SO HOW TO PRACTICE?
- First, we should understand what we are trying to do in our practice.
- Next, we should apply the methods.
- Finally, we should be diligent, unrelenting, vigorous and brave in our application of those methods. Simply put, practice consistently.
UNDERSTANDING OUR GOALS
I always ask my students to recognize their goals. Then I encourage them to broaden their scope, and push a little further. If their goals are only physical, I'll encourage them to reach those goals but to also think beyond. Ultimately, a good student's goals will line up with the genuine art of practice that their Master is passing to them. This may take time, but hopefully a student will come to this point, if not at first-eventually.
The goal is to reach the art of learning to let go, to quiet the mind and develop a higher level of wisdom and understanding. The irony is that the ones who strive the hardest to accomplish the fancier side, the physical techniques only - will be left empty of the spirit and depth of the true way of martial arts and practice. The longer they strive, the farther away the understanding becomes. So we must first recognize our short term goals, and try to have some long term goals that line up with the genuine way.
APPLICATION OF THE METHODS OF PRACTICE
This can be tricky. At Gold Summit we specialize in helping others with this. First we apply the methods we learn in class-during class. Then we learn to apply the methods of concentration, self awareness, good habits etc. outside of class. A good student will do the work outside, then work with their Teacher as often as they can. A good student will learn the way to be a good student, and continually strive for this. If you are unable to be a good student in your practice and in your respect, how will long term and high level results really come?
DILIGENCE AND VIGOR IN PRACTICE
What we think is patience, is often not the true test of patience. In the world now, everything is fast- what we want is often at our fingertips. This is an amazing thing in some ways. We can reach across the world to touch other cultures and people in just a few seconds, with almost no effort. But the downside to this is that we have no patience. We think putting in a few years into our practice should yield the results that we so desire. If it doesn't, we want to give up and go on to the next thing. Sometimes we want to blame our teacher or someone else for what we have not yet accomplished. Other times, we just don't believe its possible. The true test is whether or not you keep practicing ,using genuine cultivation methods, during these times. Keeping yourself healthy will allow you to have more vigor in your training. Keeping your mind from wandering and having a lot of bad habits, will help to keep you focused long term on your training and practice. Having good habits is key to staying focused. We can address this in another post.
Remember that its about letting go of our pre conceived ideas, our desire to protect ourselves at all costs from criticism, and slowly letting go of the ego that prevents us from hearing the truth. When we can work to let go, we can hear our inner wisdom, and we can tap into the ancient way of practice.