Tuesday, January 18, 2011

(70) Remember that You Become What You Practice Most

Repeated practice is one of the most basic principles of most spiritual and meditative paths. In other words, whatever you practice most is what you will become. If you are in the habit of being uptight whenever life isn't quite right, repeatedly reacting to criticism by defending yourself, insisting on being right, allowing your thinking to snowball in response to adversity, or acting like life is an emergency, then, unfortunately, your life will be a reflection of this type of practice. You will be frustrated because, in a sense, you have practiced being frustrated.

Likewise, however, you can choose to bring forth in yourself qualities of compassion, patience, kindness, humility, and peace - again, through what you practice. I guess it's safe to say that practice makes perfect. It makes sense, then, to be careful what you practice.

This isn't to suggest that you make your entire life into a great big project where the goal is to be constantly improving yourself. Only that it's immensely helpful to become conscious of your own habits, both internal and external. Where is your attention? How do you spend your time? Are you cultivating habits that are helpful to your stated goals? Is what you say you want your life to stand for consistent with what your life really stands for? Simply asking yourself these and other important questions, and answering them honestly, helps to determine which strategies will be most useful to you. Have you always said to yourself, "I'd like to spend more time by myself," or "I've always wanted to learn how to meditate," yet somehow you've never found the time? Sadly, many people spend more time washing their car or watching reruns of television shows they don't even enjoy than they do making time for aspects of life that nurture their hearts. If you remember that what you practice you will become, you may begin choosing different types of practice.


Anonymous said...

It seems you may have forgotten to credit the original author of this post, Richard Carlson. This excerpt comes directly from his book, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff (And it's all small stuff)

Tumultuous Silence said...

Yup, you're right, I didn't credit the original author in every post. Instead I credited him in the original post, i.e. read post number 1. :)