“The point of this tip is not moral; it’s neural. Simple, humble spaces help focus attention on the deep-practice task at hand: reaching and repeating and struggling. when given the choice between luxurious and spartan, choose spartan. Your unconscious mind will thank you.”
-Tip #6, The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills, Daniel Coyle
Day 336 and 337 – The path to wellness, i.e., wholeness, is a long, winding one. We are born–most of us, at least–to some degree, into a state of opportunity to become happy, healthy adults. Nonetheless, despite our birth circumstances, so many people, who never particularly lacked opportunity, fail to place one step on this long, winding path. And, while I could go on and on about many of my students, born into a horror of a chaotic and unstable household and equally topsy-turvy, unsettled external world setting and culture, it feels like this has been the case for thousands of years of humankind.
Today’s reading was about practice of dhyana, meditation, with dharana, a quiet mind found through focused effort. Dharana leads to dhyana; dhyana is the place where effort becomes effortless, the veritable flow of good work. Rolf explains, writing: “Think of dharana and dhyana as aspects of the anatomy of excellence in action. Equipped with a model of how we and others have achieved excellence, we can better prepare ourselves to live our dreams.” Indeed, these are both “skills we can cultivate.” Iyengar describes flow as the place where “psychological and chronological time come to a standstill.”
The long, winding road is filled with potholes, twists and turns, obstructions, delays, and missteps. The skills we develop and practice throughout our journey are part of our spiritual journey to return “light to light.” My heart resounds with a “yes, yes, yes!” as I think of being born of Love and being returned to Love, feeding the magnificent Love cosmos which has sustained us all, not just on the long, winding road. On every level, neural, physical, and spiritual, a skill must be practiced and cultivated. It doesn’t require devices, frills, and whatnots; it is helped by teachers, mentors, fellow human beings, and self-reflection. Who knows where this long, winding road will take us? Yet, each of us is on it (whether we know it or not). Love is calling us Home.