How many times did you hear that as a child? If you were an athlete or a musician, probably more times than you want to remember. Practice makes perfect. It seems at once obvious and suspect. Without practice there’s no way to progress; but progress to perfection? Perhaps the old adage promises more than it can deliver.
Deepak Chopra begs to differ. We had the opportunity to hear and be with him while we were on vacation at the Chautauqua Institution. His presence was attractive and amazing, filled with wisdom and grace. Chopra, a respected endocrinologist, has become a leader in the integration of Eastern and Western medical traditions. He sees and articulates the convergence of spirituality and science with great clarity, authority, and hope.
Practice makes perfect, Chopra believes, not because of what we can accomplish through our own heroic efforts but because of what we can receive as we draw close to the perfection that lies under the surface of our everyday lives. The universe is already perfect, “and God saw that it was good,” we just need to drink deeply from the well of this perfection. Practice enables us to stay hydrated with love.
That really is a wonderful concept: staying hydrated with love. Athletes know that to get through a long test of endurance, such as a marathon, they have to be well hydrated. The body can lose a lot of fluid in 3 to 4 hours of vigorous exercise. Drinking more than a gallon of water a day can assist runners to finish the race in style.
So too when it comes to the race of life. To go from a single cell in your mother’s womb to a complex organism of body, mind, and spirit and then to sustain that organism to a ripe old age is no less of a marathon. Most of us do not manage to finish the race in style. Instead, we end up shriveling our body, mind, and spirit until we eventually squeeze them out of existence.
It does not have to be this way, however. Chopra goes so far as to suggest that with practice human beings can learn to substantially lengthen and strengthen their lives. We can come close to the intelligent perfection, what Chopra calls the “ever-present witnessing awareness,” out of which we were created and for which God created life in the first place.
How do we practice for perfection? How do we stay hydrated with love? By exercising the body, mind, and spirit in the time-tested disciplines of love. They aren’t that hard to understand, or even to imagine. They have about them the air of common sense. But too often we allow the stress and strains of life to block them from view and to keep us from practicing them on a regular basis. In the hands of a master artist like Chopra, such common sense exercises become magical and attractive to even the busiest and most distracted among us.
For the next two to three months I am going use my weekly LifeTrek Provision to lift up different exercises for the body, mind, and spirit. These concentric circles of being build upon and connect with each other, so my discussion of the exercises may not be linear. When I get all through, however, they will form a beautiful picture of life, a vision of perfection, an optimum quality of being that is not beyond the reach of anyone. I hope you’ll want to join me for the journey.
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC