Practice? So when is the performance?

In my journey to being an entrepreneur and learning about mindfulness and yoga I realise that actually doing the work through a regular (daily) practice is the best way for me become more confident, happy and fully engaged. The word practice is a word that I find every day on my path. When I read a book, being in a yoga class, in YouTube videos. It became a word I often used. But somehow this word never really made sense to me.

“Practice? So when is the performance?”

Mold or pretty flowers

I was listening to the Be Here Now podcast which hosts guest speakers who are well known spiritual leaders. In this podcast Gil Fronsdale was leading a retreat talk about suffering.

During his talk he works with the metaphor of darkness and lightning.
Darkness is a condition for some things to grow, such as mold. Black mold, dark green, grey mold. And some things only grow and sprout with lighting. This metaphor is an easy bridge to the darkness in you, in your heart or your gut. Are you ready to shine the light of awareness through mindfulness so the seeds in you can sprout? Can open the curtains to welcome all that is able to grow in this light? How to do this, Gil asks, through practicing mindfulness. But then Gil makes a distinctive remark on the word practice. Which really appeals to me.

How to open the curtains?

For me as a visual person these metaphors really help me to get better in my mindfulness and yoga practice. There is this word ‘practice’ again. In the Buddha’s language the word practice is not used. It actually is a strange word we use.

Robert Thurman became tired of all the buddhist continuously saying practice, practice, practice. That he asked; ‘So when is the performance?’ I laughed out loud when hearing this. Because it was so recognizable to me and it gave words to the feels I had with this word practice.

The word the Buddha used is Bhāvanā. This literally means to cultivate or to grow something. In my mind and heart this has a very different feeling when I say I’m cultivating something.

‘I’m going to sit down to practice mindfulness’
‘I’m going to sit down to cultivate mindfulness’

Do you feel the difference? Practice feels like it’s a technique thing.
But what happens when you ask: what are you cultivating?

So there is a distinctive difference between practicing something or cultivating something. To be able to cultivate something you need technique, you need guidelines, information about the topic. This is the practice. But once you’re implementing this in your life Something else is happening, you are cultivating. Something is growing in the light.