Can you stand on one leg with your eyes closed? or with your eyes open for that matter?
When I was a kid it was one of the many things I just couldn’t do to the point that they thought I might have a hearing problem. I went through tests galore only to prove that I have perfect hearing but a disability with balance.
I could climb trees, jump over fences, was super flexible but the one thing I could not do is stand on one leg. It frustrated me beyond words because all the other kids seemed to be able to do it, just not me. So when no one was looking I practiced, day and night, I practiced without no end. No matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t do it until one day I got it right, it had taken me close to 3 years but I did it. It was a small feat that no one knew about but I was so so proud! I was 9.
After accomplishing the standing on one leg I decided to test my body out in different ways. I started trying to balance in different positions, balancing with my eyes closed, crouching on one leg, like a star, all sorts of positions. Each new position I learnt to balance in was quicker to learn than the last. Soon I was able to balance fully in any position I chose.
I could finally balance, I was finally normal.
The funny thing is that learning to balance the body is much like learning to balance the mind. I was never really good at the latter either, focus is not my strong suit unless of course the subject at hand fascinates me. When I am fascinated I absorb like a sponge until I lose interest and then I’m on to the next topic. Yet another thing I needed to learn!
Keeping balance and focus in the mind is far harder though than just learning to stand on one leg though. I have been trying to train myself for years but have never gotten it right. When you are training your body it is simple in the fact that you know exactly what you need to do and practicing it till you succeed. If you want to learn how to stand on your head you practice standing on your head, if you want to learn to do cart wheels you practice them until you get it right, until you can do it straight. With the mind it’s a whole different matter, there are no clear guidelines, no “do it like this to get it right” or “practice this and you will get balance”.
Training the mind is much like navigating a mine field when there are no clear directions. Without mentorship or guidance it is very rare that you will ever get to the end goal of balance and focus. You can read books as I have, hundreds, but the success rate of actually achieving it can be a constant trying but never getting there process.
After years of trying on my own fate brought me a person with wisdom and knowledge. Someone who can show me and mentor me in the right direction in order to get the one thing I have been seeking all along, balance in the mind.
The things I need to learn in order to get that balance are now clear, meditation. This time I know what the tools are and what direction to go in, the mine field now has sign posts with arrows. It is not a mindless search anymore, I now know what to do, what I need to practice in order to get there.
The relief is a hundred fold. Now I know what to practice in order to achieve my goals, I can now learn to balance on one leg in my mind. It will take me a while to train the mind but this time it is like I am training my body, I know what to do!
The funny thing is that, although I had the patience to train my body to stand on one leg, I have little patience with training my mind. It feels as though I have been trying for so long that now I want it just to happen over night, pronto! This can not be and so I learn patience along with balance and focus.
Learning something, be it motor skills or mental skills, can take time, it takes practice and for each person the time frame is different. The one thing that is a constant with all of us is the famous saying “Practice makes perfect”… and so now I practice.
Meditation is new for me, quietening my mind is much like training my left hand to tap a certain rhythm while my right does a different melody, it may be hard but it can be done.
I am grateful that finally I am on the right road, one day I know that I will be able to balance with both my body and mind… one day.
You can do anything if you set your mind to it, I have been taught this lesson time and time again. Just because you can’t do something now doesn’t mean you can’t learn it. Just because others can do it effortlessly doesn’t mean that you never will.
Practice makes perfect…