When Practice Isn’t Perfect: Your Best Effort Toward Consciousness is Good Enough

frustrated woman pictureHere we are, about to say goodbye to the month of January, and maybe goodbye to those New Year’s resolutions. Remember the resolutions? Maybe your list included taking a yoga class. Or getting back into a meditation practice. But the new committment came with conditions. You had to change your schedule, or block out some time in your busy day. And now we find that what we promised we’d do is not so promising after all. It’s easy to fall into the habit of perfection and not so easy to   meet the expectations we set up for ourselves.

You’re moving along on your spiritual path, and you deserve to feel good about it. Just remember that you don’t have to achieve perfection. It’s okay to have moments of intense reaction. Someone cuts in front of you on the freeway or in the grocery store line. You may feel angry and then guilty over your reaction. Suddenly the spiritual capital you built up seems to have turned to vapor. Be patient with yourself. It will do more to keep you on the path than letting ego’s striving for perfection give you a bad report card. Challenges will pop up from time to time so look at them as temporary events rather than as a part of who you are.

Your situation is different from others’ and your behavior will be an outgrowth of your experiences. It’s possible that you will never stop having strong reactions to your everyday situations. But if you do no more than notice what you’re feeling and know that there’s little you can do about it over time you’ll be able to change your reaction. Think of it as consciousness calisthenics.

Negative thoughts will come. With time and patience you can learn to let them go by without giving in to them. Your practice may not be perfect, but you’ll find peace in knowing that you are doing the best you can.

JohnK 1-30-2013

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