I met a Buddhist monk Karma Yeshe Rabgye around mid-September this year.
I told him about my deepest desires and worst fears. We had a 2-hr long conversation and he shared so much wisdom with me. He asked me to follow 4 rituals every day if I intend to live a monk-like life.
Here are those 4 rituals —
- Daily meditation practice
- Practicing non-violence (in thoughts, words, and actions)
- Living a life of service
- Daily reflection practice
The 10,000-hours rule
It’s a widely popular rule of thumb — to be a master of your skills, you need to invest 10,000 hours in practicing that skill. It’s a concept from Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers”.
Malcolm Gladwell explains that reaching the 10,000-Hour Rule, which he considers the key to success in any field, is simply a matter of practicing a specific task that can be accomplished with 20 hours of work a week for 10 years.Wikipedia
This theory has been widely criticized over the years as well. Slate.com wrote a piece with the title — “Practice does not make perfect” mentioning,
“The number of hours of deliberate practice to first reach “master” status (a very high level of skill) ranged from 728 hours to 16,120 hours. This means that one player needed 22 times more deliberate practice than another player to become a master.”
Combining 10,000 hours rule with daily reflection
About the 4th ritual of daily reflection practice, that the monk suggested, he mentioned that this practice is even more important than the famous 10,000 hours rule.
It’s not supposed to be practiced in isolation. Yes, you need practice. You need a lot of practice. And when you combine it with a daily reflection practice, it exponentially transforms your growth.
Points to analyze during contemplation
- Did I hurt someone today with my actions, words, or thoughts?
- What all went right today?
- What all went wrong today?
- How did I feel throughout the day? Was I mindful?
- What can I do better tomorrow?
This seems to be perfect journaling prompts.
In his book “Open Awareness Open Mind” Yesh Rabgye suggests doing a relaxing meditation session while doing this daily reflection.
Breathe in deeply, and breathe out slowly. Gently relax your body. Now recall when and how you wake up and how did all the events happen throughout the day. And one by one ask yourself all the above-mentioned contemplative questions.
My experience with this practice
As recommended by him, I practiced this exercise every night before sleeping for the last 30 days. And it’s been so rewarding.
I became more aware of my daily actions and thought patterns. That doesn’t mean I still don’t act impulsively, I still do. But daily reflection practice made me practice stillness and improved my response time.
I now have plans to overcome the moments of resistance. When I was living in auto-pilot mode, I’d give in to my impulses and that’s not really productive. Fighting your auto-pilot mode means you need to be aware of your requirements and have plans to live your life deliberately.
For the first week or so, you might not see much difference. With perseverance and commitment, I saw substantial changes in my level of consciousness.
The possible challenges you might face
For starters, perfectionism has been the inner-critic for most of my life. “I have to know it all” or “It is supposed to change my life, why my life hasn’t changed yet?” These self-talks will definitely challenge your growth.
Another major challenge could be your ego. Here are the 5 dishonest statements our ego truly loves —
- “I know this already.”
- “I am not wrong.”
- “Why would I be sorry?”
- “They don’t know me.”
- “This is who I am.”
When you start reflecting back on your actions, thoughts, and feelings, you will be able to recognize all the challenges and resistance.
Going through them, and growing through them — that’s life. Right?