Episode 32 : Process Before Practice

A process painter working on a brightly colored painting in the San Rafael studio.

Whether it’s meditation, yoga, painting, writing or some other creative activity, many of us organize our lives around our practices.  But what happens in those inevitable moments when our practice seems stuck or stale? This talk explores the ways in which process provides the key to the door that's always right in front of us.

An excerpt from Process Before Practice . . .

As soon as we set ourselves up with any kind of measurement, we find ourselves caught in illusion, tangled with ourselves, and with seemingly no way out, because we’re not getting what we wanted. But we don’t know how to get what we wanted and we don’t like what we’re doing, and then we’re tempted to abandon. We’re tempted to react and to even destroy. There’s this challenge that any kind of practice is going to face us with.  And I think understanding the nature of it helps us to let go.  Essentially, that’s what required, is to let go.

I have a good friend, he says, “Let go of the let go,” because even the concept of letting go can become another goal, and we have to let go of that, too. But there’s a moment in which we face the fact of our own limitation.  And this may be the essential nature of a practice after all. The practice can’t take us to a place which is beyond the practice. The process is a priori, and it’s unlimited. That place that the process can take us to is not defined by the practice. The practice is not going to take us there, but the practice can point out to us the limitation that we’re imposing. It can bring us to the creative block that then provides the key, because the very blockage that we reach, at the very point of, “Alright, there’s no way I’m going to get what I want, this is not where I want to go, it’s not happening,” there’s a moment of truth telling, if you’re willing to take it. There’s a moment of potential surrender. You have to give up the goal. You have to give up where you think you want to get to. You have to give up the very conception of the practice that you’re involved in. You have to give up your very definition of it, and what you think you’re doing it for. And in that moment, there’s something real. There’s an authentic reality of yourself in recognizing you’re not getting what you want. This is a dropping down. This is a coming home. And interestingly enough, as soon as you do that, lo and behold, a door opens.

Listen to learn more!

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