The magic key is mindful practice. By mindful I mean that you look for the snags and missteps and devise ways to improve upon them. At times you have to have a very deep focus to smooth out those little snags, then focus on integrating them into the whole behavior. But if you will do it, it can be done. One of the hardest things I ever had to learn was to keep my mind about me when someone was shouting at me. I learned it and now I prize my ability to keep cool in a crisis, or even when someone else is in an agitated state. I know I'm not perfect so I continue to be mindful about it. But I can also think back to times in my life when I was too easily manipulated and know that doesn't happen so easily now. I practice the way of the dragon, clarity of thought. I wish the same power to you.