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Practice Make Perfect
Anyone who knows me knows that at any given moment, I’m reading at least three books. Well, the present is no different, and a line from one of the books I’m currently reading written by Thay is the focus of today’s post.
The line is ” … it is our duty to transcend words and concepts to be able to encounter reality.” And the reason it resonated with me is because in just a few words it represents why I believe the practice of mindfulness is so important (key word being ‘practice’!).
You see, to me, what that line represents is the idea that “notions” (or in other words, “words and concepts”) are hypothetical, hypothetical that is, until we put them into action. But once we do put them into action, they become our reality; they become all powerful. Put another way, talking, thinking, hoping, wishing, wanting–these are not enough to shape reality (ours or anyone else’s). Instead, we must transform talking, thinking, hoping, wishing, and wanting into action. Simple to articulate, but hard to enact, this principle applies to all dimensions of our lives–eating, relationships, work, fitness, you name it.
The beauty is though, when we do this over and over again, when we practice “transcending words and concepts,” over and over and over and over again, it does get easier. Reality flows more magically, and becomes more consistent with our desires. People may call us lucky or may appraise our lives as serendipitous, but we know better…
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The idea that words and concepts ought to be transcended is not a new idea, and it’s definitely not one confined to Buddhism, but in my opinion, it is an idea that is extremely hard for many folks, including myself, to actually do (at least consistently). This is probably why author Tim Ferriss offers an exercise requiring folks to actually lay down in the middle of a crowded, public place as a step towards embracing action, rather than words and concepts alone.
In the end, I’m not sure that folks need to go to such extremes to transcend words and concepts, but I do think Ferriss, Thay, and others have the right idea. To get to where we want to be, to where we want our families, our communities, society to be, we have to transcend words and concepts. Repeatedly. And in time, I’m wholeheartedly convinced, that we’ll see the fruits of our labors. After all, practice does make perfect.