There was a devoted man, a self-taught yogi on a deserted island in the middle of the ocean. He had all of these devotional practices that were half based on Hindu rituals and half what he had made up. One day a distinguished master from a prominent lineage came to the island on a boat. He saw this man doing his rituals.
He said, “Sir, you’ve got so many things to work on, so many problems, you're getting it all wrong.”
The man was humble and eager to learn and the master taught him many lessons and corrected his mistakes. At the end of the lessons the master felt satisfied he had straightened him out. Soon it was time for the master to leave.
As the master began to sail away on his boat the man on the island came running across the top of the water yelling, “Sir, I forgot! Do you put this mudra here or there?”
Upon seeing the man running on top of the water the master yelled, “No problem, do whatever you were doing!”
The message of this story is that your choices, efforts, devotion, sacrifices, visions, and dedication are what have the most weight in your practice. Sure the entire list of outer rules play an important role in guiding you safely and effectively along the path but while attempting to follow the rules and be a good student/person never forget to value your own try, your own mind, senses, and body. No matter how others may perceive you or how tiny, halting, unskilled, unorthodox, odd, immature, unusual, different, or outside the norm they might seem.
From the first day you practice, and then onward into the distant future, place deep implicit trust in yourself. Trust in the way that you see, feel, hear, and do things small and large. Make learning and evolving in your practice about being more and more absorbed in whatever grabs ahold of you. Follow what you love with a ferocious passion. Follow your instincts, yearnings, and inner promptings farther and farther and farther within yourself.
Be open to accepting instruction. Aim to be teachable and allow yourself to be taught but also keep in mind that any original perception, insight, or knowing that comes from within your own skin will ultimately be more valuable, accurate, fitting, true, and useful for you. Seen in this light, you can rejoice in the harsh fact that you walk alone through your life from birth to death. You can learn to become more self-reliant and find more ease in walking down the independent, uncharted, unique path that is in store for you. This is the path you must fully own in order to attain the prize of Self-knowledge and be a part of creating the world according to your visions of beauty, peace or justice.