Excellence is a matter of steps. Excelling at the first thing, then the second, and then the next. The process is about staying in the present and laying siege to the obstacle in front of you. It’s about not getting distracted by anything else that comes your way.
If you don’t take care of yourself, you cannot take care of others.
But if we adjust our perceptivity we no longer feel dragged along, passing too rapidly through life. This re-tuning of our perception of time–and of life itself–can be adjusted through certain forms of meditation. Basic Zen meditation, Vipassana meditation, Gurdjieff’s self-remembering methods, or the mindfulness methods of Jon Kabat-Zinn, allow us to exist more fully in the now, constantly returning to what is. Through certain meditative techniques we learn to actively return to the present moment, a process that takes us out of identification with the random churning of the ordinary mind. As we make contact with this wider perception, we’ll notice that time will seem to slow in an agreeable way. It feels miraculous when it happens, but it’s simply the result of an adjustment of attention. And it doesn’t have to be done sitting in a meditation posture–it can be done while doing housework, or taking a walk. “Walking meditation” is common in Zen and in Tibetan Buddhism.
How do we become one with the dharma, the Buddhist teachings? One way is through meditation practice, another is through study, and a third is through our behavior.
America may have invented flight—but it certainly didn’t perfect the art of getting there.