Practice Makes Progress
Lisa Pozzoni, one of our certified Chi Running instructors came up with a great line that hits the nail on the head in terms of how to approach learning, "Practice makes progress." It's a play on that old phrase that has made students of any discipline uptight for centuries. I like it because it puts the emphasis on practice instead of perfection, which we all know is infinitely elusive.
I've been practicing for 45 years, and in all of the time that's passed, I've enjoyed this path most when I was not looking for results. My most memorable meditations have been when I've simply allowed myself to "do nothing."
With my running it's similar, but different. I know that when I pay attention to what's happening in my body and in the world I'm moving through, I can fall into a sort of "silent dialog" between my feet and the earth. It feels like an intimate "conversation" filled with impressions and responses. In this way my running practice allows me to experience those wonderful but all-to-brief moments of presence. To strive for perfection in the midst of this would only serve to break the flow of the conversation.
Where "progress" comes in is when I feel myself falling into that hyper-alive-yet-relaxed state with increasing ease as another year passes. Practice makes progress.
When I can consistently practice the Chi Running focuses, I set up the conditions for progress to happen. At first I sensed progress as an ease in my of running, where speed and distance seem to come more naturally and with less effort. With more years of practice I have begun to sense it eeking its way into other areas of my life; as an ability to pay attention; as a sense of presence and inner strength… in conversations with people, at work; or finding myself being more calm in challenging situations.
In my own experience I have found that my practice has no end, and that perfection is not something I create, but something I discover. What I am seeing more and more clearly, is that everything has a perfection of its own and it's my "path" to get myself out of the way enough to see it.