Satisfaction is a feeling. It does not come from merely making a list and getting what you think you want. It’s like being in love, you can’t just list all the reasons you should love someone. That would be like meeting someone and saying, “Lets make a list and fall in love.” It just doesn’t work that way.
Satisfaction arises when you are focused on what is happening in your life, in this moment, watching the wonder as it unfolds. Everything you do, if you’re really tuned in and focused, will benefit your life. You may not feel total satisfaction in every moment, in fact, I’d expect that you won’t. It’s not about that. Life is a process filled with many processes.
Let’s consider how satisfied you feel during your daily, morning practice of Tai Chi, Standing Chi Gong, meditation, walking in nature, or a combination that might include something else. How do you know that your practice is benefiting you and helping you to grow into an authentic, happy person?
One day the elements of your morning practice may integrate and you feel satisfaction. Another day it doesn’t feel like it comes together at all. That could be because you’re still in the process of gathering information and learning to go deeper. When that happens you can recognize a different kind of satisfaction. You can enjoy the good feeling that comes from the fact that you showed up to your practice that day. That you kept returning to the now even though your monkey mind kept pulling you around. Instead of feeling satisfied that you completed something and it all came together, you can feel satisfied about engaging in the process at your current level. Practice what you know, gather bits and pieces, grow and learn. You might not have a break-through every day, but you can feel satisfied that you’re progressing a little more and moving it all along.
You don’t need to achieve mastery to feel that you are growing, learning and beginning to see the pieces all coming together. It’s all dynamic process. Things coming in, going out, a step forward here… plateau, another step forward.
For instance, think about keeping a clean house. It’s not like your house is a wreck one day and sparkling, clean and organized the next. It’s not that once it is clean it will stay that way. It’s a dynamic process of stuff coming in and stuff going out. Cleaning up the kitchen and then making dirty dishes again when you cook. Clearing out your closets and giving things away and then slowly buying new shoes and what not. Be satisfied with the dynamic process. Learn along the way. Realize when you have unrealistic expectations of things being perfectly clean all the time.
With time you come to realize that what is showing up in your life is in fact what you were really creating… what you have been most focused on. Perhaps you don’t feel satisfied because what showed up is different than the picture you had in your mind of what you thought you were bringing into being. You can be sure that what shows up in your life, is in fact what you were really creating. The part of you that creates is far greater than the mind, where your picture resides.
Back to your morning practice. How do you know when your practice is good, and when it needs to be changed?
If you are focused you will move forward. You will also be able to intuitively tune in to new information that will organically change the direction of your practice. The bottom line is that if you focus on whatever you are doing, you will feel satisfied and achieve results NO MATTER WHAT what your practice looks like.
The experience of focus and integration IS the satisfaction. Ultimately, It doesn’t matter what you’re doing when you get there. It can happen while practicing the Golden Flower Form or when you’re doing the dishes. The feeling of satisfaction occurs when everything integrates and aligns.
If you have focused intention, you’re always headed in the right direction. However, sometimes you need to do things that might seem totally unrelated to your goal. When you have a true intention, everything, from your mind to existence itself, is all working to take you in the direction of your intention/desire. Your mind and the whole universe is working together to get you there. However, many times you want to go right to your goal but you see yourself going in another direction. What you don’t realize is that sometimes the path needs to be winding, not straight, if you are to reach your destination and achieve the FEELING that you truly desire during the journey.
When scientists want to send a rocket to the moon, 99% of the time when the rocket takes off they point it away from the moon. They are accounting for the fact that both the earth and the moon are constantly moving. They are pointing the rocket at the place the moon will be once the rocket travels at a certain speed and distance to get there. If they just pointed the rocket at where the moon is now the moon would be long gone by the time the rocket arrived.
Focus your attention on getting to your moon. Keep adjusting your course to your true destination.
When you’re practicing, if you are too rigid, you could miss out when your higher mind says, “hey, forget all those little details, here’s something really exciting and important to focus on, adjust your course over here.” Stay focused. Go with the flow of your intuition and higher mind, then you can tune into your true path. You’ll know you’re on the right track when you have the feeling of ease and satisfaction.
Trust yourself in those moments of clarity. Ignore the monkey mind when it says, “you’re not doing it right, stick with the small-mind program.” Just notice those thoughts and let them pass. Enter into the flow and know you’re learning to follow your true intelligence.
It is important to show up every day. To begin. Then you can allow your practice to unfold naturally. If you don’t show up, if you don’t open to guidance, you won’t receive any benefit.
This is why they call it practice. There are many wise sayings along the lines of “If you want to master something you must practice.” But no one tells you WHAT to practice. They don’t give a list of the practices. Because that is not the point. If you show up with an intention, the universe and your higher mind will unfold to you what you have to practice. It will invite the discovery. You can’t practice what you have yet to discover. Allow space for your practice to unfold and expand naturally. You WILL discover through practice. So begin with what seems most sensible and useful at this time. Stay open to learning from what you’re practicing. It’s not a matter of just mindlessly going along. But that does not mean repetition of something you were taught is not useful or helpful. But after you do that, also make sure you leave time for noticing what you’re learning beyond the small steps of your practice. What is there beyond the physical?
A lot of the satisfaction you feel will come from the sense of discovery when it all comes together. When you see something you never saw before. This happens during moments of integration of what you’ve been learning meeting your higher mind.
Allow the structured aspects of your practice to serve the creative aspects of your development, your unfolding. Then take a few moments to enjoy the feeling of satisfaction you have created.
~ Master San Gee Tam