[Monday Message] Practice makes perfect

Spiritual practice implies action; practice is a verb as well as a noun. Sitting around and talking about it is merely philosophy, which is nice, but doesn’t get you anywhere until put into practice.

Practice also implies that we’re not going to be doing it perfectly any time soon. Lama Khemsar Rinpoche has been known to reply to people saying they’re not good at meditation, “That’s why it’s called a practice and not a perfect.” Practice requires discipline and dedication in order to keep working at it. It requires willingness (non-reluctance), which gives one the ability to do something even when they don’t want to.

The best way

to make sure you are staying in action is to have things that you can do on a daily basis that center you on your path and help move you forward, things that you do whether you feel like it or not, just to keep the movement going. I often recommend that people carry a running list (usually on their phone, since we seem to have those with us all the time now) of their tools. Make sure these are things that mean something to you or that help you feel more centered or that help you to feel connected to the Divine – if it doesn’t have a big oomph for you, it’s not a useful tool, even if it works well for someone else.

This may require some experimentation to see what tools are your tools

Just make sure you’re not discarding a tool just because you don’t do it well the first time. Some tools to check out might be

    • Keeping a dream journal
    • Writing every morning
    • Prayer
    • Chanting
    • Grounding
    • Mediation
    • Affirmations
    • Stating your intent
    • Calling the directions
    • Ritual bath
    • Checking in with your protection and/or guidance
    • Stating your intent for the day every morning
    • Worship with others
    • Listening to, or even singing along with, a specific piece of music that makes you feel connected
    • Taking at least five minutes to step outside and breathe, and allow yourself to feel connected to nature
    • Yoga
    • Quigong
    • TaiChi
    • Other forms of sacred breath or sacred movement
    • Walking a labyrinth

Take a few moments each day to try at least one of these and see what resonates for you.

This post is part of a series called Monday Message, based on that day’s reflection from 365 Days to Enlightenment (authorized versions are currently out of print, working on a new edition). Check back next Monday for another one! You can also sign up for the Daily Message on my mailing list if you’d like to receive a new reflection every day. I also often post them to Instagram, if that’s a medium you enjoy.

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