Practice practice practice. It is so important for me to remember that it's all practice. Now, some might say there is NO practice. That this is real life. Game on! But, to my mind it all shakes out the same in the end anyway so, it really just boils down to approach. It's kind of like saying no one is exactly like anyone else. So, that means EVERYone is unique and special...just like everybody else. It may seem like semantics but, I think a subtle shift in perspective is so often makes all the difference in how we experience a moment, a day, or whatever span the shift lasts.
For example, I know that a lot of us live by a routine. So much so that it can sometimes seem like we are doing the same thing day in day out. Although, we certainly aren't. My eldest daughter once explained to me how every time is the first time, for everything. I was intrigued by this, and she expounded saying that when you've never done something before, and you very first try it, it is the first time you've done it, and there will never be another first time. I was like, uh ya, that's what I'm saying...only 1 first. Ahhhh but, she went on to say, the next time you do that thing will be the second time you do it. Right? Right. But, the jewel she dropped was that, this is the first and only time you will be doing that thing for the second time. I'm smiling deeply just recalling the look in her eye, and how happy felt when I grasped the perspective she had just revealed. Everything is always new. Every inch we wiggle, every floor we sweep, every work day, every meal, every breath is unique and special...just like every one before and after it.
So, what's that got to do with practice? So, yeah, I get that it's real life, all the time. That this is IT. When I say practice, I don't mean in the sense of preparation for some later "event". Like an athlete or performer would practice, to get everything just right, for a game or a show....
I just got stuck there, while I was typing away...I started to feel like I was making an argument for something, or against something. The truth is it is practice like that too. It's not either like that or like this. It is practice with idea that working at things improves our abilities. The idea I started out with here, and where I think I was dividing theses types of practice, is that there is no end game, for these life practices, other than to benefit from the practice, and to improve the practice itself. Maybe the practice evaporates eventually. I know it definitely becomes more organic, as I do it. But, I know I am certainly still applying disciplines to engage the world the way I want to.
This actually gets me back to the idea I had when I started typing (I didn't really mean to type all that but, I'm not going to edit much either. Just going to let it out). Yesterday, I had what I am calling an insight to clarity. Something that some might say was an epiphany. I used to use that word to but, it has this air of deliverance that doesn't quite feel right to me any more. Like it came from somewhere outside me and that something has been produced before my mind. These days, these insights feel more like the truth (I would have capitalized truth there, not too long ago too), was just always just there, and just in that moment, the light (woulda capitalized that too), was just right, and my perspective just so...that I caught a glimpse of something I just hadn't seen before. Or just hadn't seen this way, or understood it differently. Whatever it is, mocus-pocus, or refraction of consciousness or whatever, the feeling and resonance that comes with is delightful. So, this thought that occurred to me, it took me a while to put it into words because of course, I wanted to share it. I have long thought said that words are a reduction of thought. So while you can understand something completely, it can take a good deal of effort to try to reconstruct a representation of it from characters and sounds. Which, as an aside, is part of why remembering and explaining our dreams can e so tricky. We just KNOW so much about what is happening, that we could really never relay it all. So, this thought...haha...I have to wonder if anyone will actually follow all this...but, I also am loving writing it!! The thought came, I reduced it to words, in my mind, but, I didn't record or report it anywhere. Later, I would try to recall it and not even be able to remember the topic. Sometimes, these things are just for us...
Sometimes these things are just so specially for us...yesterday evening, while walking and talking with my wife and our infant Sun, she said a word that brought the thought back, in a flash: "flexibility". BOOM! The thought hit me again, the clarity of what it meant, the depth of it's effect...but, this was mid-conversation, and i hadn't the time to think of the words to describe it...I told Jane that what she said just brought back this insight, and I started excitedly explaining, conjuring the concepts fro the ooze of enlightenment as I went, thrilled I was revisiting this, and knowing I was getting a grasp on it....it has to do with this illusion of polarities and how when we apply them to each other they are so complimentary, and that we can be busy and peaceful, and determined but fluid, and...she interjects "I REALLY like your new shoes! 'oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt. They just caught my eye. Go on." ...uhhh...uhhh...F! Lost it, again. I am like that. I can set my car keys down, spin around in a circle, and they are missing!
There I was, on the brink of crystallizing this gem, and it was lost again. I thought for a few seconds...nope. I was bothered for a few more...when I had to laugh at myself,here I was launching into this detailed explanation of the way to apply a discipline of flexibility, and beginning to stiffen at the idea of not being able to tell it....yeah, it's a practice. So, I said, it's still there...it will come out sometime...or not, and I meant it.
As I was typing this, just before that last paragraph, and again excited about this fruit of my practice, I set down the computer, and helped Jane make the bed. As, I always do, just as we lay the quilt on top, I flipped up my the edge at my side, and brought it down again, whipping an air-bubble underneath, to smooth it out. My wife laughed at me: "You just have to do that, don't you?" Said I was sort of rigid about it. I am too...damn!