Committing to home practice is such a transformational step that it’s very easily turned into a goal, an item on the to-do list, a get-through-to-get-done: in short, a duty.
And setting aside the time on your calendar or to-do list can be an effective method for keeping this promise to yourself. But how to maintain the practice mind and not slip into goal seeking?
Here’s what I mean: One morning you set your alarm a little early – 20 or 30 minutes to start – and feel triumphant because you kept this promise to yourself. And the practice, short though it was, transformed your day and was filled with moments of sunlight and inspiration. Three weeks later, the alarm rings again, you find yourself on the same mat with the sunlight streaming in, but can’t keep from pushing yourself through the poses you’re working, measuring your progress from yesterday, and none too flatteringly. What a way to start the day!
What happened to that first morning’s lightness and joy in the practice? What happened to that blinding insight from the Bhagavad Gita, something about releasing the fruits of action, putting your heart in but non-attachment to outcomes?
If the “goal” is to meet yourself on your mat every morning, you’ve satisfied “duty” by arriving. Before you do anything, ask yourself one question: “What do I really want?” Maybe it’s more sleep. Fine, take legs up the wall, or yoga nidra. Maybe you’re feeling a backbend. Cool, warm up with some gentle heart openers like sphinx and cobra. Or maybe you need a good laugh or cry. Nice, that’s pranayam.
You might even find that when you follow it, your desire changes, transforms into something that supercedes goal, need and thought.
You are what your deep, driving desire is.
As your desire is, so is your will.
As your will is, so is your deed.
As your deed is, so is your DESTINY. ~Upanishads
- Would Krishna Ride a Motorcycle? (psychologytoday.com)
- Lifehacker, tips and downloads for getting things done (m.lifehacker.com)
- Skillful Means: GTD – Let the lists fall where they may (intelligentaction.blogspot.com)
- Why ‘What’s the Next Action’ is the Most Important Question | zen habits (zenhabits.net)