Posted by: Upāsaka | 09/17/2020

Consistency Over Perfection

I recall hearing a story, attributed to this or that Zen master, about two students who were smokers. One asked the matter if it would be alright if he smoked during meditation and he was met with a harsh, negative reply. The other simply asked if it would be okay to meditate while smoking and V received the master’s approval.

Granted, the analogy doesn’t quite fit the quote above but it feels like it resides in the same conceptual neighborhood. I am realizing that I have much less energy than I would have expected so I have had to respect the boundaries my body has set out for me. Nonetheless, I still intended to do as much of my physical conditioning and practice as I am able. What this looked like today was a shortened Tai Chi routine before my hour of Muay Thai with my PT in the park. And now, hours later, I’m feeling depleted and tired. So, rather than trying to ram my way through it, on the off days I will simply try to focus on stretching and recovery.

What does this have to do with the Dhamma? I feel that it’s the idea of consistency, of chipping away at the mountain of inertia on a daily basis that is a Dhamma practice in itself. It doesn’t have to be perfect and, in fact, it rarely is but it dies not need be something. I need to do something every day. Whether it’s sitting on the cushion lost in thought for a half an hour or going through the motions of a form – it has to be done.


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