Pattabhi Jois was one of the 20th Century's most important and prominent yoga masters. He uttered many brief words of wisdom during his lifetime of teaching. Here is one of the more prominent of his philosophies:
Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory.
Indeed, in order to become really good at anything the most important thing is to simply show up. It's easy to get heady and try to explain how things are supposed to work, but there is so much learning to be had simply by showing up, exploring, and using direct experience to be the best teacher.
One of my and my partner Ed's favorite cable tv shows is The Incredible Dr. Pol. He is a veterinarian in Michigan and his clinic treats animals large and small, exotic and common. In a recent episode, he was helping a newly minted veterinarian fresh out of school with a surgical procedure she was struggling with. Paraphrasing Dr. Pol, he commented, "they don't really teach you how to do things in veterinary school. Really you have to just get into the practice and do it, and learn by doing."
Whether the goal is enlightenment or building a great organization, you've just got to show up and do the doing. In a world where so many people are constantly careening from one passion to another, the secret to being successful is just sticking with something for the long haul and do the daily doing. The author Elizabeth Gilbert spoke about creativity in an interview with On Being host Krista Tippett. In it, she said:
Everything that is interesting is 90% boring.
Paradoxical, yes, but true. Great things are built by hour after hour just showing up and as my friend Laurine likes to say "pad-dum, pad-dum" - ing over and over again.
Most moments of my own meditation practice are quite boring, but after having practiced on most days for the past 15 years or so, the results have been quite interesting. Overall, my life feels more stable than it did in the years prior. And I have a palpable sense that I am able to be more compassionate towards myself now than I was able to be in my early adult years.
May you just show up to practice whatever it is you're trying to get good at.
May the things your eventually create benefit all beings.
aloha, with metta,