Practice Makes Perfect

Practice Makes Perfect
by Starcat

We’ve all heard the saying “practice makes perfect,” and applied it to our personal projects. When we’re learning something new, whether it’s knitting or kickboxing or guitar, we understand that we’ll need to continue to practice until we’re proficient. It seems obvious that in physical or intellectual pursuits, repeated practice is a necessity.

Yet often when we set ourselves a spiritual or emotional goal, we forget that we won’t be accomplished at it right away. If we’d like to be more compassionate, or patient, or calm, we sometimes feel that because we’ve declared our intention, then we’re all done! We may become easily frustrated when we slip back into our old habits. But as with any other new activity, practice is a key part of the process.

When you decide to make a change like this, sit down and reflect on how you can help yourself practice. There are many ways to do this: decide on one deliberately compassionate act you can do each day, create an affirmation or mantra relating to patience that you can chant to yourself, or practice deep breathing for ten minutes every morning. By creating your own ways to practice, you’ll help yourself become better and better at your chosen skill.

Just as you probably wouldn’t set out to learn six musical instruments at once, add your new spiritual skills gradually. As you learn and become more proficient, you’ll be able to add new goals and let them build upon the ones you’ve already mastered. Have patience with yourself, and forgive yourself when you have a rough day and forget to practice. You can always come back to center and try again. You might want to start a journal so you can see how far you’ve come over time. And most important, enjoy the process! It’s fun to learn new things and to see your progress along your chosen spiritual path.