“All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.” ~Proverb
Practice and patience are like inseparable twins that have the capacity to bring us great joy when in harmony, and great angst when they are not.
Consider the phrase: “Practice and all is coming….”
I didn't realize the depth of this statement when I first read it in my Ashtanga yoga manual several years ago.
Sri K Pattabhi Jois was the Yogi who said it repeatedly to all his students. And it is perfectly reasonable for one to assume he was referring to the daily practice of yoga.
But one morning during my writing practice (my daily moving meditation), I realized the true essence of his statement.
For as long as I can remember I have strived to know peace—that is, peace while living in the ‘real’ world and freedom from my cluttered mind.
We all do, don’t we? And I’m guessing that we all have some idea, whether through books or people, of how we are supposed to achieve this. Self-awareness, detachment, letting go of failure, hurt, pain, being present—the list goes on and on.
Despite being fundamentally aware of what we need to do, why do we often fail to apply? Why are we all not at peace?
At times we might achieve small bouts of contentment—and I believe as we get older we get better at it—but why should this be the case if we know now what we’re supposed to be doing?
So here’s the realization, in all its simplicity:
Practice and patience.
Even peace of mind comes with daily practice and patience.
Just realizing this will improve our daily state of mind, regardless of how old we are.
We don’t need to think hard for examples to labor the point. To become great cooks we have to practice cooking; we have to master the recipes. Great athletes dedicate their lives to their sport. Yogis practice postures, singers exercise their voices. The same is true with what goes on in our heads.
We have to constantly remind ourselves to let go of the pain, hurt, failure, whatever it might be that is causing distress and cluttering our minds.
I say identify, resolve, and let go constantly. Repeatedly. Daily.
This is what I now do every day and particularly when stress, sadness, or frustration comes knocking at my door.
Let these random thoughts pass and if something needs to be done, do it. Otherwise, plan when you will get it done and deal with it at that necessary point. Then let it go. Let go of the thought and also the result and expectation tied to it.
Do this with everything that causes you stress and don’t punish yourself when you can’t or struggle to process—patience, remember?
I know it’s hard, but we can get better over time.
Practice the art of peace daily and have patience with it. All is coming.