Morning Trip (36)

“It’s similar to the process one undergoes when learning to play a musical instrument. We sit down, take a few lessons, and are given certain exercises. We begin to practice, and at first the fingers don’t move very easily; they hit a lot of wrong notes and it sounds terrible. But every day we practice, and gradually the fingers start to move more easily, the music starts to sound more beautiful. After a certain period of time, a proficiency develops so that the playing becomes effortless. At that time there is no difference between playing and practice; the playing itself is the practice.
In just the same way, as we practice awareness, we start out very slowly, aware of the movement of each step, “lifting,” “moving,” “placing,” aware of the breath, “rising, falling,” or “in, out.” In the beginning great effort is required. There are many gaps in the mindfulness. There are a lot of struggles and hindrances. But as the mind becomes trained in being aware, in being mindful, it becomes increasingly natural. There is a certain point in the practice when the momentum of mindfulness is so strong that it starts working by itself, and we begin to do things with an ease and simplicity and naturalness which is born out of this effortless awareness.”
– Joseph Goldstein
The Experience of Insight

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