Practice (verb): perform (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain one's proficiency. In order to gain some level of mastery or competence over a particular skill or technique, it requires great effort and dedication. Sportsmen and women dedicate hours and years of their lives, practicing, in order to achieve their level of athletic achievement. Reflecting on my earlier years as a competitive swimmer, at the peak of my practice, I was clocking in 5 hours a day in the pool and another hour perhaps on weight training and stretching.
I am grateful to have built some incredible friendships in recent years, with people who are not only honest and sincere, but who inspire and nourish my soul. In this current world of increased self centeredness, it is all the more necessary for us humans to truly connect with each other. We, not I.
When a group experiences or deals with an issue, no two persons in the group will mentally interpret the issue exactly the same way, nor will any two persons experience the same exact emotions around it. This may be due to information asymmetry (amount of information shared or duration of time provided for digestion of the 'facts'), historical experiences of individuals, personal biases, and so forth. This is the beauty of us humans - we are all different individuals. However, if the group is able to collectively share a 'group' motivation or purpose that is beyond or larger than any one person's interest, then the proposed plan or path taken, and resulting outcomes would be celebrated by all within the group. A "Tribe" is born.
Often we are too busy with our pursuits to enjoy the simple beautiful moments that truly mean so much. Our baby's laughter, a hug from grandma, breakfast made by a spouse, or just a friendly call from a friend. These moments pass. They come, but if you do not respond quick enough, they disappear and move on. Recently my dearest daughter has been asking to sit in my lap and asking for hugs from papa. Fortunately I have been mindful enough to seize the opportunity to enjoy these simple moments. Priceless indeed.
The next time someone tells you that you have the attention span of a goldfish, you should rejoice at the compliment. A Microsoft survey in 2013 seems to suggest that the attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds, while the average attention span of a human is 8 seconds. That has fallen dramatically from 2000 where the average attention span of a human was 12 seconds. We may all blame the advent of social media and the rise of the smartphone. I would rather focus on exercises and practices with the goal of outperforming a goldfish.
We grow up honing our ability to apply pressure and tension physically - cracking an egg, ripping open a packet of crisps, hammering a nail, closing the car door and so forth. We develop a sense of the amount of strength, pressure and tension that we need to apply to the tasks at hand. The same also applies to effectively leverage the potential of our minds. We may hone these mental skills through meditation. For example, during single pointed meditation such as meditation on the breath, we focus and place our mind onto the object of meditation. However, the state of our mind cannot be too lax or we would be in a general state of dullness, nor should the state of the mind be too tense, with too much pressure applied resulting in the grasping at the object of meditation. During mediation, we experience the dancing of 2 'minds' the mind that focuses on the object of meditation, and the mind that is aware of what the mind is focusing on The ability to apply the necessary amount of 'pressure' on our object of meditation, and to apply a gentle amount of 'force' to guide our minds back to the object of meditation requires practice.