Posted by: chibotaichi | August 19, 2012

The Brighter Side of Some Borrowed Wisdom

“It doesn’t get easier; You just get better.”

The first time I read this proclamation I immediately knew it resonated with me, but I didn’t really give it all that much thought. But with some passed-Time, I have found added depth.

On the surface, I perceived the statement as a motivational tool for athletic feats. Then I applied it to musical, or other endeavors of skill. But there was that common thread; there was the idea that this mantra was made for motivating.

Today, I see it instead as a reminder of achievement, without the urgency of Striving. The compulsory sentiment I perceived is no longer there allowing his little mantra to be much more powerful for me.

In spite of the Human capacity for distraction and dissatisfaction or dis-ease with the Present, we are, afterall, inhabitants of It. There are levels of Present which we easily become lost in, from time to time. Most of us are not programmed to readily analyze especially long-or-short term patterns.

The illusory plateaus of existence, where progress (nor its equal and opposite) appears to be halted, is often mistaken as a lull, or a stagnation; a moment of being stuck. But in those lulls, movement occurs and change happens, we just simply miss it because our perceptions are scanning the wrong frequencies and channels.

I often feel stuck or stagnant with my yoga and taiji practices, particularly when the pressure of teaching comes to a boil, but when I consider my ability in relation to the relative non-ease of both practices, I see a vast amount of growth and effort logged in the books.

In some of my classes recently, I’ve been watching a lot of people struggle with things that have become so mundane to me. It has been an excellent wakeup call, and reminded me that between “Beginner” and where I am now in my practice, are several stages which I have passed through (and of course others which I may have missed and will surely be visiting with in due time!) and that passage was simply a result of diligent effort. With Time and Effort, a certain competence can be achieved, but we must be cautious of equating competence with ease!

After years of practice, riding a bicycle is a breeze. But that doesn’t mean a downhill solo-ride is a good idea for the first bike ride of your life. Riding a bike isn’t especially easy at all. It requires complex motor-skills and a healthy dose of faith and courage! But we quickly tire of our own feats. This is crucial for a progressive populace.

But what’s wrong with being impressed by your own ability to ride a bike? Millions of toddlers across the globe CAN’T DO THAT! You are amazing!

The asana in yoga are each like a bike-ride. The first time can be scary, and even wildly unsuccesful…sometimes training-wheels need to be a part of the process. It will not get easier, waiting won’t help, you just have to try again.

The accomplishment of achieving that-pose-you-just-have-to-learn is nothing small. Plenty of people will never be able to do it. Never forget that. Even when it becomes a relative breeze, when you can get there with little thought or effort, remember that your ability is proof that it is NOT easy and you are incredible!


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