No one ever got into a sports hall of fame by having consistently good practices; it's all about game time.
I'm an unapologetic sports fan. I don't watch much of it, but I'll check in with my favorite sports talk radio host, Colin Cowherd, almost every weekday. So I stay up with it. My favorite sport used to be professional football. It's been that way as long as I can remember. I don't like it as much anymore, with all the odd rules and hyper-contracts. I liked the days of Dick Butkus, Jerry Kramer, Mean Joe Greene, Jack Lambert, and Ronnie Lott. Something about the way those men went about their work was akin to an extreme sport. Like Soul - or any institution - you put too many fences (rules) around it, something dies within.
But I digress.
The thing is, those men are Hall of Fame players because of what they did on the field against an opponent, when challenged to the upmost, physically. This is just like our spiritual or consciousness practices.
What? Old-time football is like consciousness? Yes. Here's how.
Let's take meditation, for instance. The most dedicated of the people I know, meditate 4-5 times a week. I know there are people who never miss a day out there somewhere, but we must run in different circles because I don't know anyone who does more than that. Still, it doesn't matter if we practice two dozen times a week in front of an altar, with a guided meditation playing in the background and minimal distractions. This is commendable, but what do we do when we get triggered at noon on a Tuesday?
This is game time.
I know a woman that boasts of her meditation practice. She has a neat little closet set up as a meditation room, with sweet little banners in there about stillness and breathing. She has books on the shelf from all the "right people," too. But if you cross her, if she doesn't get her way, you'd best be wearing a helmet, or a coat of mail, or a flak jacket, because she's coming after you.
Hey, what happened to all the breathing and bliss? Well, game time happened.
Closer to home, like in my OWN Life, I've been going through some transitions that are particularly sticky for me. I was triggered yesterday, and it was all I could do to keep from spinning out, most of the day. And at the end of the day, I STILL spun out. My own consciousness and spiritual practices (which I teach others, by the way hello), was not enough to help me with that particular game. I was better than I once might have been, but it was not a Hall of Fame performance.
The point is that the practices aren't the "thing." Meditation is not something to be checked off a list, and then go about one's day like Atilla the Hun. Game time is the thing. I think sometimes we forget why we sit, or why the religious attend church. These are the practice sessions. They have no useful application in our lives besides to prepare us for the Real Deal(s):
The boss who doesn't appreciate us.
The spouse that doesn't seem to trust us.
The politicians that are all talk and no action.
When that second bell goes off in our cozy, peaceful little closets, it's not the end of our practice. It's game time.
My hope for myself and anyone reading this is that we'll begin (or continue) to use our practices for preparation for the real events. As we increase our capability to "return to the breath" when triggered "out there," the practices will take ever greater hold within us, we'll embody them, and we'll experience the increased power of those who walk with grace and connection to All That Is.
Which is good...because the LeBron James of trials is out there somewhere, waiting.