Every morning I walk to the park near my house and go through a particular routine. Though there are variables in the routine, it always contains the same basic building blocks. I start with some simple qigong to warm up. Then I walk in circles. That’s right, circles. After I’ve worn a groove in the wet grass, I add a series of complex directional changes. These probably look quite dazzling and strange to the dog walkers passing by. I’m sure they have absolutely no clue what I’m doing. For the most part, they politely ignore me. Every once in a while an over friendly off leash dog will bound up and shove a wet face up against me, knocking me out of my circle. This is all part of the practice.
Some of you may recognize what I’m doing as a martial art called Bagua Zhang. Not that it matters. It could be any type of practice that one takes up in life. The point is what it gives to your life. A kung fu practice (and by that I mean anything to which you devote yourself for a long period of time with commitment, fascination, and dare I say love, in order to develop your skill,) hones your character. Kung Fu is uncanny in its ability to both delight and frustrate you. You can continually improve, but like a mirage that keeps receding as you trudge longingly towards it, you can never seem to get where you’d like to be with it.
So you keep going to the park every morning. You keep walking that stupid circle. Even when you didn’t get enough sleep, or feel grumpy, or stiff, and would rather be doing just about anything else. Because you know now how much you’d miss that morning session.
And when all hell is breaking lose in your life, when it’s really hard to keep it together because lots of crazy stuff is going on, and you just don’t know how to deal with whatever big boulder is coming at you…..well at least you know you’ve got your practice, and your practice will always be there for you. And somehow, you’re not even sure how this happened, the fact that you got up every morning and showed up, and dealt with the crazy Labrador retriever that kept knocking into you, and did this day after day for who knows how long….somehow this has made you strong.
So you keep practicing……