“If your effort is headed in the wrong direction, especially if you are not aware of this, it is deluded effort.” Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind

For many years, my effort was headed in the wrong direction. I was more attached to the number of hours I practiced than the quality of the work itself. I counted the number of repetitions faithfully, aiming for technical perfection, but ignored my body in the process.

My routine reigned supreme. I would do the same warm up daily with a religious fervor, feeling uncomfortable performing if I didn’t get my full warm up in. I would begin practice at the same time every day, and have an awareness of the time passing as a constant in my practice.

Part of my retraining process has been to analyze the way I sense time as it is passing. Daily meditation has transformed this sensation for me. Although, like most private teachers, through habit I know where I am in the hour of any student’s lesson, I don’t have that same sense in my own work anymore. I can more easily get lost in a task, or not feel the need to know how much time has passed in an activity. As a result, time seems to be moving more slowly which gives me time to inhibit the dystonic movement.

Title from Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 2 (“We are all time’s subjects, and time bids be gone.”)

 

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