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Learn to Value Your Best Qualities

“You’re getting very good with those movements, your lines are fluid, you should start performing soon,” she said.” “Nah…I just like the way dancing makes me feel,” I replied, “I have no plans to perform.” “Oh, I know you…” She said emphatically that rainy afternoon. “Whatever you focus your attention on, you do completely.” I was surprised to hear her words. I hardly felt that I was like that. Or even if I knew what like that meant. Its funny how someone can enlighten you to a quality in your self that you never noticed before. “I do? “ I said feeling more surprised than complimented. “Yes, definitely.” She returned. Her words carried assurance. I never thought of my self this way. In fact, I think of my self as pretty average and a little slow at times. I read slowly, and comprehend what I read even more slowly. I don’t walk briskly like most of my friends. This year, I noticed that I often dawdle. It usually takes me two days after the moment to reply with a witty retort to a funny line. As I reflect, I realize I often feel like the slow poke at family gatherings… I have the habit to lag a bit. For years, I attributed this fact to my being the youngest, but in retrospect, I think maybe I just move more slowly than people think. I considered what my friend said… and then realized that had I found a way to make up for my inherent slow poke with focus and repetition.

One of the things that I think makes me a good teacher is this need I’ve had since childhood to repeat things in order to understand them thoroughly. I bring this skill of repetition to teaching. I don’t mind repeating things over and over. I find that new layers open up for me in terms of understanding and I know the same to be true for all people. I access the exhalted through the mundane.

“Wow.” I said to my friend, “Well, I actually don’t want to perform, I just want to dance… (then I added) for my self and for …. God.” My face was open. She smiled. We didn’t speak more about it that day, or ever again, yet her comment stayed with me for years. And in my interior dialog I visited her words, our words, sifting through them again and again probably looking for something vital.

Here is the commandment I’ve arrived at for my self around it:

Focus and repetition are more important than speed and talent. I’m not suggesting that we all don’t have talent, but I am saying that I find talent to be less important than I used to. And when I say that I’m not negating talent either. I’m saying that slow and steady focus lead to follow through. And slow and steady focus, with follow through, leads to fruition in your practice.

Oh and I didn’t go on to become a professional classical Indian dancer, as my friend imagined. But I did learn something about my self that day that I am a person who when I decide to I go whole-heartedly into something, I do. I learned that knowing my strengths has value and that slow, steady continuity helped me to realize what I aimed my arrow on long ago the interest to know my self/Self. I also learned that these qualities are a part of who I am on an individual level.

Luminous Soul ‘September’s here, Sanskrit Assignment’:

This week, pull out your Sanskrit notes and notebook or buy a new one. Dust them off and breathe new life into them. This week, commit to review your notes 3 times for 20 minutes. Practice your pronunciation; chant the alphabet 1 time all the way through, 3 times this week using the Sanskrit Alphabet Pronunciation Course, available to download.

Make this practice less about your talent and more about your ability to exercise a slow and steady follow through. This week your study is about your ability to stay focused.

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Feel Joyful in your practice

© 2014 Luminous Soul/Sanskrit Studies & Manorama