Good Practice #2
Don’t Show and Tell
This is my practice. I don’t talk about it at dinner parties. No one wants to serve the indigestible to their peers. Don’t read and write about it. No one wants to waste their life lesson on cheep parlour tricks: I’ve read all about it, now I’m going to write a book and become famous. Ya, right. Seriously, the practice is made from small segments of information that I call a lesson. I usually write out a slogan that I keep to meditate about and perform throughout the day. Like a jigsaw puzzle, these lessons fit together and create patterns or practices that I master as part of my day to day behaviour. If I read or write about them at all, it is more to confirm the practice or to identify the next piece of the puzzle. Most of my writing is a journal in a reflective style which is more like a sounding board than prose or creative non-fiction.. And most of my reading is a kind of personal research to find more information on a good practice. So now that all the glamour is removed there should only be one reason to do this work. Do you know what it is? Good Practice #3.
Why Do Good Practice?
I laugh at my pride and prejudgement. But that is what probably got me started in this direction. For me, I had a difficult time learning my basic learning skills. I’ve always struggled with anything good in my life. And I am attracted to this struggle through good practice. I see patterns in everything. I believe this is a talent we all have to some degree. But the desire or need to express this talent through good practice requires a lot of work. So my motivation is based on the need to struggle and use my pattern finding ability. Sounds good, but why go through the pain and suffering that tends to occur while practicing these lessons? The integration of these life patterns occur when I behave in the manner of the lesson. My undigested information can start with a simple phrase.
“Don’t act on desire. Act on aversion.” There are many groups that use this good practice. But for the sake of argument, I’ve decided to bring to the lesson and practice a little anonymity to avoid pride and prejudgement. In my typical day, I make wine for a living. I am tempted to have a sip or two. So, I practice my slogan. At the end of the day and the beginning of the day I reflect on my behaviour. The aversion I must practice is don’t drink. There are many temptations or desires. Half the battle is awareness:. don’t judge, don’t advise, don’t analyze. The list is endless. But as the list of lessons grow, so do I and the practice.
So one of the outcomes is personal growth. That alone is enough for most people. My day to day living is much more stable in the last 10 years. But I’ve been learning about living like most people in the most conventional ways. It has only been through a daily lesson that I’ve started to understand the value of the integration of Good Practice.
On my way to work, I take public transit and I routinely read reflectively about good practice. It requires a kind of detachment and the joy I feel attracts me to the lesson and the people like a quiet retreat. I’ve been reading on the bus for years. But my understanding has only recently grown to allow me to cultivate peace on my daily commute. I could argue that my peace and joy attract me to people and people to me. I believe this helps me to build and support a better community (at least on the daily commute). While practicing my lesson, I am temporarily elevated to better behaviour. These outcomes are all coming from one individual. Imagine more people doing the same thing in an anonymous manner. I believe the outcome would be to grow better groups, better countries, a better world , a better cosmos.
Now that is pretty preachy. And that is why I don’t like to show and tell. But sometimes it can be part of good practice #3.