“When you are already in Detroit, you don't have to take a bus to get there.” ~ Ram Dass
...Or in the case of the book "Dharma Road," you don't have to take a cab... but it doesn't hurt! =)
I have a good friend of mine, ironically enough, nick named Buddha, who drove a cab for awhile. He had many strange adventures as a cabbie. Well, come to think of it, as long as I've known Buddha, he has had many strange adventures doing pretty much anything! Regardless, the idea here is of the journey and all of our strange adventures along the way. Which brings to mind the idea of a journey and practice (not the band Journey silly... Don't Stop Believin' was great at the prom and all, however it is time to put away your bic lighter and focus on what we were talking about). Practice is something that many people misunderstand. Many believe that practice is something done to obtain a certain amount of proficiency in an activity. I hear people say, "It's going to take a lot of practice to win the game," or "If you want to get better you'll have to practice." Certainly these statements are true, however they are a byproduct of something profoundly more meaningful. Your getting "good" at something is secondary. The idea of practicing for the sake of practicing is the essential point. Being "in process" is another way of expressing it. It's the journey folks and that never ends. It's ALL Practice. That about sums it up. There is really nowhere to arrive, you are there already. You are where you are and it is all just practice, every moment, every experience.
Now I know this is a difficult idea for many of you intrepid readers out there. "Practice for the sake of practicing!?" What kind of philosophical mumbo jumbo, doobie smoking, mountain meditating, granola crunchin', new agein' crap is that anyway?!? We want to put up something quantifiable to measure all of our hard work against. Give us metrics. Give us someone to compete against so we can feel as if we are making improvement and headway. And once we are good, then we'll have it all! Or maybe just check that off our ''to-do" list's and move on to other things we should get "good" at.
Now, there is nothing wrong with goals, competition, metrics or anything of that nature. Where the problem arises is when we put the goal ahead of the journey. When we put the competition ahead of the game and the game ahead of life and people, we create bigger problems. Our accomplishments are relative anyway. Relative on how we frame them. For many, when they don't get what they want they become unhappy, when they get what they want they are happy for the moment, then that quickly fades, falling back into discontent and then want something else to "make" them feel happy, or safe, or smart, or sexy or whatever.
What is "good" and "bad" anyway? Think about something that happened to you in which you originally believed to be "bad" only to find out that the experience lead to something positive. In fact the "positive" effect would have never happened if it weren't for the presumed "bad" event. Events are neutral. We put meaning to events. We associate them being bad or good dependent on our own wants, agenda and perspective. When our perspective changes so does our perception of what we see as bad or good.
It's about the journey gang. As my friend Jack Hoban says, Keep Going.
All the best,