yes.. to dance your talk is more fun, than to walk your talk.. I can assure you.
A friend who I have a deep regard for, Tana Paddock, who runs a beautiful practice along with her partner Warren, Organisation Unbound out of Cape Town, South Africa on read this blog post. Something in it resonated with her and their work and she asked me if she could make a podcast based on this. And I said, why not? So once she called me while I was holidaying in Kalimpong, Darjeeling and sitting in a small net cafe, this conversation happened.
It may interest you to either listen to it even before you read the blog (if you are the kind who prefers voice to text) or read this and then listen – or not at all. But I would recommend you do listen- it brings out some interesting nuances:
Here’s the blog post that inspired the above Podcast:
“there is nothing to attain
there is nothing to sustain
so let-go of all the strain
love all without restrain”
For many of us, esp in the field of training, people development, developing leaders etc., a favorite line is ‘Walk your talk’ or ‘Practice what you preach’ and we feel that we must bridge the gap between knowing and doing’.
And yet, consider this– (highly recommend that you take a minute to pen the response to these 4 questions)
– How many people would you say who you have met ‘Walk their Talk’ completely?
– How do you feel and treat yourself when you notice that you are not walking your talk?
– Why might have God designed a universe in which many of us do not walk our talk completely?
– Might you be better able to walk your talk if you could be a little more lighthearted about it and not beat yourself up?
My contention is simple (not equal to easy) :
– We waste far too much energy striving and struggling to practice what we preach. Thus sapping us of a lot of vitality which could be used do what we enjoy and are gifted with.
– We often do not recognize a profound paradox that the beginning of any enduring change is a deep acceptance, indeed loving of what is- for example, our inability to walk our talk
– We rarely pause to notice how life ‘uses’ what we call our ‘flaws’ to enable a flow. That there is a sacred intention for the adversity and pain. Many of you would have come across that lovely story about the pot which was cracked who was feeling so depressed until he discovered how the leakage of water was used by the universe to water the flowers.
– Our human-ness enables people to reach their greatness. Being truly ordinary is extra-ordinary. Simple is not easy. What is obvious is not often practiced.
“… while it is your Divinity that they seek, it is
your humanity that lets them take it from you.”
– Habib Adam Kayce, adamkayce.com
– If you can see even partly what I am saying, you will be better able to walk your talk- when you let go of the desperation to.
– We end up teaching what we most need to learn. The best coach is never the best player. I believe that many of us in the profession of facilitating awakening are given a difficult path in terms of walking the talk so that we may develop compassion and patience with others.
The rest of the newsletter is about what has helped me to the one thing that can ensure that I walk my talk more 😉 If you think that is a contradiction, its not. It is a paradox. Parker Palmer says, ‘In a paradox, opposites do not negate each other – they cohere in mysterious unity at the heart of reality’
This is best illustrated by the story of three students arguing in front of their Zen master. One said, ‘After all these years, I am convinced that enlightenment is about a deep practice which requires effort and perseverance’ To which the master says, ‘You are right’ The other student says, ‘What I am certain is that you cannot get enlightenment by pursuing it, you need to let go and allow it to happen’ The master nods and says, ‘You are right’ The third student, perplexed, asks- ‘How can both be right- effort and let go?’ To which the master smiles and says, ‘You are also right’
So, while I have taken the effort to show you “why you should not walk the talk”, now I will share with you the most reliable way I have found you can walk your talk. Can you hold this paradox? Not only does this embody the story but also builds on the last vZine –‘The 10 minute Magic’ – which I suspect most of you who despite liking the idea did not put it into action.
The secret is not really a secret– it is so obvious that you will most likely disregard it. What I am suggesting is a daily practice. I like the Sanskrit word ‘Sadhana’ After more than a decade of wanting to have a decent daily practice, Some nuances which have helped me might help you also.
The first nuance is: the truth that is hidden inside words which reveal the depth of the word- Sadhana – look deeply… Sad- ha!- na.. Not ‘sad’ nor ‘ha’ –(happiness)- when its ok to feel sad or happy, we contact a region beyond both, beyond right doing and wrong doing, there is the delicious reality.
Some tips that helped me and might help you to get going and keep you on the path:
- Decide to do it the first thing as you open your eyes. Before the illusion takes over!
- Don’t beat yourself up if you slip but stay committed – recognize that this is the human journey and the egoic mind has a job to do (in terms of derailing you) and so does your higher self. Just notice and “wake up”
- Remember the metaphor of the autopilot which keeps erring and self-correcting without getting annoyed with itself. And even though it is not on the path more than 90% of the time, it ensures that the flight reaches its destination by the willingness to make mistakes!
- Be open to trying out different practices till the right ones finds you. I use a combination of Physical (Surya Namaskar/ Peaceful Warrior workout www.danmillman.com) , Breathwork-Pranayam), Intellectual (Reading, e.g. Swami Vivekananda, Jim Spivey www.revolutionconsulting.com , Writing), Emotional (Gratitude) – need not be all on all days. Variety helps me.
- Don’t be too ambitious as you start- step by step, bit by bit you form a habit. Even 10-15 minutes thrice a week is good to start with.
- Learn to love yourself in your ‘failure’ by recognizing the necessity of the human journey. Ask yourself, ‘Why is it ‘required’ that you slip the nth time?
- Recognise that it is more about willingness than about will- that sweet spot between freedom and discipline
- Make a list of what are all the possible benefits if you are able to get into a daily practice- the ripple effect that will have on your work, life, relationships, health- body and mind and also financial health!
- If possible, involve at least one other person in your family and work. A small community of practice is good.
I had written this note as a vZine in Nov 2006 but found it pretty relevant today also. With some minor modification I am posting it. One small para added.
My intention out of this note was for you to develop a little more compassion for yourself and hence gentleness towards others.
The veil that clouds your eyes shall be
Lifted by the hands that wove it,
And the clay that fills your ears shall be
Pierced by the hands that kneaded it.
And you shall see
And you shall hear,
Yet, you shall not deplore having known blindness,
Nor regret having been deaf.
For in that day you shall discover
the hidden purposes in all things,
And you shall bless darkness as
You would Bless light.
– Kahlil Gibran
Some books related to this note if you want to explore further:
– Loving What Is – Byron Katie
– Mastery- George Leonard
– Awareness – Anthony D’Mello
– Daily Afflictions.. The agony of being connected with everything in the universe – Andrew Boyd
– Whoever makes the most mistakes wins – Richard Farson & Ralph Keyes