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Learning Step by Step

Everything is everything.

This statement has been made many times in the last year and a half. It really came home to me this morning as we were chanting. So much of my chanting experience parallels my experiences with the movements and with the learning of his teachings.

At first there is great hesitancy in all these areas of learning. Will I do it right? What if I lose my place? What if I make a mistake? I can’t keep up. Everything is too fast! Panic – will I ever learn? Then reminders of our children learning to walk, talk come to mind. They didn’t learn all at once, but they are accomplished at it now. With that in mind, slowly, slowly, there is a gradual feeling of learning – more confidence in chanting, more confidence in the movements and more confidence in the learning of his teachings.

Nothing comes quickly, but it does improve, step by step.

There is also similarity in the focus in the mind that comes with the standing quietly before beginning practice, the sound of the gong and fish at the beginning of chanting and the settling of the mind at the beginning of a discussion session. During this focusing period there is a feeling of wiping away external preoccupations, sloughing off petty distractions. My mind is focused and my spirit prepared for whatever learning is going to happen. Open the heart.

The key to this openness, greater knowledge, feeling, confidence and improvement is mindful, regular practice.

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