“Watching great people do what you love is a good way to start learning how to do it yourself.”
― Amy Poehler,
Most things worth doing take practice. Remember your first day at your first job? Learning the multiplication tables? Playing anything worth hearing on a musical instrument? It takes practice to get to a comfort zone, familiar feeling, and facility with whatever tool you are trying to “master.” The same goes for practicing mindfulness and meditation. It can be easy and natural to feel “present” while you’re doing something totally absorbing like skiing, attending a Billy Joel concert, or lying on the beach – you can relate to that feeling of being “in the moment,” right? For instance, while they are enjoying a great downhill ski run most people don’t think about their grocery lists. They don’t think about the dry cleaning or how much time they have left before taxes are due. But during day-to-day actions like driving, shopping, and checking email, it can be difficult to focus without thinking about a million different other things. I can’t promise that practicing mindfulness can take all of those errant thoughts away. But I can promise that if you practice 10 minutes of mindfulness, yoga, or meditation for 10 days you will improve your ability to focus, feel more peaceful, and be patient.
We learned how to ride bikes by practicing. Nobody in the history of biking hopped on a bike for the first time with full knowledge of steering, balancing, and gliding. I don’t care how many books you read about biking, how many people explained it, or who else was there during your first time on a bike – you had to practice to “get it.” Your mind is a wild bicycle. It is as wild and untamable as the first time you tried to ride a bike with no practice. Practice gave you a sense of familiarity, a physiological feedback loop, and trained your brain and body to partner with the bike to make it do what you wanted it to do.