In Search of the Ideal
Practice can be hard, even on some of the best days. As I sit here chugging orange juice while surrounded by used tissues, it seems a little impossible to practice. There are times that I can barely breathe through my nose. I don’t want to sit on my cushion so much as I want to lay down in bed.
We so often look for the ideal scenario to practice in: “I can’t sit today because I didn’t get enough sleep.” We do this to even begin practice: “Oh, I’ll start after I get that job and life is less stressful.”
Life is never going to be what you think is ideal. I can’t wish away this cold any more than you can wish more time in the day. What if you don’t get the job you think will change everything? Why are you holding back from something that could benefit you in whatever the situation? Putting off my sitting practice until I can breathe through my nose just means that I am missing out on an important part of my day and overall experience.
Practice is a thing that is designed to help us, even in the moments when we don’t/won’t/can’t practice. Your practice can support you wherever you are, if you let it. For me with this cold, it’s helping me to slow down a little bit and just experience what’s going on, as opposed to pushing away the sickness. The cold is going to run its course and no amount of force on my part will help (though I’ll stick to my orange juice because it’s delicious). Practice helps me to see that and be okay with it. It helps me find a little patience in the cloud of tissues.
Searching for the ideal when/how/why to practice is just as fruitless as searching for the car/job/thing that will create your ideal life. You’d be surprised at what ideal really is when you get down to it. Maybe the ideal is now.