“The future depends on what we do in the present.”
“Plan for what is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small.”
“Practice makes the master.”
True story: There was a gal who made a spiritual journey to India to meet the Dalai Lama. The timing of her visit was an interesting one because a week before she and her friends arrived, tragedy struck among the otherwise peaceful Buddhist community. Some monks had been brutally murdered – alarmingly, by fellow monks!
The disturbing news of course couldn’t help but undertone the trip, so when this gal and her small group found themselves in a private audience with The Dalai Lama, their first words to him were ones of sympathy. His response was stunning.
“Ah, yes. Thank you for your thoughts,” he said. “This is why we practice, for times like these when compassion is so necessary.” No scorn or excuses or hysteria. He was deliberately gracious. Peacefully sensible.
This is why we practice. For times like these.
“You don’t need to forgive until you need to forgive. You don’t need nerves of steel until you need nerves of steel. You don’t need to call on your reserves of compassion, or fortitude, or faith until you’ve used up everything else.”
This is why we practice, Friends.
When life is good and we’re lingering along, cool and carefree – we make sure to go to church, attend the temple, we make it a priority to serve, love, pray, forgive, and LIVE the gospel. This is how we practice. And why do we do it?
The experience supplies our spiritual warehouse and prepares us. It prepares us for when life drops a bomb, or when we’re called to the front lines, or asked to put that faith into action. In trying moments, we can draw from those personal reserves to pull us through.
“The storm is coming whether you’re aware of it or not, and whether you’re prepared for it or not.”
“It’s best to have your tools with you. If you don’t, you’re apt to find something you didn’t expect and get discouraged.”
Best time to prepare for a storm is when it’s sunny
Common sense tells us: the best time to prepare for the storm is when it’s sunny. This means literal or figurative. When we’re healthy, we hit the gym. When we’re happy, we show up and share. When we’re content, we say a prayer of gratitude and ask for grace. When times are good, we keep seeking what is good and edifying and uplifting.
Practice may not make us “perfect,” but it sure prepares. It arms us with knowledge and know-how, and makes routine what normally would throw us for a loop. So we keep up our spiritual practice.
Because the day will certainly come when life pulls the rug out from under you – leaving you wind-knocked-out and lying on the floor gasping for air. In those moments, you will need to withdraw strength and inspiration from your spirit’s escrow to help you meet the challenge and face the day.
You will be interrupted.
You will be called on to expand.
You will be asked who you are and why you are here.
For times like these. This is why we practice.