just be it It’s about the work involved in establishing a dedicated practice to feelings of a bigger belonging through practices aimed at increasing feelings of compassion, gratitude and forgiveness

Putting Attention to Form

Published on 02/02/10
by randy

Perfect balance requires proper form.

Perfect balance requires proper form.

It’s been said our attachments to a sense of ‘correctness’ grow our suffering and diminish our happiness.  It also seems that what we put attention to grows stronger.  So how does this play when learning a new skill set?  With proper attention to correct form our growth accelerates and we more easily remove obstacles to deepening our practice of a particular field of study.  Without proper initial instruction we may ignore correct form and place more and more attention to doing something that becomes an obstacle to deepening our practice.  We may develop a limiting habit obstructing our growth, simply because we’re placing more and more attention to incorrect form.  This has become a problem in our more liberated society where almost anything goes in the name of freedom.  Yet, we can see that real talent deepens with a resolve to disciplined practice under the guidance of a teacher well versed in proper form.  The illusion is that great talent just happens.  For sure, some have greater aptitude to develop skills in certain areas.  Yet, anyone who’s achieved greatness has a long history of associating with masters of form dedicated to precision on the road to style and liberation.

We’re born in harmony and rhythm, with a deep felt connection to all that’s around us.  And then we’re exposed to form.  There’s a correct way to do things.  We put attention to movement, we study how others move, we learn the structure of language, and we deepen our sense of connection with those in our presence.  Much of this is “pre-wired” and at some point we wish to explore a specialized skill. Anyone watching American Idol tryouts can see how we’ve lost our attention to discipline and form.  Contestants show up for audition with no previous discipline and instruction to singing.  Correct form is missing as they fail to find the harmony and rhythm of the song.  Correct form is necessary to find that felt sense of connection in the rhythm and harmony of life.  A lack of regard to form results in dissonance, a separation from harmony and rhythm, and suffering to those in its presence.

I once had a teacher working with me on proper form for meditation.  After years, the instruction became more and more subtle, forever directing me to correct bad habits, improper form.  Slight adjustments were made and when, after long sittings, my shoulders rose, he’d wake me to proper form with a loud crack of a stick on my shoulder.  Proper form is good because it requires our full attention.  With deepening practice, dedicated to proper form and one hundred per cent attention, we find our ‘best’.  Put another way, our dedicated practice allows us to face our tendency to separate from awareness to form and eventual ‘flow’.  This ‘flow’, ‘in the zone’ experience is once again touching the depth of nature’s harmony and rhythm.  It is the deep felt experience of connection, of our interdependence with all things.  Eventually we reach a level of performance where we disappear, no longer separated from our instrument, teammates, audience, environment, etc.   This place, achieved through deep attention to correct form, is a place of distinctive quality recognizable to all in it’s presence.  The individual’s vowed attention to deepening inspires us all to a felt sense of interconnection, touching Big Hope.  It’s a ‘feeling’ that relieves us from our suffering, from our sense of separation.  The creative artist’s deep work has given us a taste of the joined response.  This brief taste is the core of Just Be it and recognized as quality.  Good teachers recognize bad form as an obstacle to learning and know how to break the obstacles created from bad habit.  Good teachers know how to nurture the student’s passion, once again igniting the fire that needs no wood.  And good teachers know it may not be helpful to waste time on those students who refuse to dedicate to a deepening practice of proper form.  Learning correct form is difficult and uncomfortable.  However, once learned, it’s the foundation to finding comfort in the uncomfortable, the ingredient necessary to wrap around the uncertainty inevitable in the next level of performance.

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