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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Perseverance

I read the following taoist saying recently:
     People are constantly spoiling projects that are only one step away from completion.


Whatever we wish to accomplish in life, there will be obstacles along the way that must be overcome.  It is how we face these obstacles that will determine whether we succeed in our endeavors, or not.  In my experience, it seems that the largest, most challenging obstacles come right before we reach the end point.  It is as if we are expected to demonstrate - one last time - that we really intend to complete the project we've taken on.

Perseverance is the most important quality in accomplishing any goal or intention in life.  Very few projects we take on are actually impossible, unless we give up before we finish. Our ability to "hang in there" until we've completed something will determine what we accomplish.

In our spiritual practice, too, perseverance is essential.  There is no end point in our spiritual practice - no specific goals.  Our practice is only about a continuous expansion, a growth  in awareness.  Yet, the challenges we face in our practice require as much "stick-to-it-iveness" as any in our life.

There are days when the day's events overwhelm all that I experience in my practice; times when I feel trapped in unhelpful thoughts.  Even after years of practice, I sometimes experience frustration in my meditation, unable to calm the mind or the relax body.  This is when I most need to persevere in my practice.  I've learned that the most powerful insights and breakthroughs on my spiritual path often come as a result of moving through a difficult time period.

The most challenging times are, of course, when we most want to give up.  Don't.  Instead, use these times as a chance to show yourself that you can persevere.  When you are struggling, spend more time on the yoga mat, not less.  When you are having difficulty concentrating or relaxing, return to your meditation practice, and give it another chance.  Stay with it, and something wonderful will happen.

Namaste
Joe

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