Practice doesn’t make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect.
When we hear this adage, we might cringe at the use of the term perfect. We yearn to be ourselves, to be our own individuals, and we’re sick and tired of other people telling us whom we should be.
Perhaps the tension we carry around the idea of asserting ourselves acts as a distraction from our ability, or inability, to focus. The issue isn’t whether we can prove our perfection to others, because we don’t need to submit our practice to anyone else’s consideration. We do, however, need to submit our practice to our own consideration. The art of focus, of considering our practice, seeing in the points of tension and resistance opportunities for growth, constitutes perfection.
The necessary ingredient for perfect practice is an open and honest awareness of our practice: a developed focus. No other benchmark serves the goal of practice. We’re not moving toward impeccable performance or dominance; we’re growing, developing, and nurturing. By examining, moment by moment, our approach to our form, our posture, our attitude, and our attention, we fill the space of perfection with our present conditioning and learn to work at our limit, our edge.
This does not mean we are perfect just the way we are or that we don’t need to develop discipline and give effort. We need to do our best to improve, but our best begins at the point of contact with our current limits.