Ok, ok I know practice and Saturday do not belong in the same sentence. But wait I have a student who has taken up the practice of writing to me on saturday’s about her practice, she calls it ‘saturday practice’. Maybe she’s crazy but, to be fair, at least only her brain muscles stand the chance of getting sore! She shares with me an insight that has come to her over the week. This speaks to me of the importance of building reflection into your practice. And I’m saying to create an organized structure for reflection such as setting aside one day week for writing down reflections and insights that come to you over the week.
Setting aside a specific day for it and committing to writing your thoughts down will help substantiate the process for you. There’s supreme value in entering into a tangible dialogue with yourself about your practice that is more valuable than having an informal ongoing dialogue in your head. This Saturday practice will help you develop your practice now, and also it can become a chronicle, a marking of the different phases of learning and experience that you go through over the course of time. It can serve you as something to look back upon, to learn from, and later to appreciate where you have been, sort of like taking photo’s and having them to enjoy later.
To practice, practice, practice without reflection is to miss out on some of the best rewards for your efforts. Practice is intended to give you self knowledge, and don’t be fooled into thinking that self knowledge is something grand, distant or esoteric. Practice gives you an excellent entry point into the most thrilling, elusive, and baffling game there is: answering the question “‘who am I?”.
So what if you can never know entirely who you are, what would be the fun in that? The fun is in exploring the mystery of yourself without requiring any final, conclusive answer to the question. When you really look, and start to keep tract of your self discoveries you see that there is no single ‘you’. You are continually changing, and new things about who you are pop up each time you become meditatively aware. And that is the purpose of practice-to become meditatively aware.
Giving yourself the space and the time to reflect on and record some aspect of self that manifests within you is a gift that you can choose to give to yourself, a reward to savor. And also a practice that could serve to help you pass through those many times of when you do have to drag yourself to the mat because you’ve forgotten that practice is nothing more than play, and appreciating the miracle of each renewing moment.
My student writes to me, but she does it for herself. She doesn’t expect a response from me. Because the value of the ‘saturday practice’ is found exclusively within you–it is from you, by you, for you. I do enjoy her writings and I welcome any of you to share your reflections and insights with me, especially if writing to me will help you to sit down and do it each week. Enjoy, OM! David