The simple way to do something wonderful
Once an award-winning painter was asked, “How do you draw such magnificent paintings?” The painter’s reply: “One line at a time.”
We often admire profusely achievements such as great paintings, but don’t appreciate adequately the process to those achievements: repeated execution of small simple steps. Why do we devalue the process? Because it seems mundane and monotonous, especially when contrasted with the sublime and stunning results. Of course, those results also require talent and vision. Still, the process for harnessing that talent and actualizing that vision is through small steps, repeated regularly.
What applies to painting applies to life at large. We often get captivated by people’s wonderful accomplishments while forgetting that they resulted from worthwhile things done consistently. We overlook the value of worthwhile things because they don’t seem spectacular. Nonetheless, the worthwhile remains the building block for the wonderful — this is a universal principle.
This principle applies also to our inner world. Every action we do creates in our mind a corresponding impression that prompts us to repeat that action. Therefore, when we do something worthwhile repeatedly, the resulting impressions make it easier for us to do the same thing in future. Over time, we develop the inner discipline to dedicate ourselves to a given task, persevering through various distractions and discouragements.
Even in the spiritual arena, the commitment to the worthwhile works wonders. The Bhagavad-gita urges us to gently, gradually focus our mind on spiritual reality (06.25) and to refocus it whenever it wanders (06.26). That persistent focus pacifies and purifies our mind (06.28), till it becomes naturally absorbed in the indwelling Divinity, which is the summit of the spiritual journey (06.30).
The simple way to do something wonderful is to commit ourselves to doing something worthwhile — the worthwhile is the building block for the wonderful.
Think it over:
- Why don’t we adequately appreciate the process for doing something wonderful?
- How does repetition reshape our inner world?
- What worthwhile thing can you commit yourself to?
06.25: Gradually, step by step, one should become situated in trance by means of intelligence sustained by full conviction, and thus the mind should be fixed on the Self alone and should think of nothing else.
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