Your practice is right in front of you: Find the perfection.

Car repair

Yes, there is value in setting aside some period of time each day to do some sort of formal practice. What do you do on those days when your schedule does not allow that?

In my case, this usually happens when I'm up in the middle of the night. In our house, sleep missed in the middle of the night results in a comparable re-setting of the alarm clock, which often squeezes out the formal practice time we set aside in the morning.

On such days, though, it would not be accurate to say that I have not practiced. As I have written on a number of occasions here, I can see practice in every moment of the day. The only question is whether I am conscious of the practice in each moment.

Let's take yesterday, for example. Up in the night (reading the news as practice -- see this blog post), alarm reset from 4:45 to 6:30. Formal practice cancelled. I hop in the car at 8:30 a.m. to get our car serviced. Every bit of that journey is practice -- the driving 23 minutes, the turning the car over to Patrick, the encounter with the cashier and the shmoozing Dave in the waiting area, the work I did on my laptop, the conversation with Patrick when he returned my keys to me, including a discussion of our college-age sons, and then the drive home with stops for groceries. Practice every step of the way. 

Every moment we are conscious we have a choice -- to open to the moment or to close to it. In the car repair scenario, the practice might be "I'm open to this drive, I open my heart to Patrick, to the cashier, to Dave, to every communication I have while in the waiting area, to the coffee I sip, to the people milling around me, to the conversation with Patrick about sons, to the trip to get groceries, to the cashiers there, to the food I buy, to the drive home. 

And, beyond being open, one more thing: the trick is finding the perfection in each moment. What if being "open to the moment" meant "consciously finding the perfection in each moment"? What would your practice look like then?

 

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