Progress is a thousand single steps

We all tend to believe that making progress is a simple task that just requires a well-thought-out plan: work hard, hustle, make mistakes, experiment, iterate, persevere.

But in many cases, we’re left disheartened by our lack of progress because progress is almost never clear or linear.

Sometimes we can stick to doing the same thing without making progress. We might call this practice, and our intention might be to learn and improve. But progress doesn’t just happen.

Then — in a single moment — we just see, hear or experience the same thing in a new way that unlocks the door to further progress. A new perspective (of the same thing) that illuminates the next steps and a clear path to growth.

I had such an experience with my meditation practice this morning. While I wasn’t seeking progress per se, it is my intention to deepen my practice, which I had started 18 months ago.

Reading Eckhart Tolle this morning, he explained a simple technique of connecting with one’s inner body. I tried this in my subsequent meditation and experienced something new and different: in a single sitting, I had deepened my practice.

My learning wasn’t entirely new, and the technique was a remix of others I have been using.

Maybe it was just the words that changed my perspective. Or it was the right moment for me experience a change in my point of view. If either (or both) are true, it suggests that progress was neither obvious or linear before.

The only way that I then know how to pursue progress is to put myself in moments or situations where I could get the opportunity to see an old thing, in a new light.

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