I always tell my son, who is in the ninth grade now, “Practice makes perfect baby, you need to practice, practice and practice all the time”!
My son invariably puts on an irritable countenance, and very pathetically replies, “What practice, practice Ma! I am getting tired and worn out with practice all the time!” He still does not feel the need to sit for 3 hours in a day and study. My husband keeps breathing down my neck and in turn I hang over my son’s head like a Damocles’ sword! A vicious loop we have at home.
A very dear member of our meditation group gave me a new insight on practice. During our small chit chats most of us ask this person how to measure the progress we have made in our meditation and how to assess where we stand today in comparison to when we began our abhyas (practice). “We have been practicing religiously for the last 3 years brother, or the last six months I have been very sincere, how close are we to our goal now?” He answered,” Practice is only 5% attitude is 95%! The attitude we have towards our practice gives us our progress or stagnation reading.”
Ok, was my thought, Every day one hour I do sit for meditation (my practice) but how many minutes in that one hour am I really meditating? I could recall barely 5-7 minutes on an average, the time frame when I am really meditating or thinking of my real goal. The rest of the time it is, either trying to evade inconsequential thoughts or a replay of events which are best forgotten! So for the last 3 years my progress is definitely proportional to the scattered 5-7 minutes of meditation only! The remaining time is, puff, gone with the wind.
The truth kind of hits us all equally hard I think, especially when it is personal experience which is the teacher. My son need not really sit and slog for 3 hours to practice for practice’s sake. If his heart is not in it, the attitude towards his studies will become rigmarole and tedious. His sitting at the study table for 3 hours for our sake will be a sham if his scores show no improvement. And they will definitely not show any change because he is anyway finishing his study time of 3 hours and doing nothing better than killing time twiddling thumbs. The practice is there, the attitude is missing!
When I was my son’s age an aunt I knew parroted only this line to her Son,”Dil petti chaduvvu nana!” (A combination of Telugu and Hindi (Indian languages), literally translated means: “Put your heart and study baby. Pettu is a Telugu word meaning to keep or to put something”) I used to find it so funny then. How can you put your heart and study! I mean literally place it in front of you!
She actually was very wise is what I realize today. You have to put your heart into whatever you do. Else the attitude is lost and practice becomes futile. So, kids and parents, “Dil petti cheyyandi, whatever you do ” (Put your heart and do! Whatever you do) and success has to follow you.