May 2013 : Inner Sincerity
How much practice do we need to do? What constitutes practice? I was recently asked to write about “one practice or many?” My thoughts on that are included in an article attached to this newsletter. There is a process of practice and a progress of practice. I have seen both over the many years of my practice and watched it all evolve. There is no one exact formula as each of our live’s circumstances are unique. Within that are various stages and phases of life that deliver varying levels of challenge and stress. The one constant I have had is my practice yet it has evolved and changed as years have gone by. Fortunately it has been much guided by my teacher. However, you reach a point where it has become part of you and then keeping up the practice, however much, is part of a daily life that interacts with the different priorities. To take care of family, personal needs, work, is necessary and should not be avoided due to an escape into practice. Likewise, though, don’t let constant patterns of work make you avoid some level of practice. So it comes down to getting the balance right. Small amounts, ten-minutes a day, is worth more than occasional trojan efforts. To keep in the rhythm serves you best. Do not feel any guilt for having missed any level of practice thus far. Just resolve to say “I can do ten minutes”. You can sit, breathe, give thanks, do one or two asanas or sun-salutes. Feel good about that. If you continue to meet your other obligations of family, work, study and not escape in them, but balance both of these, just like not escaping in practice, then you are practicing in a most holistic and true to life way. It comes down to more about the content of your heart, the direction of your mind, more so than time on a yoga mat or cushion. However, stay connected with time on the mat or cushion. More effort is required in learning it and building a habit. To maintain it will require less effort but equal sincerity. It comes down to your inner sincerity. That is a product of the content of your heart, the direction of your mind. Keep examining that while still doing something you have learnt, even if just a little, while keeping up your other responsibilities. It is possible, we have the potential, we can access it. In fact, all that together is “tapas”.
I wish you the best.