by Light Watkins
My meditation teaching job includes preparing my students for the counterintuitive path to mastery:
It is a process of learning something new, applying it in a controlled environment, failing, asking questions, reapplying with new understanding, refining the approach, realizing they’re not actually failing even when it feels like they are, redefining success, breaking down old indoctrinations, doing homework, re-learning how to learn, replacing old habits, “failing” again, asking better questions, going back and doing it the wrong way just to see how far they’ve come, “failing” yet again, more homework, getting lucky, “failing,” then casting doubt on the whole thing.
After stopping for a while, they experience a crisis, then return to the path with humility, re-experiencing it again as if for the first time, getting re-inspired, following the protocol with more confidence, asking more nuanced questions, making the new habits non-negotiable, becoming process-oriented as opposed to outcome-oriented, redefining success yet again, taking tiny steps just to keep forward momentum, setting smaller goals, reviewing their past trajectory, adjusting for common mistakes, pre-empting future “failures” before they happen, adapting to change easier, completely letting go of the outcome, and committing to something larger than them.
I could keep going, but you get the point: mastery is multilayered, multifaceted, and dynamic, and therefore it is sometimes hard to know where we are in the process. But that’s precisely what it means to be “in the process.”
The more we stop thinking of mastery in linear terms, the faster we advance.
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